Trump appears to confirm obstruction investigation, attack Rosenstein in morning tweet rant

Frederick Owens
June 19, 2017

It was not clear whether the president was basing his tweet on direct knowledge, or on reports this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether he obstructed justice by firing Mr Comey last month amid the Russian Federation investigation. Trump had previously boasted that he was not personally under investigation, and Comey said the president had repeatedly pressured him to publicly clear him.

Rosenstein's statement started a whole new round of speculation as people attempted to divine its meaning and its timing and its objective, whether or not it was meant to discredit some particular story, all stories generally or some future story yet to be published.

Trump has furiously railed against leaks coming out of his administration and the intelligence community since he took office. He's increasingly focused his anger at both Rosenstein and Mueller, according to advisers and confidants, viewing the two as part of a biased effort to undermine his presidency.

ABC said Rosenstein told Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand that she would have to assume those responsibilities if he disqualified himself from the investigation.

According to Comey, Trump was referring to the FBI's investigation into Mike Flynn, who was sacked himself as national security adviser months earlier for allegedly lying to White House officials about his post-election contacts with Russian operatives.

'Obsession': Trump's tweets come as Politico weighs in with another story saying that Trump aides are anxious that the president's "obsession" with the Russian investigation is consuming his presidency.

Late Thursday night, he issued what many online are calling a "bizarre" statement, condemning recent reports. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller on May 17 as special counsel to head the inquiry into the Russian Federation matter. Trump fired Comey on May 9.

Mr Trump is an avid user of Twitter, with more than 32 million followers on his personal account and over 18 million on the official presidential account.

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Moscow has denied any interference.

Several White House officials and Trump associates insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the president's views of the unfolding investigation.

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top Justice Department official overseeing the special counsel's probe into alleged Russian meddling in last year's presidential election, has told officials that he might have to recuse himself from the investigation, according to a report from ABC News.

"After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my "collusion with the Russians", nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!" he wrote in one post.

Pence hired Richard Cullen, chairman of law firm McGuireWoods, to help him respond to inquiries from Mueller, a spokesman said.

President Trump can fire Mueller, which his friend Chris Ruddy floated was a possibility on PBS Monday.

The memo to former transition team members on Thursday also seeks specific information on five people, the Times reported. The order also wants background records on former campaign manager Paul Manafort; his business partner Rick Gates; former foreign policy adviser Carter Page; former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone.

Flynn, who was forced out in February, is a subject in investigations by intelligence committees in the House and Senate, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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