Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons'
© Greg Nash

A former attorney for President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE said Monday that Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE understood that Trump had to criticize the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference.

“I talked to Bob [Mueller] about that, and said, ‘Do you understand what’s going on?’” John Dowd said on "Fox & Friends," referring to Trump repeatedly calling the probe a “witch hunt.”

“[Mueller] said, ‘Oh it’s political. He has to do that for political reasons,' ” Dowd added. 

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“He said, 'There’s one thing I’m worried about, I don’t want to scare off witnesses.' So I said, 'I’ll tell you what, the president and I will say publicly, "cooperate with Bob Mueller," so that was it,' ” Dowd added.

Dowd, who was the president's lead attorney on issues related to the investigation, abruptly resigned in March 2018.

He reportedly clashed with the president over whether Trump should sit down for an interview with Mueller.

The special counsel's redacted report on the 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was released to the public last week.

It confirmed that Mueller's team did not find evidence proving Trump's 2016 campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.

It also detailed 10 potential instances of obstruction of justice, but did not make a criminal determination on the issue.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrHouse gears up for Mueller testimony History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week Court filings show Trump, Cohen contacts amid hush money payments MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates MORE decided not to pursue obstruction charges after reviewing the report last month.