Donald Trump claimed erroneously on Monday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller hadn’t spoken to the people closest to him during the investigation. The president sent out a tweet saying that those who knew the campaign best were never called to testify, suggesting that they weren’t interviewed because they would have supported Trump’s claims that he didn’t work with Russian intelligence in order to gain information on his rivals during the 2016 presidential election.
“Isn’t it amazing that the people who were closest to me, by far, and knew the Campaign better than anyone, were never even called to testify before Mueller,” Trump tweeted.
“The reason is that the 18 Angry Democrats knew they would all say ‘NO COLLUSION’ and only very good things!”
In fact, Mueller requested an interview with the president himself, but Trump refused to testify. Mueller or his team also spoke with numerous White House staffers, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, campaign aide Hope Hicks, White House strategist Steve Bannon, White House counsel Don McGahn, campaign aide Corey Lewandowski, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. All of these individuals worked on the campaign at some point.
While the report said that Mueller couldn’t establish that there was any collusion between Donald Trump and Russian intelligence, it’s evident from the president’s reaction that the release of the redacted report is bothering him. While speaking with reporters on Monday, he insisted that he wasn’t bothered by the report.
As Trump complains on Twitter that the people "closest" to him were not called to testify before Mueller, remember that the Mueller report says that Donald Trump Jr. declined to be voluntarily interviewed by Mueller's team.https://t.co/MmzNLhO93L— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 22, 2019
“Not even a little bit,” he said.
He also told reporters that no one would defy his directions.
“Nobody disobeys my orders,” Trump claimed, according to CNN.
However, that statement is directly contradicted by the report. Mueller’s team writes that many of Trump’s efforts to influence the election failed because people disobeyed him.
“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report says.
This includes the instance where Don McGahn refused to fire Robert Mueller in order to interrupt the investigation into Trump and Homeland Security leader Kirstjen Nielsen’s refusal to close the southern border on Trump’s orders. Jeff Sessions told the president that he wouldn’t step back into the leadership role over the Mueller investigation and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus refused to fire Jeff Sessions. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defied Trump’s direction to state that his memo was the cause for removing James Comey from his position.