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U.S. Department of Justice
Also on January 26, 2017, Hicks recalled that the President asked Sanders to contact McGahn about the story.789 McGahn told Sanders there was no need to respond and indicated that some of the article was accurate.79° Consistent with that position, McGahn did not correct the Times story.
On February 4, 20 l 8, Priebus appeared on Meet the Press and said he had not heard the President say that he wanted the Special Counsel fired.791 After Priebus's appearance, the President called Priebus and said he did a great job on Meet the Press.792 The President also told Priebus that the President had "never said any of those things about" the Special Counsel.793
The next day, on February 5, 2018, the President complained about the Times article to Porter. 794 The President told Porter that the article was "bullshit" and he had not sought to terminate the Special Counsel.795 The President said that McGahn leaked to the media to make himselflook good.796 The President then directed Porter to tell McGahn to create a record to make clear that the President never directed McGahn to fire the Special Counsel.797 Porter thought the matter should be handled by the White House communications office, but the President said he wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file "for our records" and wanted something beyond a press statement to demonstrate that the reporting was inaccurate.798 The President referred to McGahn as a "lying bastard" and said that he wanted a record from him .799 Porter recalled the President
790 Sanders 7 /23/18 302, at 1-2.
791 Meet the Press Interview with Reince Priebus, NBC (Feb. 4, 2018).
792 Priebus 4/3/ 18 302, at 10. 793 Priebus 4/3/18 302, at 10. 794 Porter 4/ 13/18 302, at 16-17. Porter did not recall the timing of this discussion with the President. Porter 4/ 13/18 302, at 17. Evidence indicates it was February 5, 2018. On the back of a pocket card dated February 5, 2018, Porter took notes that are consistent with his description of the discussion: "COS: (1) Letter from OM - Never threatened to quit- DJT never told him to fire M." SC_RRP000053 (Porter Undated Notes). Porter said it was possible he took the notes on a day other than February 5. Porter 4/13/ 18 302, at 17. But Porter also said that "COS" referred to matters he wanted to discuss with Chief of Staff Kelly, Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17, and Kelly took notes dated February 5, 2018, that state "POTUS - Don McGahn letter - Mueller + resigning." WH0000I 7684 (Kelly 2/5/18 Notes). Kelly said he did not recall what the notes meant, but thought the President may have "mused" about having McGahn write a letter. Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 3. McGahn recalled that Poiter spoke with him about the President's request about two weeks after the New York Times story was published, which is consistent with the discussion taking place on or about February 5. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
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|Reince Priebus||Hope Hicks||Robert Porter||Donald McGahn||John Kelly||Donald Trump||Sarah Huckabee Sanders|
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