Trump Conflates 'Phony Collusion' And Possible Obstruction Of Justice Investigation

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to oversee the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, is investigating Mr Trump for possible obstruction of justice. Comey also said he had, as the president divulged, told Trump at the time that he wasn't personally the target of an investigation.

Mueller, and an investigative team, are interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of the probe, which now includes Trump's possible attempt to obstruct justice.

Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mr Mueller last month, testified Tuesday he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire Mr Mueller. Comey said during a US Senate committee last week that he told Trump that he was not under any direct investigation.

US President Donald Trump speaks by phone in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US January 29, 2017.

Trump's personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz issued a statement saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation was behind the Post story and called the leak "outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

"I know that I was sacked because something about the way I was conducting the Russian Federation investigation was putting pressure" on Trump, Comey testified. The Washington Post was first to report the news.

Trump's tweets started about 13 hours after a report that Mueller's investigation had shifted to also cover possible obstruction by the president.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, disagreed, saying the the White House and Trump should let the special counsel's investigation continue, and await vindication.

"Mueller is now clearly the tip of the deep state spear aimed at destroying or at a minimum undermining and crippling the Trump presidency", former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote on Twitter.

Entous says patience is key, because Mueller's investigation isn't going to be transparent to the public.

Obstruction of justice is defined as someone who intentionally tampers with or intervenes with an ongoing investigation.

That's critical given that Comey's sworn testimony regarding the pressure put on him by Trump to leave off an investigation into deposed national security adviser Michael Flynn runs directly counter to Trump's assertions about their conversations.

However, Democrats reserved their most vociferous show of indignation when Sessions declined to comment on questions that mentioned the words "president" and "Russians" in the same sentence.

Justice Department policy is that a sitting president can not be indicted by a grand jury, the Post also reported Wednesday.

Former FBI Director James Comey confirmed during testimony that the president was not personally under investigation in the Russian Federation probe, but according to sources for the Washington Post, that changed after he was sacked.

Comey told Congress last week that he leaked his memos of his conversations Trump to a friend after a tweet by the president suggested he may have taped the conversations.

Trump punched back a day later, telling reporters Comey had lied under oath, saying: "Frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said, and some of the things that he said just weren't true".

  • Larry Hoffman