Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

President Donald Trump attacks Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible obstruction as witchhunt


An hour after the "nice" tweet, Trump continued to reiterate his stance that the investigation was a farce, tweeting again that it was a "witch hunt".

That report makes clear that three senior intelligence officers - Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and and former NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett - are being interviewed this week by special counsel Bob Mueller as he looks into whether Trump obstructed justice in the Russian Federation case.

Quoting officials, the newspaper said one event of interest to Mueller is an exchange on March 22, when Coats told associates that Trump had asked him to intervene with Comey to get him to back off the focus on Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of the Russian Federation affair.

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.

Several congressional panels are also investigating the Russian Federation issue, which has cast a shadow over the early months of Trump's presidency.

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 Mr Mueller "to sort that out".

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The story cites five officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

That isn't true anymore, according to reporting by The Washington Post on Wednesday night.

Trump appeared unbowed by the new revelations.

The Times report corroborates a separate bombshell Washington Post article, published Wednesday, that said in addition to possible obstruction, investigators are also "looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates". Any such step would face a steep hurdle as it would require approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify in open session before the House intelligence committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in last year's election campaign.

The White House has denied any collusion, and Trump has repeatedly complained about the probe, saying Democrats can not accept his election win.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel shortly after Comey's firing.

The case for obstruction of justice isn't Comey versus Trump. "It is in everybody's best interests if we let him do his job". The Post said both men refused the president's request.

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.

Comey said he believed Mueller would look into Trump for obstruction of justice.

After Comey's firing, the administration gave differing reasons for his dismissal. Last week, Comey testified in a Senate hearing that he believed he was sacked "because of the Russian Federation investigation".

"The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal", a spokesman for Mr Trump's legal team, Mark Corallo, said.

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The Special Counsel's office declined to comment.

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