The White House counsel and Trump attorneys are reportedly struggling to determine the extent of their cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion on the part of Trump campaign associates.
The New York Times reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn and Trump attorney Ty Cobb have clashed over what information should be turned over to federal investigators. Cobb hopes to end the investigation quickly, as it relates to Mr. Trump, by cooperating -- turning over the documents requested as soon as possible.
McGahn, however is said by the Times to be concerned about two things in particular: first, setting a bad precedent for the White House, and second, about whether Mr. Trump will invoke presidential or attorney-client privilege in a way that would limit McGahn's own testimony before the special counsel, should he be interviewed.
This is, the Times points out, a quandary that past presidential legal teams have faced -- how to balance compliance with the probe with presidential prerogatives.
This was complicated by a recent incident, in which Cobb was overheard by a Times reporter during lunch at a Washington, D.C. steakhouse -- here's the account:
Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed 'a McGahn spy' and sayingMr. McGahn had 'a couple documents locked in a safe' that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for 'some of these earlier leaks,' and who he said 'tried to push Jared out,' meaning Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been a previous source of dispute for the legal team.
Some White House officials also apparently fear their colleagues are "wearing a wire" to record conversations for Mueller, the Times reported. However, Cobb emphatically denies any White House lawyers wear or have worn wires to record conversations for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. "I am sure there are no lawyers wearing wires for Mueller," he told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett.