As the joke goes, if President Trump walked on water, the New York Times story would be headlined “Trump can’t swim.”

Well, it’s no joke.  Over the weekend, the Times did pretty much the same thing.  Here are the basic facts they had to work with:   President knows he did nothing wrong and, in the name of transparency, instructs White House lawyer to cooperate fully with special counsel on “Russia” probe.  White House lawyer does so, testifying for over 30 hours in 3 sessions over 9 months as special counsel, presumably, asks different versions of same questions over and over and over.  (This is how depositions typically go, to try to catch witness in evolving testimony or inconsistency.)  After all that, nothing from deposed White House lawyer attests to wrongdoing by President.  President also has been completely responsive to special counsel’s request for documents, providing 1.4 million of them.  President did nothing wrong.  President has nothing to hide.  End of story.


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Oh, no it’s not.  Not when it’s the New York Times spinning the story.

Here is the Times’ version of those facts:  White House lawyer (and his own personal lawyer) couldn’t understand why President would want him to be so forthcoming and thought President might be setting him up to take blame for any charges of obstruction that might arise.  White House lawyer did everything possible to cooperate with special counsel as a strategy to protect HIMSELF from charges of obstruction.  President was mixed up and mistakenly thought White House lawyer would be acting as his personal attorney and thus would protect HIM.  (This from a NYT source “with knowledge of [President’s] thinking.”  As if.)

It might be good here to explain the difference between a White House attorney, such as Donald F. McGahn II (the one in this story) and Trump’s personal attorneys, such as Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow.  Trump’s own attorneys represent him personally, as an individual, and look out for his legal interests, while White House attorneys are looking out for the office of the Presidency itself.  Often those interests mesh, but not necessarily.  A personal attorney might protect the client by asserting attorney-client privilege, while a White House attorney would protect the office by invoking executive privilege.  That’s it, pretty simple.  It’s highly unlikely that President Trump does not understand the difference between the two.  And attorneys failing to make that distinction clear would be, it seems to me, guilty of legal malpractice.



The NYT story does admit that McGahn “cautioned to investigators that he never saw Mr. Trump go beyond his legal authorities...”  Wow, talk about not fitting the chosen narrative.  That’s probably why they buried it deep inside –- I’d put it right up top –- and qualified it by characterizing the limits of executive power as “murky.”

McGahn’s lawyer released a statement that said, “President Trump, through counsel, declined to assert any privilege over McGahn’s testimony, so Mr. McGahn answered the special counsel team’s questions fulsomely and honestly, as any person interviewed by special investigators must.”  Seems pretty straightforward to me.  Incidentally, the Word Of The Day is “fulsomely.”

The President tweeted:  “I allowed White House counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel.  In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents.  Most transparent in history.  No Collusion, no Obstruction.  Witch Hunt!”  Also:  “The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel [sic] had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite - & the two Fake reporters knew this.”

Rudy Giuliani (Trump’s personal lawyer) used the word “deftly” to describe the NYT’s way of shading the idea that McGahn (the White House lawyer) “cooperated extensively,” pointing out that if McGahn hadn’t been able to answer honestly that no authority was exceeded by the President, he would have had the integrity to resign at the time he first knew of the illegality.  (I could mention that this level of cooperation is a 180-degree turn from the policy of the Obama administration, which slammed the door shut on inquiry to the point where then-Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress.  And none of them resigned.  But I digress.)

Former assistant special Watergate prosecutor and former special assistant attorney to the U.S. attorney general (whew, these titles!) Jon Sale spoke with FOX News’ Arthel Neville on Sunday, explaining that Trump had the power to exert executive privilege if he was concerned about what McGahn might say.  “He allowed and encouraged Mr. McGahn and about 30 other people connected to the White House to go in and fully cooperate,” Sale said, and added that when people see that McGahn “cooperated extensively, there’s a rush to judgment, and people are assuming that means he’s incriminating the President.  Not necessarily.”  He made it clear that he’s speaking objectively, not as an advocate for the President, but said he could “understand the President’s impatience” with the length of the investigation after he’d been so forthcoming.  He also seconded what Giuliani had said, that McGahn “would have legally and ethically had to resign” if he’d been aware of any illegal conduct on the part of the White House involving the President.  Otherwise, he would have been a part of criminal activity.                 

