Trump slams widening Mueller probe

NY [U.S.], June 15: U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced media reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating him for obstruction of justice as a part of a wider probe into Russia's influence in 2016 elections, saying Americans are watching "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history".

Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he was certain his firing was due to the president's concerns about the Russian Federation probe, rather than over his handling of a now-closed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, as the White House had initially asserted.

The Washington Post, citing five people briefed on the requests who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, and Richard Ledgett, the former deputy director at the NSA, had agreed to be interviewed by Mueller's investigators as early as this week. A spokesman for Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told the Post: "The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

"They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story", Trump tweeted.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

And this tremendous scoop by the Washington Post just makes clear that Mueller is doing his job.

On Wednesday Mr Mueller met the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee in an effort to ensure their investigations did not conflict.

Committee chairman Richard Burr, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's top Democrat, did not provide any other details, but an aide familiar with the meeting said it was held to discuss the investigations, including ways that the parallel inquiries did not interfere with one another.

It comes a day after lawmakers questioned Justice Department officials about the probe and Mueller's independence.

Testifying publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions confirmed that Comey expressed to him "concern about proper communications protocol with the White House and with the President".

In recent days, Trump has reportedly been mulling the idea of firing Mueller, who DOJ Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein appointed in the subsequent chaos of the Comey firing. Trump, who isn't typically shy about leveling criticism, especially on Twitter, hasn't commented on the longtime former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Still, Gingrich said any special counsel with an agenda can "all of the sudden find something procedural and technical to latch onto".

Feinstein has said the Judiciary Committee should investigate, but had asked Grassley to keep the investigations separate.

Questions about whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice have swirled following Comey's testimony last week to the Senate that the president directed him in February to end the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

  • Zachary Reyes