John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.
Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.
But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.
“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.
“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry -- number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.
“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”
Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.
“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.
“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we'll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”
Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president's attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.
“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.
“I just don't believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”