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Trump says he was the target of ‘an attempted coup’ with Mueller investigation

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 4/10/2019 John Wagner
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President Trump claimed Wednesday that he had survived “an attempted coup” and said he no longer cares about the forthcoming release of a report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III because, in his view, he has been exonerated.

Trump made his remarks to reporters a day after Attorney General William P. Barr told a House panel that he would release a redacted version of Mueller’s report “within a week” and that he has started to review the origins of the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign illegally coordinated with Russia during the 2016 elections.

Trump said he is hopeful that Barr would reveal “where exactly this all started.”

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“It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked,” Trump claimed. “This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president, and we beat them. We beat them.”

Mueller was brought on board by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a Republican and a Trump appointee, shortly after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey amid his agency’s probe of Russian interference.

Last month, Mueller completed his investigation into Russian interference and Trump’s conduct, and he submitted a nearly 400-page report to Barr.

The attorney general then released a letter saying the investigation did not find a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, and that Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether the president may have tried to obstruct justice during the probe.

After reviewing Mueller’s evidence, Barr and Rosenstein determined they could not make a case that the president had obstructed justice.

As he prepared to head to Texas on a fundraising trip, Trump told reporters that he has not seen the Mueller report.

“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care about the Mueller report. I’ve been totally exonerated,” Trump said.

Trump also insisted Wednesday that “there is no law” that would require his tax returns to be shared with Congress.

House Democrats are asking for six years of Trump’s personal and business returns, using a federal law that says the treasury secretary “shall furnish” the records upon the request of House or Senate chairmen.

“There is no law. As you know, I got elected last time with the same issue,” Trump told reporters. “There’s no law whatsoever.”

Trump was referring to his decision to break with tradition during the 2016 election and not voluntarily release his returns, as other presidential candidates have done for decades.

Trump also repeated his false claim that being under audit prevents him from releasing his returns.

“I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit,” he said. “I have no obligation to do that while I’m under audit, and no lawyer would tell you to release your taxes while you’re under audit.

Trump also cited a financial disclosure form he previously released that he said lists his assets “really in great detail.”

“I have some of the greatest assets in the world,” he added.

Devlin Barrett contributed to this report. 

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