The White House’s top lawyer has co-operated extensively with the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election, the New York Times reports.
Citing a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter, the newspaper said White House Counsel Donald McGahn had shared information, some of which the investigators would not have known about.
The sources said Mr McGahn had willingly provided detailed accounts of episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.
Mr McGahn voluntarily co-operated with Robert Mueller’s investigators as a regular witness, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, as the White House asked many staffers to do.
He was not subpoenaed nor did he speak to them under any kind of proffer or co-operation agreement.
The newspaper’s source also said he did not believe Mr McGahn provided Mueller with incriminating information about Trump.
Mr McGahn provided the facts, but nothing he saw or heard amounts to obstruction of justice by Trump, the person told Reuters.
According to the New York Times, Mr McGahn submitted to at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totalled 30 hours over the past nine months.
He is said to have described Trump’s fury toward the Russiagate investigation and the ways in which the president urged Mr McGahn to respond to it.
The newspaper reported his motivation to speak with the special counsel was a continuation of a decision by Trump’s first team of lawyers to fully co-operate.
But it said another motivation was Mr McGahn’s fear he could be placed in legal jeopardy because of decisions made in the White House that might be construed as obstruction of justice.
Mr McGahn, the newspaper said, gave detailed accounts of Trump’s comments and actions during the firing of the FBI director James Comey.
Among the information supplied were details of the president’s obsession with putting a loyalist in charge of the inquiry, plus his repeated urging of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of the probe.
The newspaper said McGahn was also centrally involved in Trump’s desire to fire the special counsel, which investigators might not have discovered without him.
Trump has repeatedly denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt.”