Donald Trump blasts 'phony' obstruction of justice media report
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 23:07
The FBI probe, now in the hands of special prosecutor Robert Mueller, shifted its focus to allegations of obstruction in the days after Trump fired the agency's former director James Comey on May 9, the Washington Post said.
Comey told Congress last week that before being sacked, Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into his former national security advisor, Mike Flynn, who was forced to quit for lying about his links to Moscow.
Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Richard Ledgett, till recently Rogers's deputy, are among those who have agreed to be interviewed by Mueller's team, according to USA media outlets, and all of them have committed to cooperate.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, released a statement in response to the Post story condemning the outflow of information about the investigation. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican and committee chairman, said in a.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested interviews from three current and former intelligence officials, a former senior intelligence official familiar with the discussions confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.
During later testimony before the Senate Intelligence Commitee, Comey called the president a liar, said Trump had tried to cultivate a "patronage" relationship with him, and pressured the Federal Bureau of Investigation director to shut down parts of the inquiry tied to Flynn. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy and it's unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.
The committee leaders said in a statement that they "look forward to future engagements" with Mr Mueller.
Mueller had cleared Comey to testify last week. When asked about a letter he wrote recommending firing Comey, Rosenstein said that Mueller could be looking into the decision-making process for the firing - and he was therefore "not at liberty to talk about that now".
Trump responded to reports he is personally being investigated for obstruction of justice with a characteristic scorched earth defense: claiming mistreatment of historic proportions and calling into question the probity of his accusers.
Ditching derogatory rhetoric about the Washington "swamp", Trump rallied in support of his fellow politicians and called on the country to pull together.
News that Mueller is now investigating Trump for obstruction of justice comes amid reports that Trump has discussed whether to remove the special counsel.
"I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense", Comey testified last week.
Earlier this month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told The Associated Press he would recuse himself from overseeing Mueller's investigation if his role in Comey's firing becomes relevant to the inquiry.