President Trump in a series of tweets early Sunday morning lashed out at Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, comparing it to McCarthyism, while denouncing the media once again as the "enemy of the people" and accusing Democrats of colluding during the 2016 election.
Citing a dozen current and former White House officials, the paper says White House counsel Donald McGahn gave at least three voluntary interviews to investigators totalling 30 hours over a nine-month period. Mr. Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told CBS News' Major Garrett earlier this month that he's "more optimistic" that a potential interview between the president and Mueller might occur, putting the odds of that taking place at "50-50".
"The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel [sic] Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel [sic], he must be a John Dean type 'RAT, '" Trump tweeted.
Mueller's investigation has resulted in several guilty pleas by people once connected to the Trump campaign for lying to the FBI.
The New York Times reported that McGahn, spoke with Mueller's team about Trump's firing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and his push for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of the inquiry, and Trump's attempts to fire Mueller. "Most transparent in history".
The report states Trump incorrectly believed McGahn would act in the same manner as a personal lawyer would and defend his interests to investigators, but McGahn instead gave "a mix of information both potentially damaging and favorable to the president", including details of how Trump attempted to control the investigation.
Trump emphasized that he authorized his aides to cooperate with Mueller.
The president denies any collusion, and has repeatedly called the Mueller probe "a witch hunt".
Trump compared Mueller's investigation to the tactics employed by the late senator Joseph McCarthy, who alleged that Communist agents and Soviet spies had infiltrated the US government, accusing some of treason without evidence.
McGahn initially began working with Mueller's team at the behest of Trump's original team of lawyers, the Times reported.
Also on Saturday, Mr. Trump tweeted that he had encouraged Mr. McGahn and White House staff to cooperate with investigators.
In a statement to The New York Times, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "The president and Don have a great relationship".
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.
John Dowd, Trump's former lead outside attorney, told Fox News that "Don McGahn was a very strong witness for the president".
"He appreciates all the hard work he's done, particularly his help and expertise with the judges, and the Supreme Court' nominees".