So, from that perspective, the likelihood is that McGahn’s open and honest testimony served the President well.  The New York Times could just say that.  Except that they...just...can’t.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/18/us/politics/don-mcgahn-mueller-investigation.html

Thanks to the Washington Times for providing some balance.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/19/don-mcgahn-leak-shows-robert-mueller-team-panickin/

  

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Comments 1-23 of 23

  • Emily Yeatts

    08/21/2018 08:23 PM

    So now what is trumps former attorney going to be the one to provide mueller with what he wants to end trumps presidency was Cohen scared by mueller tactics on Manafort is this what it has come to trumps biggest problem is his greatest asset he is too trusting and likes people

  • ROBERT MCFATE

    08/21/2018 03:50 PM

    With action that the president has been taking lately, I think he has stopped feeding rope and is starting to tighten the noose these fools have made for themselves. Notice the change in Brennen since he lost that security clearance?

  • Vera Cleek

    08/20/2018 07:30 PM

    Thanks Mr. Huckabee, for your honest reporting! It's so refreshing to know we have someone "on our side" whom we can believe. Also ... I love your TV show. Yours is the only one that I can enjoy and just lay the remote down for the entire hour - and even watch the commercials which are appreciably short and always uplifting. May God continue to bless you and also Sarah. You're both so very needed in this time to give us the truth and stand up against evil that's everywhere.

  • Joseph Trokey

    08/20/2018 06:54 PM

    I get so weary of fools being fools and either not comprehending or have the inability to admit to being fools. I just don't understand why it is so hard to print the truth. Maybe they should watch "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". On the other hand, it probably wouldn't do any good. They would probably say Mr. Smith was the bad guy.

  • Diane C. Rowlands

    08/20/2018 04:48 PM

    the social media is dishonest. What more can i say?

  • Sharon Lane

    08/20/2018 02:53 PM

    I sooooo wish I could give you, and your daughter, a big {{{{ HUG }}}}. Thank you so much for all you to bring out the truth.

  • James McMahon

    08/20/2018 02:46 PM

    Really nice explanation in easy to understand translation of the "legalese" usually present in most articles.

  • Donna E Turner

    08/20/2018 02:44 PM

    Do the American people have to put up with a media that lies 96% of the time?

  • Ronda Davis

    08/20/2018 02:36 PM

    Does the media not understand that they have handled this presidency in such a way as to sink their own boat?! I voted for Trump but I know he isn't perfect because none of us are due to the fall. However, with the media going so far out of their way to manufacture negative information, we (Trump supporters) basically have to assume that all negative reporting on the President is incorrect...

  • joseph orsini

    08/20/2018 02:14 PM

    saw sarah's interview on your show Saturday - GREAT!!!

  • B A Potgieter

    08/20/2018 02:08 PM

    If the New Yorker had any credibility on their story, I should add that Mueller to be one very Stupid investigator to Question this "Insignificant" Lawyer for so many Hrs.!!!

  • Marilyn Krivanek

    08/20/2018 01:51 PM

    Governor do you know anything about the Clarion Project ? I received an e-mail from them about 90 Muslam's running for office. That's the last thing we need.

  • Glenda Dudley

    08/20/2018 01:29 PM

    Mike Hucakabee,
    I get my news from you. All the rest seems untruthful. Or “Fake”. I trust you to bring us the most careful truthful researched news and opinions.
    Thank you.

  • Michael Hutch

    08/20/2018 01:28 PM

    The "Testimony"
    White House lawyer does so, testifying for over 30 hours in 3 sessions over 9 months as special counsel, presumably, asks different versions of same questions over and over and over.

    Repeat, 3 sessions over 9 months.

    Not if you listen to other news sources as if sounds like this all occurred over the weekend. You Know, in a stark chair, lonely room, Extremely bright overhead lamp, no water. 30 straight hours of grilling. You know, like the Nazi's with a captured spy and a Gestapo Officer in the background.

  • Marcella Ballenger

    08/20/2018 01:28 PM

    loved your interview with Sarah- really loved the clip from one of her white house news briefings. Told my husband- she is definetly her fathers daughter!!!! watched the show twice to be able to catch the first interview as I missed it sat night!! She is great!!!

