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US President Donald Trump says he has "nothing to hide" from the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election, and denies that his top lawyer had turned on him by co-operating with the probe.

Trump's original legal team had encouraged McGahn and other White House officials to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, and McGahn spent hours in interviews.

According to the president, some members of the media were "very angry" about the New York Times report and called to complain and apologize, which he called "a big step forward".

"It is not clear that Mr. Trump appreciates the extent to which Mr. McGahn has cooperated with the special counsel", Times reporters added.

The newspaper said McGahn was also centrally involved in Trump's attempts to fire the special counsel, which investigators might not have discovered without him.

In the Reuters interview, Mr Trump expressed concern that any statement he made to investigators could be compared with that of others who have testified, such as former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey, and that any discrepancies could be used against him.

The Times report comes amid pressure from Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, for Mueller to conclude the monthslong investigation.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, said the strategy was also created to help speed the investigation while protecting the White House as an institution. "Mr. Clinton invoked privilege to block aides Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal from testifying to Ken Starr's grand jury.Yet when Mr. Trump doesn't invoke privilege for his White House counsel, he gets no credit".

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Giuliani also tried to make the case that having Trump sit down for an interview with Mueller's team would not accomplish much because of the he-said-she-said nature of witnesses' recollections.

Trump, who makes his unhappiness over the long-running investigation known through near-daily posts on Twitter, also told his Reuters interviewers that he has made a decision to "stay out" of the probe but is "totally allowed" to get involved if he wanted to.

"During the campaign and intermittently over his first year in office, Trump has been asked about his returns and when they might be released publicly". McGahn and his attorney came up with a strategy to cooperate extensively with the Mueller investigation in order to prove that there was no wrongdoing on his part. It noted that McGahn played a key role in stopping Trump from firing Mueller, who was made special counsel after Comey's firing.

He added: "I'm totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be".

McCarthy says, though, that the Mueller investigation is not about prosecuting Trump.

"Mueller's Angry Dems are looking to impact the election", he tweeted Wednesday.

Calling the story a "Fake piece", Trump seemed particularly incensed at the suggestion that McGahn could be a "RAT" like John Dean, the former White House counsel who testified against Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

"I reached out to my old friend John Dean because of what he went through with Watergate, and I saw some parallels to what Michael Cohen is experiencing", Davis told Politico.