The Justice Department later released a redacted version of Mueller's almost 400-page report on Russian election interference, opening up months, if not years, of fights over what the document means in a country split by passionate partisanship.
Mr McGahn refused - deciding he would rather resign than trigger what he regarded as a potential "Saturday Night Massacre" of Watergate firings fame.
The Justice Department on Thursday was expected to release a redacted version of the special counsel's report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign, opening up months, if not years, of fights over what the document means in a deeply divided country. The announcement Wednesday that Barr would be talking to the public and the press in advance of the redacted report's release came as a surprise. In the hours before its publication, Attorney General William Barr outlined the findings of the report and repeated Trump's favored phrase, "No collusion".
Besides Trump's personal lawyers, Barr said that "no one outside [DOJ] has seen the unredacted report, with the exception of certain sections that were made available to the intelligence community for their advice on protecting intelligence sources and methods".
It further added that investigators could not explicitly declare that Trump didn't obstruct justice: "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him". But it determined that the links between people with ties to the Russian government and people associated with the Trump campaign did not amount to evidence of criminal activity.
The report included an appendix that contained 12 pages of Trump's written responses to the special counsel.
Mr Mueller confirmed that Donald Trump's son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his then-campaign manager Paul Manafort met in NY on June 9, 2016 - less than five months before election day - with a Russian lawyer to try to obtain "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary". And Kimberly Whaley, who was an independent counsel during the Whitewater investigation, also advised Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.More news: For many 'Thrones' fans, season 8 is just the first ending
He broadly denied knowing of any foreign government trying to help his campaign, including the Russian government. Plus, redactions will make parts of the report hard to understand. "There never was, by the way, and there never will be", Trump said at a gathering of wounded veterans.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president.
In his summary, Barr said he and Rosenstein also determined, without considering a longstanding Justice Department opinion stating sitting presidents can not be indicted, that Mueller's findings were not "sufficient" to prove Mr. Trump committed obstruction of justice.
"When Sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God".
In addition to Comey's firing, Mueller scrutinized the president's request of Comey to end an investigation into Trump's first national security adviser; his relentless badgering of former attorney general Jeff Sessions over his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation; and his role in drafting an incomplete explanation about a meeting his oldest son took at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. "Absolutely no. I think the American people - many of them feel betrayed", he says. But it appeared to be the latest move by Trump and his allies to try and shape the narrative surrounding the investigation - featuring his incessant tweeting of "No Collusion" and his attacks on the credibility of the investigators in hopes of undermining their findings.
WILLIAM BARR: So that's the bottom line. "And no one outside this department has seen the non-redacted report". "It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything". "So I'm not sure what your basis is for saying that I'm generous to the president".