April 18, 2019 / 4:26 PM / in a month

Key quotes from U.S. Special Counsel Mueller's report

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his nearly two-year investigation into whether President Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia or attempted to obstruct probes.

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

The following are some key quotes from Mueller’s 448-page report:

“When (former Attorney General Jeff) Sessions told the President that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.’”

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

“The evidence supports the inference that the President intended (former campaign Chairman Paul) Manafort to believe that he could receive a pardon, which would make cooperation with the government as a means of obtaining a lesser sentence unnecessary.”

“You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod ...,” Trump told former White House Counsel Donald McGahn during a June 17, 2017, phone call in which he asked McGahn to remove Mueller due to conflicts of interest.

“Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the Special Counsel,” Trump said during a second phone call that same day. “Mueller has to go. ... Call me back when you do it.”

“I don’t have a lawyer,” Trump told aides on March 3, 2017, the day after learning that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“You’re telling me that Bobby (Kennedy) and Jack (Kennedy didn’t talk about investigations? Or Obama didn’t tell Eric (Attorney General Eric) Holder who to investigate?” Trump asked McGahn in connection with frustration over Sessions’ recusal.

“Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over,” Trump said to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during a Valentine’s Day lunch in 2017. “No way,” Christie replied with a laugh. “This Russia thing is far from over... ‘(W)e’ll be here on Valentine’s Day 2018 talking about this.”

“...It would also be a bad idea for the President because it looked as if my ambassadorial appointment was in some way a quid pro quo.” - former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, who refused a request to draft an email declaring that Trump had not directed Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

She documented the request in a memo, after she was asked to resign and offered a position instead as ambassador to Singapore.

“Can you look into this? Don’t want to get duped but don’t want to blow off Putin!” - former Trump campaign secretary Hope Hicks, in an email to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, after receiving an email from a Russian Embassy official with the subject line “Message from Putin.”

“If he doesn’t write a letter, then maybe I’ll have to get rid of him,” - Trump, telling Staff Secretary Rob Porter that he would fire White House Counsel McGahn if McGahn refused to craft a memo stating that Trump never directed him to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump also called McGahn a “lying bastard,” according to Porter’s account.

“Keep in touch with your friend.” - Trump, in directing Porter to keep in touch with former Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand to see if she might be interested in becoming attorney general and overseeing Mueller’s probe.

Porter later told prosecutors he never delivered the message because he was uncomfortable.

“I never said to fire Mueller. I never said ‘fire.’ This story doesn’t look good. You need to correct this. You’re the White House counsel.” - Trump, complaining to McGahn about a New York Times story revealing that Trump asked McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn declined to do so, saying the story was accurate.

“What about these notes? Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes.” - Trump, asking McGahn why he takes notes during meetings.

McGahn told Trump he does so because he is a “real lawyer” and note-taking is good and creates a record.

“I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn,” the president said. “He did not take notes.”

Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Trott

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