Lawmakers urge action after report of other high court leak
Top House Democrats were eager to get some answers about the leak of a secret transcript of a high-ranking Department of Justice attorney’s interview of former White House counsel Don McGahn on Sunday, even as they continued to press the DOJ for information about who leaked the document to the press.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate’s staunchest defenders of President Trump, tweeted his disgust at what he called “unethical” tactics:
“I’ve been told by @realDonaldTrump, on a regular basis, that it was #LeakersInWaiting who leaked the transcript of my interview with Don McGahn,” Paul said in a tweet Sunday.
In a press briefing Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said McGahn’s words “do not reflect the views of the Department of Justice.”
Rosenstein said McGahn “expressed his thoughts freely.” He also said the FBI had made an application “to get records from the White House Counsel’s office. We asked the White House Counsel to provide such records on the basis that they were relevant to the investigation of whether or not President Trump had obstructed justice.”
So, who was the third party that was leaking the transcript out? Did the FBI ask the White House for the McGahn recording?
That’s a relevant question because it seems clear that the White House has a policy of refusing to turn over certain recordings of conversations between the president and high-level advisors and Cabinet officials since the Watergate scandal, when the administration’s attorney general and cabinet officials tried unsuccessfully to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate break-in.
“The government does not make public records of private oral statements or conversations with the president,” spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement, as noted by the Los Angeles Times. “The White House has a long tradition of refusing to produce records of conversations with the president, particularly those involving the president himself.”
The Times noted, “The Obama administration would not make records of conversations and interviews involving the President on a wide range of topics publicly available.”
Prior also said in his statement that the White House has refused to release “any tapes of conversations between the President and various advisers or Cabinet officials as well as the President’s personal lawyers about the president’s conversations with these advisers or the advice