According to the Mueller report which was released on Thursday, US president Donald Trump responded explosively when he was informed that a special council had been appointed to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
When Trump "was told that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked'" the report states, citing notes from Jody Hunt, who was the chief of staff for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the time.
Mueller's 448-page is the culmination of a 22-month investigation that Trump repeatedly labeled a "witch hunt."
The president took to Twitter on Friday to give his response to what he called the "Crazy Mueller Report", saying some of the claims are "total bullshit".
Some of the report's key findings include:
- When Trump was told in May 2017 a special counsel was being appointed by the Justice Department the president said: "Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm fucked."
- In June 2017, Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to tell the then-acting attorney general that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the order.
- There was "some evidence" Trump knew about former national security adviser Michael Flynn's controversial calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, but evidence was "inconclusive" and could not be used to establish intent to obstruct.
- There was "substantial evidence" that Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in 2017 due to his "unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation."
- Trump "repeatedly reached out to intelligence agency leaders to discuss the FBI investigation".
- The special counsel's team determined there was a "reasonable argument" that the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., violated campaign finance laws, but did not believe they could obtain a conviction.
William Barr presents the findings - but was the presentation partisan?
US Attorney General William Barr appeared before the media on Thursday to announce the finding of the Robert Mueller-led probe, concluding there is not sufficient evidence Trump obstructed justice during the inquiry.
He reiterated Mueller's findings: that neither the US president or his campaign team colluded with Moscow over attempts to influence the election.
"President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinising his conduct before and after taking office and the conduct of some of his associates," Barr said.
"At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president's personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was, in fact, no collusion," added Barr.
But critics have pointed out Barr, the top US law enforcement official and a Trump appointee, was being too partisan.
Democrats said the report contained disturbing evidence of wrongdoing by Trump that could fuel congressional investigations, but there was no immediate indication they would try to remove him from office through impeachment.
Here are some of those key passages in full.
After he found out about Robert Mueller's appointment as Special Council, Trump tried to get Mueller fired, even though he may have known this was "improper".
Another key finding from the report is that Trump "repeatedly reached out to intelligence agency leaders to discuss the FBI investigation".
However, the officials he spoke to did not consider that they were "directives to improperly interfere" with the investigation.
And the report states that while "the evidence does not establish that the termination of Corney was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia", there is evidence Trump was extremely worried about what an FBI investigation might uncover.
Reaction in Washington DC
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who is a frequent thorn in the president's side, has called on Mueller himself to appear and testify on his investigation.
"The public deserves the facts, not Attorney General Barr’s political spin", Schiff tweeted.
The head of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, also requested that Mueller appear before him.
While some Democrats have called for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that "going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point".
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote "Throwback Thursday" as she re-posted her own Tweet from 2018 which claimed Republican Senator Lindsay Graham "himself established a standard that demands Trump’s impeachment".