A comment made by President Trump during a surprise gaggle with reporters Wednesday afternoon revealed how he views the allegations that he obstructed the investigation into Russian election meddling.
Asked if he thought Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be fair to him, Trump said “I hope so,” but only after he the compared obstruction of justice allegations to him fighting back.
“Because here’s what we’ll say, and everybody says: No collusion. There’s no collusion,” Trump said. “Now they’re saying, “Oh, well, ‘Did he fight back? Did he fight back?’ You fight back, ‘Oh, it’s obstruction.’ So, here’s the thing: I hope so.”
Trump hasn’t exactly hidden behavior that has led to concerns that he was obstructing the federal Russia probe.
Days after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, Trump in an interview with NBC News cited the “Russia thing” as among the reasons for the termination.
Comey later alleged that Trump had asked him to go easy on former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. This week the Washington Post also reported that Trump asked FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who served as acting director after Comey’s ousting, who he voted for in 2016.
Trump was publicly critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, leading to Mueller’s appointment. Trump told the New York Times Sessions’ decision was “unfair” and that he wouldn’t have chosen Sessions as his attorney general if Trump had known he was going to recuse himself from the investigation.
Trump’s comments Wednesday come as Mueller’s interest in the obstruction angle has become more public, with reports of interviews with Sessions and Comey.
In the same scrum with reporters, Trump said he was “looking forward” to speaking with Mueller and that he would do so under oath — a promise that a White House attorney quickly walked back.