US Investigating Whether Trump Tried To Obstruct Russia Probe
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 19:58
President Donald Trump is reportedly being investigated for obstruction of justice by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. The five anonymous sources cited by the Post said three intelligence officials have already agreed to interviews with Mueller's team: Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, NSA chief Mike Rogers, and Rogers' recently departed deputy, Richard Legett.
Trump has made it clear that he is frustrated by the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, which United States intelligence officials have said was done to tilt the outcome in Trump's favor.
Chris Ruddy, a Trump friend and the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax, raised the possibility of the president considering terminating Mueller, a potentially explosive option.
Comey told the committee that Trump encouraged him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a claim the president has denied.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led one line of attack with a tweet that said "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair". He declined further comment.
The president is nonetheless angered by the investigation, which he has described as a "witch hunt", The New York Times reported. The memos catalog several pivotal moments Comey allegedly had with Trump, including the president demanding "loyalty".
But testifying in the Senate Tuesday, Rosenstein said he is confident that Mueller will have "the full independence he needs" to investigate thoroughly. The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI chief, "marks a major turning point in the almost year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin", The Washington Post reported.
Former FBI director James Comey told a Senate hearing last week he thought he had been dismissed "because of the Russian Federation investigation". Investigators are also examining whether Trump campaign associates colluded in any way with Russian intelligence.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told journalists on June 13: "While the president has every right to [fire Mueller] he has no intention to do so".
It goes on to tell RNC members to say: "If this leaked account is true, it means the special counsel has struck out on trying to prove collusion and is shifting to obstruction in an effort to save face".
In recent days, it has been said that Trump considered firing Mueller but was talked out of it by aides.
SHAPIRO: Is it your understanding that the dismissal of FBI Director Comey could have been what triggered this expansion of the investigation into possible obstruction of justice?
SHAPIRO: Just briefly, if the special counsel concludes the president did obstruct justice, could charges be brought against him?
"I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate", Rogers said.