The Mueller report – and Mr McGahn in a private testimony to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month – described Mr Trump’s anger at Mr McGahn after the Times article and how he had tried to persuade Mr McGahn to make a statement that so wrongly denied. Mr. Trump told his aides that Mr. McGahn was a “liar” and a “leaker,” according to former Trump administration officials. In his testimony, Mr. McGahn said that he was a source for The Post’s successor to clarify a nuance – to whom he had communicated his intentions to resign – but he was not a source for the original Times article.
However, there are reasons to doubt that Mr. McGahn was the target of a Justice Department leak investigation resulting from this episode. For example, information about Mr Trump’s order to fire Mr Mueller does not appear to be a classified secret that it could be a crime to disclose.
Another roughly simultaneous occurrence is that the subpoena to Apple that took up Mr. McGahn’s information came shortly after the other that the Justice Department sent Apple on February 6, 2018 for an unauthorized disclosure leak investigation of information about the Russia investigation, which collects data on members of the Congress staff, their families and at least two members of the Congress.
Among those whose data was gagged and recently notified were two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee: Representatives Eric Swalwell and Adam B. Schiff, both from California. Mr. Schiff, a sharp political opponent of Mr. Trump, is now the chairman of the panel. The Times first reported the subpoena last week.
Many questions about the events leading up to the subpoenas go unanswered, including how highly authorized they were in the Trump Justice Department and whether investigators expected or hoped they would bring in data on the politically prominent lawmakers. The subpoena was looking for data on 109 email addresses and telephone numbers.
In this case, the leak investigation appeared to have focused primarily on Michael Bahar, then a member of the House Intelligence Committee. People close to Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein, the two senior Justice Department officials at the time, said neither of them knew that prosecutors had requested data on the accounts from lawmakers for this investigation.
It remains unclear whether agents were pursuing a theory that Mr. Bahar had leaked on his own initiative, or whether they suspected him of speaking to reporters with the approval of lawmakers. Either way, it seems they couldn’t prove their suspicions that he was the source of unauthorized disclosures; The case has been closed and no charges have been brought.