Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
BREAKING NEWS

"I'm f***ed!" How Trump responded to finding out about Mueller investigation

 Comments
Trump was in defiant mood following the publication of the report
Trump was in defiant mood following the publication of the report -
Copyright
REUTERS
Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

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.

Read more: Disputed BuzzFeed story on Trump and Cohen back in limelight after Mueller report contradicts

Read more: Mueller report: Russians meddling in 2016 election sought help, retweets from team Trump

Read more: Trump campaign planned for WikiLeaks dump, Mueller report finds

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.

The President learned of the Special Counsel's appointment from Sessions, who was with the President, Hunt, and McGahn conducting interviews for a new FBI Director. Sessions stepped out of the Oval Office to take a call from Rosenstein, who told him about the Special Counsel appointment, and Sessions then returned to inform the President of the news.

According to notes written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President 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 President became angry and lambasted the Attorney General for his decision to recuse from the investigation, stating, "How could you let this happen, Jeff?"
Mueller report, page 63, citing notes of Jody Hunt

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".

There also is evidence that the President knew that he should not have made those calls to McGahn. The President made the calls to McGahn after McGahn had specifically told the President that the White House Counsel's Office- and McGahn himself-could not be involved in pressing conflicts claims and that the President should consult with his personal counsel if he wished to raise conflicts.

Instead of relying on his personal counsel to submit the conflicts claims, the President sought to use his official powers to remove the Special Counsel. And after the media reported on the President's actions, he denied that he ever ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel terminated and made repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story, as discussed in Volume Il, Section Il.!, infra. Those denials are contrary to the evidence and suggest the President's awareness that the direction to McGahn could be seen as improper.
Mueller report, page 90

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.

The President asked Rogers if he could do anything to refute the stories linking the President to Russia, and the President asked Comey to make a public statement that would "lift the cloud" of the ongoing investigation by making clear that the President was not personally under investigation.

These requests, while significant enough that Rogers thought it important to document the encounter in a written memorandum, were not interpreted by the officials who received them as directives to improperly interfere with the investigation.
Mueller report, page 60

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.

The evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns.
Mueller report, page 76

Read more: What the Mueller report says about Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Read more: Read Trump's written responses in the Mueller report

Read more: Read the text of the Mueller report

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".