Mueller report suggests Trump intended to obstruct investigation, says ex-Watergate prosecutor

Former Watergate special prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste said in an interview that aired Tuesday on "Rising" that Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's report on election meddling shows enough evidence to suggest that 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 intended to obstruct the special counsel's investigation. 

"It's 400-plus pages of chapter and verse of a president who took every step that he could to try to obfuscate, to try to get people to lie, tried to reward those people who refused to cooperate with a legitimate investigation, tried to punish and denigrate the people who were cooperative with Mr. Mueller," Ben-Veniste told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Monday. 

"In terms of a normal review of criminal intent, you would say there's a lot there that suggests that the intent of Mr. Trump was to obfuscate and obstruct the investigation," he continued. 

Mueller's final report concluded that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russians during the 2016 presidential election, but did not reach a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice in the investigation. 

Democrats and the president's critics have pointed to the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, who said that Trump told him to remove Mueller in June 2017. 

McGahn, who has been called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, said he refused to fire Mueller, fearing it would have been viewed “as triggering another Saturday Night Massacre,” according to the report. 

Ben-Veniste said that McGahn ultimately saved Trump from himself in refusing to fire Mueller. 

"He had the benefit of a man who was much more schooled in the niceties of criminal law and prosecutor than perhaps he deserved," he said. 

— Julia Manchester