White House Counsel Don McGahn has retained personal counsel in connection with the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
McGahn hired William Burck, a white-collar criminal defense attorney from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, according to Law360.
As White House counsel, McGahn is not Trump’s personal lawyer. Rather he advises the president on the scope of executive power, the prerogatives of his office, and has a fairly broad policy portfolio including national security and judicial confirmations.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to request an interview with McGahn in the coming weeks. The Washington Post reported Friday that Mueller’s interest in McGahn relates to the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey as well as the administration’s initial reaction to Department of Justice warnings about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates met with McGahn and other Trump aides shortly after the inauguration in January, during which time she advised the White House that Flynn may have misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his communications with Russian officials during the transition, which could hypothetically leave him open to blackmail.
McGahn also reviewed a draft copy of a memo Trump prepared explaining his decision to fire Comey. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner helped draft the document, as did White House aide Stephen Miller.
Former White House chief of Staff Reince Priebus has also hired Burck, which could indicate that McGahn and Priebus plan to mount a joint defense. Such a decision is common from a strategic perspective, as it allows witnesses or defendants to coordinate, share information, and formulate a single, consistent position.
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