- President Donald Trump said on Monday that his staff members follow his orders.
- “Nobody disobeys my orders,” Trump told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins when she asked whether he was worried about his advisers ignoring his directives.
- The remark came after the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report painted a picture of a chaotic White House and a president whose aides routinely refused to follow his orders.
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Days after the special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in the Russia investigation landed with a bang, President Donald Trump told reporters that his staff follows his directives.
The comments came after Mueller’s report painted the picture of a chaotic White House and a president who felt besieged by a sprawling investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and whether members of his campaign conspired with Moscow in the effort. Trump was also personally investigated over whether he sought to obstruct justice in the inquiry.
In the obstruction probe, Mueller found that Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
The report, which was released on Thursday with light redactions, identified at least 10 current or former staffers who refused to follow the president’s orders, including former FBI Director James Comey, the former advisers Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former White House counsel Don McGahn.
On Monday, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked the president whether he was worried about his staff disobeying his orders, as the Mueller report depicted.
“Nobody disobeys my orders,” Trump replied.
The president and his allies initially took a victory lap after Attorney General William Barr announced – before the report was released – that Mueller found “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Mueller declined to make a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” in the obstruction case, but Barr concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge Trump with an obstruction crime.
Trump’s allies painted Barr’s remarks as being a “total and complete exoneration” of the president despite the fact that Mueller’s report explicitly stated that it “did not exonerate” him.
But Trump’s legal team, which got to look at the report in the days before it was released, is said to have become increasingly uneasy about its contents, especially in regard to the obstruction probe. In particular, Trump’s lawyers were said to be worried about what it said about McGahn’s conversations with Trump.
Trump, meanwhile, is reportedly fixated on the report’s characterization of how his subordinates routinely ignored his commands to avoid being implicated in the Russia probe.
People close to the president told CNN he is newly furious at many of those people, McGahn in particular, for disregarding his orders.
Indeed, the president appeared to target McGahn in an early-morning tweetstorm last week, in which he accused people who spoke with Mueller’s office of making statements that were “total bulls—.”
McGahn took extensive notes of his conversations with the president, according to Mueller’s report.
“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,” the president tweeted. “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed.”
Trump added: “I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bulls— & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad). This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened.”
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