President Trump appeared to be obsessed with the Mueller report during his wide-ranging interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, insisting that he read the special counsel’s report while repeatedly claiming it says there was “no collusion” despite Robert Mueller stating specifically that no determination was reached on the concept of collusion.
While speaking to Stephanopoulos in the back of the president’s limousine, the president was asked what his pitch to swing voters “on the fence” would be, prompting Trump to quickly pivot to the Russia investigation, which he called a “phony witch hunt.”
“Mueller comes out—there’s no collusion,” the president declared. “And essentially a ruling that no obstruction. And they keep going with it. You know what? People are angry about it.”
The ABC News host pushed back, stating that he didn’t think that’s what Mueller found, causing Trump to repeat his “no collusion” mantra while adding that the probe “didn't find anything having to do with obstruction because they made a ruling based on his findings and they said no obstruction.”
“They didn’t examine collusion,” Stephanopoulos countered. “He laid out evidence of obstruction.”
The two then went back and forth over the issue of collusion, leading to Stephanopulous bluntly asking the president if he’d actually read the report.
“Uh, yes I did, and you should read it, too,” Trump huffed as Stephanopoulos revealed he read “every word” of the report. The president reacted by cutting off Stephanopoulos and swiftly leaving the limo.
The This Week anchor noted that Trump kept coming back to the Mueller report unprompted, such as when he angrily lashed out at unfavorable 2020 polling. Asked by Stephanopoulos why it bothered him so much, Trump claimed it was because of his inherent honesty.
“Because it’s untrue—I like the truth,” the president, who has told over 10,000 lies while in office, said. “You know, I'm actually a very honest guy. If I thought they were correct, I wouldn’t be complaining at all. I understand that. It’s like the witch hunt that goes on. No collusion with Russia, there was no collusion.”
Stephanopoulos, again, attempted to point out that the report did not say there was no collusion, to no avail.
Elsewhere in the interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Trump on his refusal to sit down for an interview with the special counsel under oath, asking why he only provided written answers to Mueller.
“Because they were looking to get us for lies, for slight misstatements,’ Trump replied. “I looked at what happened to people, and it was very unfair. Very, very unfair. Very unfair.”
Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, noted that even in his written responses, Trump didn’t answer on the subject of obstruction, wondering aloud if the president was concerned about being prosecuted once he leaves office. After claiming he “answered a lotta questions,” Trump took issue with the anchor for stating that he didn’t address obstruction.
“Look, George, you're being a little wise guy, okay, which is, you know, typical for you,” Trump sneered before falling back to his familiar “no collusion” retort.