Friday, 20 October, 2017

Trump appears to confirm he is under investigation

Craig Ferguson | 19 June, 2017, 05:15

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has privately indicated that he may need to recuse himself from the probe into Russia's influence on the 2016 U.S. election, which would make him the second top tier law enforcement official to do so.

Reports in USA media said senior intelligence officials would be interviewed on whether Mr Trump tried to end an inquiry into his sacked National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and about the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey. For two days after Trump fired Comey, in a televised interview Trump said he was thinking of the Russian probe when he fired Comey, which seems to mean he fired Comey because Comey would not end the Russian probe. The Post cited anonymous US officials familiar with the matter.

Earlier, US media reported that Donald Trump was being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice. That is what the White House said and the Attorney General Jeff Sessions implied in testimony earlier this week. The order by the general counsel for his transition team casts a wide net on documents that could shed light on ties between Trump's presidential campaign and representatives of Russia's government.

Mr Trump also repeatedly tried to convince Mr Comey to publicly state that he was not being personally investigated in the Russian Federation probe, which he declined to do. "Witch Hunt", the President tweeted.

The President tweeted Friday that he was under "investigation", which he called a "witch hunt" in another tweet. In the interview Trump did with NBC's Lester Holt shortly after firing FBI Director James Comey, Trump described Rosenstein's involvement in the firing.

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Read: Is Jared Kushner Becoming The Center Of Russia Investigation?

That would leave supervision of the Mueller probe to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, a a Harvard law graduate who clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and ran the Office of Legal Policy at the Justice Department.

If Rosenstein recuses himself, Brand, a Trump appointee, would become the top Justice official overseeing Mueller's work. The tweets were clear signs of the president's frustration and anger over the revelation, published on Wednesday evening in The Washington Post, about the investigation by Mueller, who is heading an independent probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Rosenstein's unusual statement, which he issued over the objections of some advisers, said in part: "Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials'".

"The special counsel's office has undertaken stringent controls to prohibit unauthorized disclosures that deal severely with any member who engages in this conduct", spokesman Peter Carr said.

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