  • Carol M. Hill

    08/20/2018 01:25 PM

    Dear Gov. Huckabee,
    Thank you for your help in keeping America informed to the truth about the news and left-wing bias. I used to write for local newspapers and always did my best to report BOTH sides of an issue, leaving my opinion out.
    Focus in the Family back in the '90's had a bumper sticker that said 'I DON'T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA.' How sad but true and fiercely so today.
    God bless you,
    Carol Hill

  • Lance E. Brown

    08/20/2018 12:52 PM

    It's at the point now that IF I HEAR "Trump" but I do not SEE his face on the TV, I grab the remote and flip to HBO. They have beat this horse to no avail. It is my humble opinion that TRUMP WON! He never took a knee and gave them NOT one damn inch.

  • Lowell Bushart

    08/20/2018 12:49 PM

    I believe the public would like to know why people with a security clearance get to keep them when they no longer have the job. Why is it important to them? Why aren't they cancelled when they leave? The public looks at it like it is a condition of employment and nothing else.
    Can you give us a answer?

  • Carla Sue Miller

    08/20/2018 12:48 PM

    I agree the the NYT unfortunately is full of 'false tales' and create unjust/untrue head lines to sell more papers. I wish that journalism was the PROUD truthful version from years past. I also pray for our president, his family, and his administration to have God's guidance, courage, strength, wisdom, and protection from the evil of this world. He is human, he has and probably does make mistakes. Cut him some slack, accept his 'Presidential decisions'... NO ONE dared question the last failure or anyone in his group. President needs to have all those who have stolen money from government/US tax payers to pay back with interest, receive proper punishments! Hillary stole millions by illegally selling uranium to Russia and POCKETED MONEY WITH NO PUNISHMENT! ALL THOSE WHO COVERED HER ASP HAVE RECEIVED NO PUNISHMENT! OBAMA ILLEGALLY HAS RECEIVED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WHILE ILLEGALLY SITTING IN OVAL OFFICE (NON-CITIZEN, NOT BORN IN AMERICA is a FAILURE to meet the criteria to serve as leader of USA), he is STILL ILLEGALLY RECEIVING LIFETIME PAY, BENEFITS, SECURITY AT TAX PAYER'S EXPENSE! The deficit would go down if NOT disappear if all 'lifetime pay, benefits, and security' was halted for all past, present, and future politicians. They should have to 'save' for retirement like everyone else... not be a drain upon America any longer. I APPLAUD YOU, YOUR DAUGHTER, VICE PRESIDENT, AND PRESIDENT for ALL your HARD work for this country. YOU ALL have been treated horribly by those who are corrupt/sinners. We are all sinners, but treating others without respect, tolerance, compassion, mercy is not right. God bless you all.

  • Don E. Prichard

    08/20/2018 12:25 PM

    Thank you for giving us information we are able to rely upon.

  • Carolyn Prater

    08/20/2018 12:15 PM

    They have been fulsomely on a WITCH-HUNT!

  • steve dunklee

    08/20/2018 12:09 PM

    I believe fully the entire investigation is a ruse, to get individuals like Mike Flynn to testify and make an error so they can claim they lied, and use all of the information to impeach the president. Getting Trump to testify and be badgered , you can word questions in a manner to force a person to make a mistake. like asking is the sky blue? answer "yes" , Are clouds in the sky? "yes" what color are clouds? "White" , Didn't you just say the sky was blue? You lied! Like when the press insisted Trump was backing the Nazi's because he said "Both sides were wrong." Mike Flynn a registered democrat plead guilty to damage the current administration.

  • Tom Williams

    08/20/2018 11:43 AM

    It reminds me of a joke that was told about the US and Soviet press back in the 1970's when I actually visited Russia and the Ukraine on a school trip.

    It seems there was a road race between the US and the Soviet Union. The US won the race and Soviets lost. The Soviet press reported: "Soviet team takes second place, and USA places next to last", as if there were many participants. The US press, not really any better reported, "USA wins first place, Soviets finish dead last".

    I can't say that I think the US press is any better these days, but maybe the Russian press has improved, even though I would trust President (and Dictator) Putin with a wooden nickel.

    What I can say for sure is that the NYT is nowhere near as truthful as it was when I read it back in the 1970s.