Mueller report reveals ‘pretend information’ repeatedly got here from Trump, not the media

If particular counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation makes one factor clear, it’s that most of the information studies that President Donald Trump branded as “fake news“ have been, actually, very actual information certainly.

Whereas Mr Mueller’s report didn’t set up a legal conspiracy and was “unable” to conclude that obstruction of justice occurred – opposite to hours of hypothesis amongst cable-news pundits throughout Mr Mueller’s lengthy investigation – it additionally largely validated information accounts that Trump dismissed or disparaged.

As a substitute, no less than within the Mueller staff’s evaluation, the pretend information appears to have flowed not from the media however from the opposite path.

His report, launched Thursday, cites a number of situations wherein Trump and White House aides misled or lied to journalists or in public statements because the investigation was unfolding.

On the day of Mr Mueller’s appointment, in Could 2017, for instance, White Home aides mentioned Trump reacted calmly to the information.

The truth is, in line with Mr Mueller’s report, Trump’s first response was something however calm.

In keeping with notes taken by an aide, Trump responded by saying: “Oh my God. That is horrible. That is the tip of my Presidency. I’m f***ed … That is the worst factor that ever occurred to me.”

White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders informed reporters repeatedly in Could 2017 that she personally had heard from “numerous members of the FBI” that they have been “grateful and grateful” to Trump for firing FBI director James Comey.

That by no means occurred, Mr Mueller mentioned. He wrote that Ms Sanders later acknowledged to investigators that her feedback have been “not based on something”.

Trump additionally dictated a press assertion saying that he had fired Mr Comey primarily based on the suggestions of Deputy Legal professional General Rod Rosenstein.

However Mr Mueller discovered that Trump had already determined to fireplace James Comey earlier than Gen Rosenstein had weighed in.

Mr Trump backed down and later publicly acknowledged he supposed to fireplace Mr Comey no matter Gen Rosenstein’s memo after unnamed Justice Division officers “made clear to him” that they might “resist” the bogus justification, Mr Mueller mentioned.

Incoming White Home aides additionally lied about press accounts they knew have been correct.

Former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn directed an aide, KT McFarland, to name Washington Publish columnist David Ignatius in the course of the presidential transition in January 2017 and deny Mr Ignatius’ reporting about Mr Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Ms McFarland “knew she was offering false info” when she known as Mr Ignatius to dispute his surmise that Mr Flynn had mentioned eradicating sanctions on Russia with Sergey Kislyak. (Prompted by Ms McFarland’s name, The Publish up to date the column to notice “Trump official” denied that Mr Flynn mentioned sanctions.)

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Mr Trump and his aides additionally knocked down an correct New York Instances story in Could 2017 reporting that the president had requested Mr Comey for loyalty throughout a non-public dinner a number of months earlier than his firing.

Mr Trump even lied about who invited whom to dinner:

He informed NBC Information anchor Lester Holt in an interview that month Mr Comey had requested for it as a result of “he wished to remain on”. 

Mr Mueller discovered proof that the president prolonged the invitation to Mr Comey on 27 January.

On the eve of Mr Comey’s testimony to Congress that Could, Mr Trump sought to boost questions on his credibility, when – as Mr Mueller discovered – it was Trump’s credibility that was questionable.

On the time, Trump tweeted, “James Comey higher hope there are not any ‘tapes’ of our dialog earlier than he begins leaking to the press!”

Mr Comey’s contemporaneous accounts of his assembly with Mr Trump and corroboration from his FBI colleagues additionally present that one other New York Instances story, branded as “pretend information” by the president, was true.

The Instances reported that Trump had requested Mr Comey to finish the investigation of Mr Flynn; Mr Mueller discovered “substantial proof” that this was true, regardless of Mr Trump publicly saying in any other case.

Mr Trump additionally tried to influence then-White Home Counsel Donald McGahn to disclaim tales in The Washington Publish and the Instances in early 2018 that Trump had requested Mr McGahn to fireplace Mr Mueller about seven months earlier.

Mr McGahn refused repeatedly to undercut the tales as a result of he knew they have been “correct in reporting on the President’s effort to have the Particular Counsel eliminated”.

Mr Mueller famous that Trump “challenged” his lawyer for taking notes of their dialog.

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“Why do you’re taking notes?” he requested Mr McGahn, in line with the report. “Attorneys don’t take notes. I by no means had a lawyer who took notes.”

Mr McGahn mentioned he saved notes as a result of he’s a “actual lawyer” and to ascertain a document.

Mr Trump replied, “I’ve had quite a lot of nice attorneys, like Roy Cohn. He didn’t take notes.’’

Mr Cohn, who was chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, throughout Mr McCarthy’s communist-hunting hearings within the 1950s, was disbarred by a New York court docket in 1986 due to “dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation”.

The Washington Publish’ – further reporting by Margaret Sullivan 

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