When history is written, the week of June 9-16, 2019 may well be seen as when the presidency of Donald Trump began to collapse into entropy and officially circle the drain.
The reason? It all has to do with that disastrous interview Trump gave to George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, but it isn’t the part of the interview where the president said he welcomed dirt on his 2020 opponents from a foreign government.
Instead, it was what Trump had to say about former White House counsel Don McGahn. Specifically, according to the Mueller report, McGahn said he was able to talk Trump out of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump told Stephanopoulos that McGahn had lied under oath:
Trump: “The story on that very simply, No. 1, I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller.”
Stephanopoulos: “Why would [McGahn] lie under oath?”
Trump: “Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”
In other words, Trump threw McGahn under the bus, accusing him of having committed perjury.
This is the very same Don McGahn Trump has said cannot testify before Congress due to “executive privilege.” Trump appears to be saying, McGahn can’t testify, but trust me he’s lying. That led Jonathan Chait of New York magazine to note:
“The Mueller report shows no obstruction of justice, and the obstruction it shows is fake, and Congress can’t hear from a person who testified about obstruction. We just have to take Trump’s word on this, even though his words contradict other words of his. Just what you’d expect an innocent person to say, basically.”
Don McGahn now has no choice but to testify to Congress, if only to salvage what’s left of his reputation and allow him to remain a member of the legal profession.
We know that McGahn is angry with Trump for what the president said. A source close the former White House counsel told Jonathan Swan of Axios:
“Anyone who believes Trump wasn’t telling Don to get rid of Mueller using these conflicts is just stupid or believes in the tooth fairy.”
Don McGahn has the goods on Trump, especially as it relates to obstruction of justice. And if he wants to keep his law license and his freedom, he’s going to cut a deal and testify before the House Judiciary Committee, the very same committee where impeachment would begin.
Impeachment is coming, and while Trump may want to blame others for it, he brought it all on himself. As usual.