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Trump attorney says president not under investigation in Russia probe

19 June 2017

Benjamin Wittes, who runs the Lawfare blog and is known to be a friend of James Comey, said in a new interview that President Trump's private dinner with the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director amounted to "grotesque impropriety".

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow insisted on Sunday's Meet the Press that "the president is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction [of justice]", and that the reason he tweeted otherwise was not because he knew he was under investigation, as one might expect a president would, but because he had read a news report saying that he was.

"If President Trump were to try to replicate [former President Richard] Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in addition to Mueller, Congress must unite to stop him - without respect to party, and for the sake of the nation", he said.

Again, Sekulow left out some key points, which Wallace and others were only too happy to raise: Trump later told NBC's Lester Holt that he had already made up his mind to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation from Sessions and that he was firing him because he was unhappy with the Russian Federation investigation.

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That being said, Barak Cohen, a former Justice Department lawyer, said there was no requirement that the special counsel notifies the president was under investigation.

Trump's personal lawyer, however, made it clear that the legal team is not sure for certain regarding the ongoing investigation against him. Based in part on the people he is hiring to assist in the probe, some wonder whether he may lean toward a less-than-objective investigation, at the president's expense.

Referring to an instantly infamous tweet the president sent days ago in which he said he was "being investigated", Sekulow added, "The tweet from the president was in response to the five anonymous sources purportedly leaking information to the Washington Post". We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the United States. "No", Sekulow said, "The context of the tweet, I just gave you the legal theory, Chris, of how the Constitution works".

Rubio sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe into Russian election meddling.

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Friday is the deadline set by the House Intelligence Committee for the White House to produce "any White House recordings or memoranda of Comey's conversations with President Trump (that) now exist or have in the past". "They are essentially engaging in a scorched earth litigation strategy that is beginning with trying to discredit the prosecutor", Schiff said on ABC.

The president suggested on Twitter that he may have taped those conversations.

Eliot Cohen (Republican), U.S. Department of State counselor to George W. Bush, noted that if Trump's highly classified and sensitive ISIS intelligence information sharing with untrustworthy Russian Federation "was deliberate, it would be treason", an impeachable offense. Schiff said if the panel can't get an answer then he believes a subpoena will be needed.

President Trump told his followers everything was "very well" despite the "witch hunt". This is a very complex matter, involving thousands of pages of intelligence documents, lots of witnesses. Rubio spoke on NBC, CNN and CBS. He further acknowledged that he could not be certain that the report by Post was false.

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Be proactive - Use the "Flag as Inappropriate" link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro (L) in New York, September 29, 2015.