Donald Trump Is Under Investigation for Obstruction of Justice
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 22:10
Trump was responding to a Washington Post report that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the Department of Justice Russia investigation, is looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
The paper did not indicate their sources, but Marc Corallo, spokesman for Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz, shot back, "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".
The nation's top intelligence official told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russian Federation probe, according to officials.
In a testament to how far Republicans have gone to lower the bar for Trump, the same party captained by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to be Russia-wary is silent on the prospect that Donald Trump and his associates have unusually close ties to the former Soviet Union.
Rosenstein was testifying hours ahead of a separate Senate appearance by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was expected to face sharp questions from his former colleagues about his role in Comey's firing, his Russian contacts during the campaign and his decision to step aside from the investigation involving Moscow and the Trump campaign.
The Judiciary Committee has oversight of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Officially, Mueller spokesman Peter Carr told NPR's Carrie Johnson, "We'll decline to comment".
Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Asked whether Trump's actions rose to the level of obstruction of justice, Comey testified last week: "I don't know".
Comey's testimony comes only a day after two Trump Administration intelligence officials, Director National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Advisor Michael Rogers, refused to answer questions regarding conversations they had with President Trump, about the Russian Federation investigation during a separate hearing before the Select Intelligence Committee on June 7. But Comey did lay out facts that a prosecutor could use to try to prove obstruction.
Comey gave a stunning and blunt account of his interactions with President Trump, between January 9 and April 11, 2017.
Reports that Trump was considering firing Mueller surfaced last week, again citing unnamed sources. After a day of speculation, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so".
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, hinted broadly that the special counsel investigation could be looking at Trump during a House committee hearing on Tuesday.
"The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI", it said.
Mueller's investigative team has expanded in recent weeks.
While a sitting president is unlikely to face criminal prosecution, obstruction of justice could form the basis for impeachment.
Justice Department policy is that a sitting president can not be indicted by a grand jury, the Post also reported Wednesday.