In a testy interview that aired on Sunday, President Trump said that he read “every word” of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report – claiming it found “no collusion” between his 2016 campaign and Russian operatives, and that the report “essentially” ruled out any indication that he obstructed justice.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Trump criticized Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 – and possible collusion by the Trump campaign – using his often-cited term “witch hunt” to describe the investigation and defending himself against accusations that he obstructed justice during Mueller’s investigation.
"Mueller comes out, there’s no collusion. And essentially ruling no obstruction," Trump said. "And they keep going with it. You know what, people are angry about it."
Trump added that Mueller “didn’t find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.”
Stephanopoulos challenged the president’s assertion by noting that Mueller's team "laid out evidence of obstruction."
"Oh, are you trying to say now that there was collusion, even though he said there is no collusion," Trump replied. "George, the report said no collusion."
Stephanopoulos then asked Trump if he had read the report, to which the president replied: “Yes I did, and you should read it, too.”
The ABC News anchor said he had read the report.
Mueller’s report was released in April and cited more than 100 contacts between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign, but found insufficient evidence to rule that a conspiracy took place. Mueller also noted that he was unable to make a determination on whether or not Trump obstructed justice during the investigation.
On a question of why Trump did not fire Mueller during the investigation – despite his vocal criticism – the president said he had the right to, but saw what happened when former President Richard Nixon began to fire people during the Watergate investigation.
"I watched Richard Nixon go around firing everybody and that didn't work out too well,” he said.