WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was an attempted coup d’etat, adding that he would like to see the Department of Justice launch an investigation of his claim.
“It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked,” the president said to reporters outside the White House before flying to Texas to participate in several fundraising events.
“This was an attempted coup,” he claimed. “This was an attempted takedown of a president, and we beat them.”
The president said that although the investigation was headed by people who “really” hate him, the probe found no evidence that his campaign team conspired with the Kremlin to ensure that he won the 2016 election and also failed to find evidence that he had committed obstruction of justice in trying to derail or delegitimize the probe.
“What they did was treason. What they did was terrible. What they did was against our Constitution and everything we stand for,” the president said.
Trump repeated that he had not read Mueller’s report and said he had no interest in doing so, given that – he said – he has many other matters to deal with.
“As far as I’m concerned I don’t care about the Mueller report,” Trump said. “I’ve been totally exonerated. No collusion. No obstruction.”
He said he had to concern himself with China, North Korea, Venezuela and many other world problems rather than spend time “worrying about something that never, ever should have taken place.”
After about two years of work, on March 22 Mueller delivered his final report on his investigation to US Attorney General William Barr.
Two days later, Barr sent a letter to Congress in which he said that the report did not find evidence that Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, but he also stated, quoting the report, that it did not “exonerate” Trump on obstruction.
Democratic lawmakers have insisted on the need to make the full report public, something that Barr has opposed claiming that it is necessary to edit it and redact certain portions to prevent classified information from being released.
Barr has not ruled out the possibility that he might open an investigation into Mueller’s probe, an option that would have the support of the White House, as Trump alluded on Wednesday.
In his remarks, Trump seemed to urge Barr to scrutinize Democratic motivations in the independent investigation he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt,” saying “Hopefully, that will happen. There is a hunger for that to happen in this country like nothing I’ve ever seen before, including all of the millions of people that voted for me.”