"Oh my God, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency, I am f*****."
These were the words spoken by President Donald Trump when he learned of Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel to conduct an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia, according to an official report released Thursday.
Trump became angry when he was told the news by attorney general Jeff Sessions and asked "how did you let this happen, Jeff?"
Mueller's report says Trump told Sessions "you were supposed to protect me".
He went on: "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency.
"It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything," he said, adding: "This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me."
News of the alleged Oval Office exchange came as a 448 page redacted version of Mueller's report, which found no collusion, was released to the public.
However, US attorney general William Barr said there was “no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government hackers” as he gave a statement prior to the report's release.
Despite Barr confirming what Trump had always maintained that there was no collusion Mueller's report did point to 10 episodes in which the president sought to seize control of the Russia probe.
Examples include Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president's directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate.
- Here is the redacted version of the report:
The president's lawyers say Trump's conduct fell within his constitutional powers, but Mueller's team deemed the episodes were deserving of scrutiny to determine whether crimes were committed.
While Mueller drew no conclusion about whether Trump had obstructed justice in the investigation, Barr said he and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein personally concluded the president did not.
They said that while Trump was “frustrated and angry” about the Mueller probe, nothing the president did rose to the level of an "obstruction-of-justice offence".
Barr said the president did not exert executive privilege to withhold anything in the report. And he said the president’s personal lawyer had requested and gotten a chance to review the report before its public release.
Critics of Barr, mostly Democrats, condemned the attorney general for apparently acting like a defender of Trump.
Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted it was "a disgrace" for Barr to act like "the personal attorney and publicist" for Trump.