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Special counsel reportedly investigating Trump for obstruction of justice

19 June 2017

The special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign is now examining whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening.

On Thursday Trump derided a "witch hunt" against him, led by some "very bad" people.

Trump's tweet comes less than a day after a unusual statement from a senior official in his administration.

The obstruction of justice investigation into Trump began days after Comey was sacked on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter, the Washington Post said. Any findings by the department's investigation would be referred to Congress, where lawmakers would determine whether to impeach the president.

Trump's tweet Friday morning came after a series of angry tweets Wednesday in which he also complained about a "witch hunt" and criticized the investigation into ties between his campaign and Russia as "a phony collusion with the Russians story".

President Donald Trump, in a furious Friday, June 16, 2017 morning message, confirmed that he is being investigated for his role in firing former FBI Director James Comey and seemed to accuse the deputy attorney general of overseeing a "witch hunt" against him.

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The Post reported that the obstruction of justice investigation of the president began days after James Comey was sacked as the FBI Director on May 9. The White House has used a memo he wrote to justify Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, but that Trump action may now be part of the probe. Coats and Rogers have testified that they were not pressured by the Trump administration.

Late Thursday, reports surfaced Vice President Mike Pence hired a lawyer to assist him through probes into whether there were ties between Trump's election campaign and Russian Federation.

Until now, the White House has been essentially silent on whether Trump was actually a target of a federal investigation.

Ditching derogatory rhetoric about the Washington "swamp", Trump rallied in support of his fellow politicians and called on the country to pull together.

"I am not stonewalling", Mr. Sessions replied, saying he was simply following Justice Department policy not to discuss confidential communications with the president.

"That is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let's let him do his job", former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, told ABC News.

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Allies have even floated the idea that Mueller may be fired. "The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal", he said. Trump initially used that memo along with a recommendation from Sessions to justify firing Comey.

"Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russian Federation are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?", Trump tweeted just before 4 p.m. EDT.

He followed that up 12 minutes later with a second tweet: "Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, "bleached" emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared- & they talk about obstruction?"

The news comes one day after Rosenstein affirmed his support for the special counsel, despite recent reports that Trump was weighing Mueller's dismissal.

The Post and The New York Times both reported that Mueller was seeking interviews with three Trump administration officials who weren't involved in Trump's campaign: Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director.

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