Trump Jr. and McGahn didn’t testify before Mueller grand jury during Russia probe — and a federal judge wants to know why

Trump Jr. and McGahn didn’t testify before Mueller grand jury during Russia probe — and a federal judge wants to know why
Image via Gage Skidmore.

During the Russia investigation, former special counsel Robert Mueller sought testimony from a long list of people. But according to a court filing on Sunday, two people who Mueller did not force to testify before a grand jury were Donald Trump Jr. and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. And U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wants to know why.


The court filing on Sunday, according to The Week, was in response to a ruling Howell made on Thursday — when Howell asserted that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was withholding too much information from the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. The House Judiciary Committee, The Week’s Peter Weber reports, has been “wrangling” with DOJ over the evidence that Mueller obtained during his lengthy investigation.

On Thursday, Howell wrote that it was unclear why Mueller didn’t force Trump Jr. or McGahn to testify. “The special counsel’s reasons remain unknown,” Howell explained. “The reason is not that the individuals were insignificant to the investigation. To the contrary, both of the non-testifying individuals named in paragraph four figured in key events examined in the Mueller Report. Assessment of these choices by the special counsel is a matter for others."

Bill Burck, McGahn’s attorney, told Politico that in McGahn’s case, there “was no need for a grand jury subpoena” because the former White House counsel “voluntarily agreed to be interviewed.” And legal expert Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, agrees with Burck’s explanation. Mariotti tweeted, “if a witness agrees to be interviewed by FBI agents, as McGahn did, typically prosecutors won’t put him in the grand jury to testify unless there’s a concern that he will later change his story. As for Trump Jr., this suggests to me that his lawyers said he would take the Fifth.”

The House of Representatives has received FBI reports on Mueller’s interviews with many others he spoke to during the Russia investigation, including Michael Cohen (Trump’s former personal attorney), Paul Manafort (Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager), former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.