Former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to comply with President Trump's request that he issue a public statement last month saying that he did not believe Trump obstructed justice during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference, sources familiar with the situation said.
The sources said that McGahn previously told Mueller's investigation team that he did not believe Trump had obstructed justice, and the White House felt that repeating that claim to the public would lend credence to the narrative that the Mueller investigation vindicated the president. Trump was reportedly upset by McGahn's refusal to say that publicly. But McGahn's side downplayed any drama — he and his lawyers reportedly did not feel that the White House's request was uncalled for.
"We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister," McGahn's lawyer William Burck said. "It was a request, professionally and cordially made."
They reportedly felt it was unnecessary because Attorney General William Barr had already publicly said Trump did not obstruct justice. Tim O'Donnell
France's justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, said Monday that her government would not immediately act on President Trump's call for European allies to bring home and prosecute hundreds of Islamic State fighters captured in Syria, Reuters reports.
Trump had demanded that France, Britain, and Germany repatriate more than 800 ISIS fighters who are from European countries. He tweeted this request Saturday while writing, "The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them." He also said that "the U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go."
French policy has been to refuse to take back fighters and their wives, on the grounds that they are "enemies" of the nation who should face justice where they are. The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are holding 150 French citizens, many of them children, in northern Syria, and their status is in question following President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country. Brendan Morrow