Donald Trump tried to seize control of Robert Mueller probe, says report

The report said that in June 2017, Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn to call the acting attorney general and say that Mueller must be ousted because he had conflicts of interest


                            Donald Trump tried to seize control of Robert Mueller probe, says report

Public at last, special counsel Robert Mueller's report revealed to a waiting nation on Thursday that President Donald Trump had tried to seize control of the Russia probe and force Mueller's removal to stop him from investigating potential obstruction of justice by the president.

In a previously unreported episode, the report said that in June 2017, Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn to call the acting attorney general and say that Mueller must be ousted because he had conflicts of interest.

Attorney General William Barr speaks about the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report during a news conference, Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the Department of Justice in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

McGahn refused — deciding he would rather resign than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre of Watergate firings fame.

For all of that, Mueller said in his report that he could not conclusively determine that Trump had committed criminal obstruction of justice.

The 10 episodes scrutinized by Mueller include Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president's directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.

The president's lawyers have said Trump's conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller's team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed.

The Justice Department posted a redacted version of the report online Thursday morning, 90 minutes after Attorney General William Barr offered his own final assessment of the findings.