June 28, 2017

New York Times sues FBI to get notes of Comey-Trump talks

19 June 2017, 04:15 | Tami Weber

Trump lawyer says Trump not under investigation, despite Trump's tweet

President Donald Trump and his son Barron Trump walk to Marine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Saturday

The message was the first explicit concession by the president that Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russian Federation inquiry, had begun examining whether Trump's firing of Comey last month was an attempt to obstruct the investigation.

He said: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!"

"You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people!" he said in an early morning tweet on Thursday.

Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had written a memo castigating James Comey before Trump dismissed the Federal Bureau of Investigation director - a memo that the White House at first said was critical to the decision, before Trump suggested it was irrelevant because his mind was already made up. Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May to lead the probe. He said this week he had not found reason to do so - making the statement in the days after Trump's friends raised the possibility that the president himself was thinking of "terminating" Mueller. Based in part on the people he is hiring to assist in the probe, some wonder whether he may lean toward a less-than-objective investigation, at the president's expense.

Friday's tweets have taken other aides across the White House by surprise. However, their release preceded President Trump's own admission on Friday (June 16) that he was under investigation by Mueller for obstruction of justice (after repeated declarations that he was not under investigation by the FBI in the Russian election tampering investigation).

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. But in between that we've also had these very partisan, Trumpian (ph) tweets. In his testimony, Comey told senators that he began detailing his interactions with Trump after meeting the then-president-elect at Trump Tower.

He reiterated his claims on NBC's "Meet the Press" saying that Donald Trump "was not and had not been under investigation for obstruction".

The most important takeaway from the president's tweet, Gergen continued, "is that the president has launched a campaign to discredit the special counsel and to discredit the investigations". Rosenstein, who would be responsible for actually dismissing Mueller, told United States lawmakers he would fire him only with good cause. But Trump doesn't trust others to share his message, this person said, because they don't want to share it the way he does.

But the people briefed on the president's thinking said Trump also knows that firing Rosenstein would be politically unsafe.

"So, now to have him come in here and make basically what is a false exculpatory statement. that he was relying on Rosenstein's recommendation, that could be used against him", he said.

While he was FBI director, Comey several times assured Trump that the president wasn't personally under investigation.

During an appearance in Florida on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence said his hiring of his own lawyer to help him in the Russian Federation inquiry was a "very routine" move. "I believe that the President will be better served - I know the country will be served by that".

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