Mueller offers to limit investigators' questions for Trump

03 August, 2018, 22:14 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Trump calls Manafort prosecution ‘a hoax,’ says Sessions should stop Mueller investigation

President Donald Trump appealed to Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to end an investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election, drawing a rebuke from his fellow Republicans in Congress who said the probe must go on.

Earlier on Thursday, key members of Trump's national security team had appeared in the White House briefing room to warn that Russian Federation was continuing its efforts to interfere in the United States political system, saying Trump had directed them to make countering election interference a top priority.

"Had Trump directed a recused AG to terminate an investigation into his conduct and the conduct of those around him in private, we would nearly surely deem it a criminal act", says Joyce White Vance, a former federal prosecutor.

"We're in the process of responding to their proposal", Mr. Trump's lead lawyer for the investigation, Rudy Giuliani, told reporters after an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Wednesday.

Trump critics said they read the tweet as pointed interference in the Mueller investigation.

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Trump said Sessions should stop the Mueller probe, which he again labelled as "Rigged Witch Hunt". "Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to U.S.!" he wrote. "People in New Mexico and across the country are exhausted of ultra-rich and powerful people like Donald Trump trying to abuse their power to protect themselves", he wrote on Twitter.

The White House denied that Trump was actually directing his attorney general to end the "ridiculous" investigation.

Trump has steadily attacked his attorney general for recusing himself from the Russian Federation probe in March 2017. So he is unlikely to act.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment about Trump's call for Sessions to end the investigation.

But Democrats on Wednesday blasted the president's statement as an example of obstruction of justice.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said after Trump's tweet, "It's clear to me he's very anxious about it and he wants to prevent it any way he can". "America must never accept it".

"Their attempt to claim obstruction by tweet is really a freakish and novel theory", he said.

Of the call to stop the trial, Ms Sanders said: "It's not an order. The president is stating his opinion, he's stating it clearly, and he's certainly expressing the frustration that he has with the level of corruption that we've seen from people like Jim Comey, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe", Sanders said. "There is no reason he shouldn't be able to voice that opinion".

The president has defended his former campaign chairman whilst also seeking distance himself from him, he said: "He worked for me for a very short time". Former White House counsel Norman Eisen tells me that while "this is not a formal legal order through official channels, it is much more than a mere opinion".

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called Trump's demand of Sessions "outlandish" and called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow for a vote on legislation to protect Mueller's investigation.

Several pundits and legal experts have reported that anyone found collaborating with Russian Federation during the 2016 election could be charged with other crimes, including conspiracy.


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