Mr Robert Mueller, the special counsel named by the department to investigate the Russian Federation matter, is now examining whether Mr Trump or others sought to obstruct the probe, a person familiar with the inquiry said on Thursday.
When Mueller, a former FBI director, was first appointed to the role by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, conservatives cheered the decision, saying he would conduct a fair investigation into alleged Russian election interference or go after Trump’s enemies. “Witch Hunt”, Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump is facing “obstruction of justice” charges after abruptly firing Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey who claimed before a Senate Committee last week that Trump pressured him to close investigations into Russian Federation election meddling.
“Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel”.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was “increasingly concerned” that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein. The order also covers separate inquiries into several key Trump associates including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign adviser Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone.
Harvard law professor Noah Feldman argues in a Bloomberg View article that Trump’s tweet could force Rosenstein’s recusal because of his suggestion that Comey’s firing was Rosenstein’s idea. Pence has hired Richard Cullen, a lawyer known for defending government officials in high-profile investigations, his office said on Thursday.
The officials who described the financial focus of the investigation spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Pence’s decision to hire Richard Cullen, a former USA attorney, came less than a month after Trump hired his own private lawyer.
At a previously scheduled off-camera briefing for reporters, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy White House press secretary, was peppered with more than a dozen questions about ongoing investigations.
Comey took notes after each of his nine meetings or phone calls with Trump, including one alone with the president in the Oval Office on February 14, the day after Flynn was forced to resign.
“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.