Mueller Report: Trump Tried to Use Lewandowski to Kneecap Russia Probe
The special counsel’s report on its Russia probe identified 10 episodes of possible obstruction by President Trump. One of those incidents involved the president reportedly pushing his former campaign manager to help undermine the probe.
On June 19, 2017, Trump met one-on-one in the Oval Office with former campaign chief Corey Lewandowski—who was not a White House employee at the time of the meeting—and dictated a message for him to give then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to the report, that message told Sessions to publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the probe was “very unfair” to the president, that the president had done nothing wrong, and that the attorney general planned to meet with Mueller to “let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections.” Lewandowski said he understood.
At another private meeting, a month later, Trump asked Lewandowski about the message to Sessions “to limit the special counsel’s investigation to future election interference” and, per the report, “Lewandowski told the president that the message would be delivered soon.” Hours after the meeting, Trump criticized Sessions in a New York Times interview.
Ultimately, according to the Mueller report, “Lewandowski did not want to deliver the president’s message personally, so he asked senior White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver it to Sessions. Dearborn was uncomfortable with the task and did not follow through.”