White House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report

White House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report

White House counsel Donald McGahnDonald (Don) F. McGahnThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — McCain honored at US Capitol Trump didn't inform McGahn of hush-money payments in 2016: report Would you want your lawyer talking? MORE reportedly called President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE "King Kong" in private due to what he perceives as the president's fiery temperament.

The New York Times reported Saturday that McGahn and Trump have had a tenuous relationship and that the two rarely speak, leading Trump to question McGahn's loyalty. 

Current and former White House officials told the paper that McGahn grew so exasperated with Trump's behavior that he called him "King Kong" behind his back.

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“The president and Don have a great relationship,” White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement to The Times. “He appreciates all the hard work he’s done, particularly his help and expertise with the judges, and the Supreme Court” nominees.

The account of Trump and McGhan's rocky relationship came as part of a larger report about McGahn's cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

McGahn reportedly began cooperating with Mueller's team last year after growing fearful that the president was setting him up to take the blame for a potential obstruction of justice charge. 

McGahn and his lawyer, William Burck, began doing as much as they could to cooperate with Mueller in his ongoing probe.

McGahn has reportedly discussed the president's dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey and his repeated requests for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take oversight of Mueller's probe despite his recusal Sessions' recusal.

Trump responded to the report later Saturday by tweeting that he allowed 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," he said. "Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!"