The White House is continuing to deal with the fallout from the Russia scandal, even after Special Counsel Robert Mueller dropped the final report from his investigation. President Donald Trump has taken to raging that some of his aides dared cooperate with the Mueller probe — although it’s worth noting, as some of them have behind the scenes, that the White House gave them permission to cooperate. That detail only ups the ante of the vitriol that Trump is spewing.
On Twitter Friday morning, Trump raged:
‘Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue.’
He went on to complain about “so-called notes” that “never existed until needed.”
The very public complaints put a number of current and former aides in the hot seat, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn, former staff secretary Rob Porter, and others. McGahn shared details with the special counsel of Trump attempting to get him to get Mueller out, while Porter shared that he similarly ignored a directive from the president to see if former United States Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand could take over the Russia probe. Others whose note-taking was put in the spotlight include former chief of staff John Kelly and former deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, while still others shared further details of ways they ended up thwarting Trump’s attempts at obstruction of justice. Former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, for instance, refused to try and get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal from the Russia investigation, a move that originally enraged Trump because he thought the attorney general should protect him.
More specifically than complaints about their general cooperation with investigators, Trump has actually apparently already raged behind the scenes at McGahn over his notes. He railed at the lawyer:
‘Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.’
McGahn asserted to Trump that a “real lawyer” takes notes — and it’s true, Trump hasn’t exactly had the best past with lawyers. His longtime former personal attorney Michael Cohen will soon be reporting for a three-year jail sentence for crimes including an illegal hush money scheme the president himself participated in while in office. Trump’s cooperation woes are certainly not over — Cohen has said that he will soon “be ready to address the American people again…tell it all…and tell it myself!” He’s already offered high-profile public testimony before the House Oversight Committee in which he lambasted Trump as a supposed criminal.
Behind the scenes, Trump is clearly feeling the heat. Based again on notes, this time from Sessions’ then-chief of staff, Jody Hunt, the Mueller report shares that when the special counsel was appointed in the first place, he burst out with:
‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.’
Although Mueller ended up concluding there was no criminally prosecutable conspiracy between the Trump team and Russian agents seeking to tilt the 2016 elections, he punted the question of obstruction of justice to Congress, where calls for impeachment are picking up. High-profile figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) have both expressed new support for the idea.
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