Trump attorney: President not 'under investigation for obstruction'

Frederick Owens
June 19, 2017

One of Donald Trump's lawyers insisted Sunday that the president was not under criminal investigation as part of the sweeping probe into Russia's alleged meddling in American elections, despite the U.S. leader's tweets angrily calling the whole saga a "distraction".

"Let me be clear here", said Sekulow, a member of the president's legal team, on NBC's Meet The Press.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace grilled an attorney for President Donald Trump over the Russian Federation investigation and the president's seeming acknowledgement that he was under investigation for potential obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.

The Post on Wednesday reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election now includes looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. "But the president, as James Comey said in his testimony and as we know as of today, the president has not been and is not under investigation".

"Witch hunt' is how Trump characterizes the probe into Russia's election interference and possible ties to his campaign associates".

Mueller is also looking at whether, if any potential offences were committed, Trump or others attempted to cover them up or obstruct the investigation into them, said one USA official on Thursday who was familiar with the rough outlines of the probe and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Sekulow has publicly criticized Comey, whom Trump fired.

"He's being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the termination", Sekulow said.

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Sekulow said he respects the attorney-client privilege, unlike former FBI Director James Comey. Host Jake Tapper pressed him on contradicting Trump's tweet, noting that people consider those to be official statements.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally, said the tweet has not helped clear the air around the Russian Federation probe.

The committee sent a bipartisan letter this month to White House counsel Don McGahn seeking an answer by this Friday. Schiff said if the panel can't get an answer then he believes a subpoena will be needed. "But he's not yet made that momentous decision to go for a full-scale investigation".

The US Congress is investigating the relations between Trump's team and Moscow, however, no evidence on alleged Kremlin's influence on the election has been provided so far. Angus King, an independent from ME, stressed that the probe will likely last for a long time.

"Sir, you've just said two times that he's being investigated", Wallace said.

Sekulow added that Trump is "very effective" with his use of social media.

Information for this article was contributed by Catherine Lucey and Hope Yen of The Associated Press; by John Wagner and Rosalind S. Helderman of The Washington Post; and by Mark Niquette, Ros Krasny, Jeanna Smialek, David McLaughlin and Ben Brody of Bloomberg News.

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