Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump under investigation for possible obstruction


US President Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reports.

The deputy attorney general, the second-highest official at the Department of Justice, is managing the Russian Federation investigation at the department following attorney general Jeff Sessions's decision to recuse himself. At the end of May, the chief of the Justice Department's Fraud Section, Andrew Weissman, also joined the team, NPR's Carrie Johnson reported at the time. "I never said I had a conversation", Ruddy said on CNN.

But both appearances, however, are being overshadowed by Sessions' public appearance at a Senate intelligence committee hearing.

"I think it would be a mistake to fire Mueller, but I also think the basis of his investigation is flim-flam", he said.

Comey said he found Trump's emptying of the room before he made the request "significant", and took the comment itself as a "direction".

Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation.

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Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Ruddy's remarks.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he will "defend the integrity" of the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the USA elections.

Ruddy last spoke to the president last week but not about Mueller, he said.

Mueller's investigative team has expanded in recent weeks.

Mr Comey would not say in his testimony last week whether he thought the president sought to obstruct justice, but added it would be up to special counsel Mueller "to sort that out".

Ruddy said the ethics behind Mueller's presence are concerning considering how he was appointed to be special counsel.

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Basing its information on several unnamed sources, the Post said Mueller's obstruction-of-justice investigation of Trump began within days of Comey's May 9 dismissal.

As attorney general, Sessions is unlikely to answer in detail questions about conversations he's had with Trump. 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 had wanted former FBI Director James Comey to publicly announce he was not personally being investigated, and after Comey didn't do so during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Trump asked Coats and Rogers separately to issue public statements denying any collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation, the Post previously reported.

Rosenstein told the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday that Mueller would have "the full degree of independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately" and that he would not follow an order to fire the special counsel "unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders".

The public testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence committee should yield Sessions' most extensive comments to date on questions that have dogged his entire tenure as attorney general and that led him three months ago to step aside from the Russian Federation probe.

Trump faces obstruction probe
Justice Department policy is that a sitting president can not be indicted by a grand jury, the Post also reported Wednesday . However, a finding of wrongdoing would likely be left to Congress to consider whether it warranted criminal impeachment.


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