The United States Department of Justice on Thursday released a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The report has revealed Trump’s reaction to the appointment of a special counsel in May 2017.
“Oh my God. This is the terrible,” Trump had said, according to notes written by Jody Hunt, chief of staff of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f––d,” Bloomberg reported quoting from Mueller’s report.
The report said Trump’s reaction was in response to hearing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been appointed by then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate the Russian interference in the election.
According to the report, Trump became angry and attacked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was also in the Oval Office, for allowing Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. “How could you allow this to happen, Jeff?” Trump had asked. Trump said the position of attorney general was his most important appointment and that Sessions “had let him down”.
Sessions also recalled Trump saying to him “you were supposed to protect me” or something to that effect, according to the report.
In November 2018, Trump had fired Sessions as the attorney general after criticising him for over a year for recusing himself from the Russia investigation following reports on his undisclosed meetings with Russian officials. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was put in charge of overseeing the inquiry after Sessions recused himself. Rosenstein later authorised the investigation.
According to the Mueller report, Trump said the investigation was “the worst thing that ever happened to me”. “Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency,” Trump said. “It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything.”
Attorney General William Barr, who was appointed by Trump, said last month the Mueller investigation found that Trump’s campaign in 2016 did not collude with the Russian government. However, since Mueller did not draw any conclusions on whether Trump illegally obstructed justice, Barr decided to set aside the evidence.