He said it to Jeff Sessions when they were in the Oval Office together. Here they are in the same room three months earlier.
He said it to Jeff Sessions when they were in the Oval Office together. Win McNamee/Getty Images

There are a lot of surprising sentences in the Mueller Report, but my favorite is: "I'm fucked." It comes on page 78 of volume one, and it is uttered by the President of the United States. News networks are bleeping it or displaying it as "I'm f***ed," but Mueller writes it out. You can find it (allegedly) in this searchable PDF of the Mueller report, although when I type in "I'm fucked" I get zero results (maybe it's the "smart" apostrophe?). But the thing Trump said right before "I'm fucked" is "This is the end of my Presidency," and if you type in "end of my presidency" you can find the paragraph in question.

Here's a fuller quote:

[W]hen Sessions told the president that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked."

Would that it were so!

Here's what my favorite sentence looks like as you're reading:

What Trump did in the Oval Office when he first heard Robert Mueller had been hired.
What Trump did in the Oval Office when he first heard Robert Mueller had been hired. Screenshot from Mueller Report

Let's back up and set the scene a little.

It was May 17, 2017, and Trump and Sessions were in the Oval Office with Don McGahn and Jody Hunt, conducting interviews for a new FBI director. Sessions stepped out of the room to take a call from Rod Rosenstein, the acting attorney general on matters Russian. Rosenstein "told him about the Special Counsel appointment, and then Sessions returned to inform the President of the news."

After the President said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm fucked," the President directed his rage at Sessions:

The President became angry and lambasted the Attorney General for his decision to recuse from the investigation, stating, "How could you let this happen, Jeff?"

How could you let this happen, Jeff?
"How could you let this happen, Jeff?" is going to be my new catchphrase. Win McNamee/Getty Images

As mentioned in passing on page 78, but elaborated on multiple times elsewhere in the Mueller Report (one of the curious features of the report is that it tells the same stories over and over again, recasting events with differing degrees of detail, in a variety of places, including footnotes [David Foster Wallace would love this thing]), Trump berated Jeff Sessions by comparing him to past attorneys general.

The President... wanted an Attorney General who would protect him, the way he perceived Robert Kennedy and Eric Holder to have protected their presidents. The President made statements about being able to direct the course of criminal investigations, saying words to the effect of, "You're telling me that Bobby and Jack didn't talk about investigations? Or Obama didn't tell Eric Holder who to investigate?"

But Trump laying into Sessions about previous attorneys general didn't work. Lamenting "How could you let this happen, Jeff?" didn't work. Trumps pleas for Sessions to unrecuse himself had gone nowhere, and now that Mueller had been hired, Trump considered it "the end of my presidency."

And then, as if realizing he sounded guilty as hell, Trump quickly added:

Everyone tells me if you get one of these special counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

That sounds like the sudden and improvised attempt to cover for "I'm fucked."

But responding to the news about Mueller by saying "I'm fucked" has "legal significance," MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber argued on TV last night, "because it tells us about the potentially alleged corrupt intent in the President's mind."

Melber went on: "The President was knowledgeable of his own criminal exposure." (Start at the 1:00 mark in the video below.) "It was not the private announcement... of a person who thought: 'I'm clear, this'll be a headache, give it time.' It was the statement, raw, uncut, unvarnished, off Twitter, of a man who... seemed very acquainted with his own criminal liability."

After the slumping and the blowing up and the covering for his blowup in the Oval Office, Trump asked for Sessions's resignation. The Mueller report says:

Sessions agreed to submit his resignation and left the Oval Office. [Hope] Hicks saw the President shortly after Sessions departed and described the President as being extremely upset by the Special Counsel's appointment. Hicks said she had only seen the President like that one other time, when the Access Hollywood tape came out during the campaign.

On May 18:

Sessions finalized a resignation letter that stated, "Pursuant to our conversation of yesterday, and at your request, I hereby offer my resignation." Sessions... brought the letter to the White House and handed it to the President. The President put the resignation letter in his pocket and asked Sessions several times whether he wanted to continue serving as Attorney General. Sessions ultimately told the President he wanted to stay, but it was up to the President. The President said he wanted Sessions to stay. At the conclusion of the meeting, the President shook Sessions's hand but did not return the resignation letter.

The next day, on a flight from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv,

the President pulled Sessions's resignation letter from his pocket and showed it to a group of senior advisors, and asked them what he should do about it... It was not until May 30, three days after the President returned from the trip, that the President returned the letter to Sessions with a notation saying, "Not accepted."

Of course, the day after the Midterms, Sessions was finally shown the door.

In other news: