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 TrumpWhat the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel Anti-US trade war song going viral in China MORE said Monday that Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 BarrBarr says he's working to protect presidency, not Trump Press: Justin Amash breaks ranks with party White House tells McGahn to defy House subpoena MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinKlobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Barr dismisses contempt vote as part of 'political circus' MORE decided not to pursue obstruction charges after reviewing the report last month.