Trump ‘tried to get special counsel fired’
President Trump tried to get the man appointed to investigate his links to Russia fired, a long-awaited report has revealed.
Details are starting to emerge about the 448-page redacted document, collated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which has just been published.
Mr Trump’s legal team earlier described the report as a “total victory”.
It comes as the country’s top lawyer, William Barr, faces heavy criticism of his handling of the report’s release.
The attorney general, who was appointed by Mr Trump, held a news conference before the report was made public in which he backed the president.
His actions have provoked top Democrats to publicly question his impartiality and independence.
Within the report, it is revealed the president called Don McGahn – a former White House lawyer – in June 2017 to try and get Mr Mueller removed on the basis he had unspecified “conflicts of interest”.
Mr McGahn told the special counsel he resigned after feeling “trapped because he did not plan to follow the President’s directive” and would not have known what to say to Mr Trump if he called again.
Mr Mueller’s report says he has found no criminal conspiracy between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia, but did not reach a concrete legal conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice.
The mammoth document is the product of a 22-month investigation by Mr Mueller – who was appointed by the FBI to probe possible collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.
His team’s investigation has led to 35 people being charged, including several who were a part of the president’s campaign and administration.
The report also reveals:
- Mr Trump reportedly used an expletive when the investigation was announced, adding: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency”
- Investigators viewed the president’s written responses to their questions as “inadequate” but chose not to pursue a potentially lengthy legal battle to interview him
- Mr Trump dictated a misleading response as to what the June 2016 meeting between Russian intermediaries and Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower was about – this had earlier been denied by Mr Trump’s lawyer and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders