January 24, 2018

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Donald Trump confirms obstruction of justice probe, claiming 'witch hunt'

23 June 2017

President Trump decried government leaks and "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history" amid reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expanding his probe and exploring whether the billionaire commander in chief tried to obstruct justice.

In a series of statements on Twitter on Thursday, Mr Trump repeated his claim that Mr Mueller's investigation is a "WITCH HUNT" based on the "phony" premise of possible collusion between Russian Federation and a cadre of Trump campaign associates. Rosenstein can fire Mueller, but that doesn't make him the one investigating Trump.

The deputy attorney general later appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.

Rosenstein prepared a memo for Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in early May, which raised repeated questions about how Comey had handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation - at first, that seemed to be the basis for Comey's firing by the President, until Mr. Trump said a few days later that the Russian Federation investigation was on his mind. Thus, we've endured months of speculation about the likelihood of Trump's impeachment, a rumor that reached fever pitch when recently-fired Federal Bureau of Investigation head James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee a week ago.

As Feinstein points out, the authority to fire Mueller comes from Rosenstein, seeing as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from congressional investigations into Russian Federation.

Trump denies having told Comey to back off the probe into Flynn, who had resigned on February 13 after it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the content of telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US. These officials claim Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, head of the National Security Agency Adm. Mike Rogers, and Rogers' recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller's investigators as soon as this week.

Mr Trump was criticised for the tweet by the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

Trump's tweet Friday reflected the first official confirmation that he is being investigated by the special counsel for the reasons he fired Comey last month.

Mueller is also investigating whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The investigation appears to be reaching a broadening circle of current and former officials.

Comey had testified that during the meeting in which Trump allegedly asked him to drop the Flynn investigation, Sessions had left the room. Trump cited the memo in firing Comey. Though some in the White House have preached caution, fearing a repeat of the firestorm over Comey's firing, many in Trump's orbit - including his son Donald Trump Jr. and adviser Newt Gingrich - have deemed Mueller biased and worthy of dismissal.

Donald Trump confirms obstruction of justice probe, claiming 'witch hunt'