The “Post” reported last week that Robert Mueller – the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election – was looking into whether Mr Trump obstructed justice.
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. The statement seemed to represent a not-so-subtle shot at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but it also seemed to confirm the underlying story.
Sekulow responded that Trump’s firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey does not amount to obstruction of justice, before sparring with Cuomo over leaks to the press. In this case, from everything Comey said in his testimony and everything the Post reported, we can believe Trump and not his hired gun: The president of the United States is under criminal investigation for possible obstruction of justice.
Spicer also provided little guidance about whether Trump has Oval Office recordings of his conversations with Comey – a possibility that Trump had raised in a tweet last month.
Rep. Adam Schiff says he wants the White House to acknowledge the tapes or make clear there are no tapes and “it was an idle threat”. He then seriously compromised his professional ethics and broke the law by leaking those notes to the New York Times, in order to draw attention to pressure that the President supposedly placed on him to drop the investigation into General Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor. Couldn’t you be under investigation and they’ve just not let you know yet?
“If you can prove that there was something there and the president knew about it, then the obstruction case looks far stronger”, said Washington attorney Justin Dillon. The White House initially pointed to that memo and another written by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to justify the firing, before Trump admitted in a network television interview that his decision actually was motivated by Comey’s oversight of the “Russia thing”.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer who is part of a team hired by Trump to deal with allegations of collusion by his campaign with Moscow, made the rounds on Sunday talk shows to cast doubt on media reports citing unnamed sources – and to add nuance to a straightforward claim Trump made on Friday that he was under investigation.
The other rumor that’s been going around is that the president is not happy with special counsel Robert Mueller and was – at one point anyway – on the brink of firing him, on the ground that he’s biased. “The president is not a subject or target of an investigation”. Instead of focusing on Mueller’s friendship with Comey, Professor Turley defends the special counsel’s integrity, but questions whether he himself ever discussed Comey’s firing with the President.
With Twitter, “the president has an ability to communicate with a broad sloth of people of 107 million”, said Sekulow.
Meanwhile, Sekulow said Mueller does have a “sterling reputation in Washington D.C.”, and if there are conflicts with people he’s named to his staff, that will be addressed.
At the president’s urging, he has been on the offensive, casting doubt on Comey’s character and raising questions about whether the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director inappropriately disclosed sensitive material.
The committee sent a bipartisan letter this month to White House counsel Don McGahn seeking an answer by Friday.
The two leaders of the panel have both been frustrated that key witnesses have testified before the Senate intelligence committee – rather than their panel – and both have warned that Comey in particular could face a subpoena if he does not agree to testify before Judiciary.