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Trump lashes out at reports of 'obstruction of justice'

19 June 2017

Reports emerged this week that the government's probe of last year's election has expanded to included possible obstruction of justice in the wake of Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the agency's investigation.

Last week, Mr. Comey told the Senate committee that President Trump had fired him to undermine the FBI's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.

President Donald Trump is touting his social media following, saying he can deliver his message directly to voters instead of going through the "fake news media".

Trump has called The Washington Post report a "phony story" and a "WITCH HUNT".

Mueller continues to hire a team of lawyers, and with FBI investigators is gathering information that is widely expected to lead to a formal investigation into whether President Trump attempted to interfere in the investigation.

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Sen. Angus King, an independent, questioned Mr. Sessions' legal basis for refusing to answer questions after Mr. Sessions said President Trump had not invoked executive privilege regarding the conversations. It was not known whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the source of the information. The statement followed several stories in the past few days in The Washington Post and New York Times which quoted unnamed sources speaking about the probe.

The deputy attorney general later appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.

A few days after the March 22 meeting, Trump spoke separately with Coats and Rogers and asked them to issue public statements to the effect that there was no evidence of coordination between his campaign and Russian Federation.

North Carolina Republican Richard Burr and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner aren't providing any other details regarding the meeting. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

Trump's tweet read "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!"

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Tensions are building inside the Justice Department as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein contemplates whether he will become a witness in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA elections.

Also Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley said his panel will investigate the removal of former FBI Director James Comey and "any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations".

Grassley announced the investigation in a letter to California Sen. "However, nothing has changed", said Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman.

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".

"You and I agree that the American people deserve a full accounting of attempts to meddle in both our democratic processes and the impartial administration of justice. It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey's removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis", according to the letter.

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