Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his 22-month Russia investigation was released to the public, albeit with numerous sections blacked out, on Thursday morning. The report claims that Donald Trump was stunned, upset, and appeared to panic when he learned in May of 2017 that Mueller had been appointed to investigate potential interference in the 2016 presidential election. The entire redacted report is available online, as posted by the United States Justice Department.
The Mueller report says that Jody Hunt, the chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, took notes of a meeting between Sessions and Trump on May 17, 2017. During this meeting, Trump was first informed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed Mueller to the Russia probe, according to a report by Vox.
Trump “slumped back in his chair,” when he heard about Mueller’s appointment, according to the Mueller report. “Oh my God. This is the end of my presidency,” Trump said, according to the Mueller report. “I’m f****d.”
After recovering from his initial shock, Trump allegedly exploded in rage at Sessions, per the report, telling Sessions, “You were supposed to protect me!” Or, as the report says, “words to that effect.” Trump then repeated his belief that once an independent counsel is appointed, “it ruins your presidency.”
Trump then lamented that, “I won’t be able to do anything,” and declared, “This is the worst thing that evert happened to me.” He then demanded that Sessions resign. But after Sessions submitted his resignation, Trump reportedly changed his mind — and refused to accept it.
But on November 7, 2018, Trump finally did fire Sessions, according to The New Yorker. The president ultimately appointed William Barr, the current attorney general, who received the Mueller Report on March 22. Barr would then release the report to the public on Thursday, April 18.
At a press conference on Thursday, when Barr was asked whether he was attempting to “spin” the Mueller report in Trump’s favor, Barr simply said “no.” He then abruptly walked away, ending the press conference, as Vox reported.
Trump soon attempted to fire Mueller, according to The New York Times, but when his attempts to get rid of the special counsel were publicly reported in the media in early 2018 — as Mueller states in his report — Trump met with White House Counsel Don McGahn in the Oval Office. Trump reportedly “pressured” McGahn to lie about the attempts to fire Mueller.
The New York Times calls the section detailing Trump’s alleged efforts to fire Mueller, and then cover up his attempts to dismiss the special counsel. “damning.” The media outlet cites a passage in the report, one claiming that these efforts “demonstrated an active effort by the president to paint a false narrative” about his conduct behind the scenes — as the president reportedly attempted to shut down the Mueller investigation.