Update: After going one whole day without tweeting (an increasingly rare phenomenon), President Donald Trump broke his silence to exhort his followers to check out Sean Hannity on Fox and Friends…
…Unsurprisingly, Hannity appeared on Trump’s favorite show to argue that the only evidence of collusion was between Hillary Clinton and the US.
Then, implicitly bashing the Mueller probe once again, Trump tweeted that the investigation is a “WITCH HUNT” fraught with “conflicts of interest.”
Which followed his very pointed tweet over the weekend…
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Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and his allies have stepped up their pressure on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, with Trump’s top lawyer telling reporters that the probe should be ended, and Trump tweeting that the probe “should never have been started” – eliciting an outraged response from Trump’s political opponents, including the New York Times.
Notably, Trump’s attacks followed reports former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe met with Robert Mueller and turned over memos he took regarding his interactions with the president. Later, reports said Mueller was chiefly concerned with McCabe’s account of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
And on Monday, in the latest indication that Mueller’s probe into Russia-Trump collusion is now fixated on determining whether the president obstructed justice by firing his FBI director, Axios reported that, in recent days, Mueller’s conversations with Trump’s legal team have primarily focused on Trump’s conduct since taking office – the latest suggestion that Mueller is planning some action pertaining to obstruction.
At least so far, the top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in are the firings of Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Why does this matter? Axios explains that this suggests Mueller is zeroing in on obstruction – since it’s the only lead being investigated that occurred after Trump took office. Trump famously admitted that he fired Comey because of the Russia probe – though that remark was immediately walked back.
The subject of Mueller’s questions is of paramount importance right now because the special counsel’s office is presently negotiating with Trump’s lawyers over the parameters for a possible presidential interview. As we’ve pointed out, one avenue being explored by Trump’s lawyers is whether Mueller would accept written answers – similar to the arrangement worked out for Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra investigation.
Given the sensitivity of the talks, the White House attorney Ty Cobb issued a conciliatory statement Sunday night, emphasizing that Trump isn’t debating whether to fire Mueller.
“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
Since the Russia collusion narrative petered out a long time ago, Mueller’s team has reportedly pivoted to examining Trump’s firing of Comey and whether it was tantamount to obstruction of justice (Comey himself has said under oath that he didn’t believe it rose to that level), as well as the Trump family’s business ties, including Trump’s push to build a Trump Tower Moscow.