Senate

Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller's report gives an "unflattering portrayal" of President Trump, including an effort to oust the former FBI director from his special counsel role.

"He was not only very upset by the special counsel's investigations, but tried several times through intermediaries to end it, and it is an unflattering portrayal of the President," Collins told Maine Public Radio.

Her comments come after Attorney General William Barr released the 448-page report on Thursday, detailing Mueller's findings from the probe into the 2016 election and the Trump campaign as well as his conclusion that Congress may probe potential obstruction of justice.

As part of the obstruction section of his report, Mueller detailed 10 "episodes," including efforts by Trump to end the investigation, both when it was being overseen by former FBI Director James Comes and then by Mueller.

In one episode described by Mueller, Trump in 2017 ordered then-White House counsel Don McGahn to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to get rid of the special counsel. But McGahn refused, warning that he would rather resign.

In a subsequent episode described by Mueller, Trump in 2018 then tried to get McGahn to deny that he ever asked the White House counsel to help fire Mueller.

Trump, as described in the Mueller report, also tried several times to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the investigation and take over the probe.

Collins, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Maine NPR on Friday that she believed Mueller's report was a "very thorough undertaking."

"The Russians were determined to try to influence public opinion and interfere in our elections, and that is a serious threat to our democratic institution," Collins said.

Collins, who is up for reelection in 2020, isn't the only GOP senator raising early alarm bells over parts of the Mueller report.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said in a statement on Friday that he was "sickened" by some of the behavior described in the report, including actions by Trump.

"I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President," Romney said in a statement posted to Twitter.

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