President Donald Trump’s immediate reaction to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, in charge of leading the Russia investigation, was summed up in 15 words: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
That’s what Trump told former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to the redacted version of the Mueller report, released Thursday, citing notes taken by Sessions’ chief of staff, Jody Hunt.
“The President became angry and lambasted the Attorney General for his decision to recuse from the investigation, stating, ‘How could you let this happen, Jeff?” according to the report. “The President returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, ‘Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything.'”
“‘This is the worst thing that ever happened to me,'” Trump reportedly said.
After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Mueller was appointed in May 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who handled matters related to the Russia investigation after Sessions recused himself. Sessions recused himself in March because he had had contacts with then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak, which he had previously not disclosed. It was one of his first public acts as attorney general.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
Trump has claimed the Mueller report totally exonerated him of all wrongdoing, a sentiment he repeated on his Twitter account Thursday morning. While the special counsel didn’t draw a specific conclusion about obstruction, there are damaging details in the report, including the fact that the president failed to cooperate with the investigation.
This story was updated to clarify details of the Mueller report.