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Trump Blasts Those Who Spoke to Mueller04/20 09:19

   President Donald Trump lashed out Friday at current and former aides who 
cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, insisting the 
deeply unflattering picture they painted of him and the White House was "total 

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump lashed out Friday at current and 
former aides who cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller's 
investigation, insisting the deeply unflattering picture they painted of him 
and the White House was "total bullshit."

   In a series of angry tweets from rainy Palm Beach, Florida, Trump laced into 
those who, under oath, had shared with Mueller their accounts of how Trump 
tried numerous times to squash or influence the investigation and portrayed the 
White House as infected by a culture of lies, deceit and deception.

   "Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, 
in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & 
totally untrue," Trump wrote, adding that some were "total bullshit & only 
given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad)."

   The attacks were a dramatic departure from the upbeat public face the White 
House had put on it just 24 hours earlier, when Trump celebrated the report's 
findings as full exoneration and his counselor Kellyanne Conway called it "the 
best day" for Trump's team since his election. While the president, according 
to people close to him, did feel vindicated by the report, he also felt 
betrayed by those who had painted him in an unflattering light --- even though 
they were speaking under oath and had been directed by the White House to 
cooperate fully with Mueller's team.

   The reaction was not entirely surprising and had been something staffers 
feared in the days ahead of the report's release as they wondered how Mueller 
might portray their testimony and whether the report might damage their 
relationships with Trump.

   While Mueller found no criminal evidence that Trump or his campaign aides 
colluded in Russian election meddling and did not recommend obstruction charges 
against the president, the 448-page report released Thursday nonetheless paints 
a damaging picture of the president, describing numerous cases where he 
discouraged witnesses from cooperating with prosecutors and prodded aides to 
mislead the public on his behalf to hamper the Russia probe he feared would 
cripple his presidency.

   The accounts prompted Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who has sometimes clashed 
with Trump, to release a statement saying he was "sickened at the extent and 
pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest 
office of the land, including the President."

   "Reading the report is a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from 
the aspirations and principles of the founders," he said.

   The report concluded that one reason Trump managed to stay out of trouble 
was that his "efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful 
... largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry 
out orders or accede to his requests."

   That didn't spare those who defied Trump's wishes from his wrath.

   Trump appeared to be especially angry with former White House counsel Don 
McGahn, who sat with Mueller for about 30 hours of interviews, and is 
referenced numerous times in the report.

   In one particularly vivid passage, Mueller recounts how Trump called McGahn 
twice at home and directed him to set in motion Mueller's firing. McGahn 
recoiled, packed up his office and threatened to resign, fearing the move would 
trigger a potential crisis akin to the Saturday Night Massacre of firings 
during the Watergate era.

   In another section, Mueller details how Trump questioned McGahn's 
note-taking, telling the White House counsel that, "Lawyers don 't take notes" 
and that he'd "never had a lawyer who took notes."

   "Watch out for people that take so-called "notes," when the notes never 
existed until needed," Trump said in one of his tweets Friday. Others whose 
contemporaneous notes were referenced in the report include former staff 
secretary Rob Porter and Reince Priebus, Trump's first chief of staff.

   Trump ended his tweet with the word, "a..." suggesting more was coming. More 
than eight hours later, he finally completed his thought, calling the probe a 
"big, fat, waste of time, energy and money" and threatening investigators by 
saying, "It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some 
very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps 
even Spying or Treason." There is no evidence of either.

   Trump, who is in Florida for the Easter weekend, headed to his West Palm 
Beach golf club Friday after some early morning rain had cleared. There he 
played golf with conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh "and a couple 
friends," according to the White House.

   He'll spend the rest of the weekend with family, friends and paying members 
of his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

   As Trump hopped off the steps from Air Force One on Thursday evening, he was 
greeted by a throng of supporters, who clamored for autographs and selfies. He 
repeatedly told the crowd "thank you everybody" as they yelled encouragement.

   Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary to former President 
George W. Bush, said in an appearance on Fox News that he didn't understand why 
Trump decided to send his tweets lashing out at former aides.

   "I think it's over," he said. "If I were the president, I would have 
basically declared victory with the Mueller report and everything that came out 
and move beyond it."

   Still, he said he hoped the White House had learned some lessons.

   "The president and his entire team needs to realize how close they came to 
being charged with obstruction," Fleischer said. "Asking your staff to lie and 
engaging in some of the activities that the Mueller report stated the president 
engaged in is too close to obstruction. And that's a lesson I hope everybody at 
the White House takes with them going forward."


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