Trump Responds to Obstruction of Justice Investigation

Trump was strongly critical of some of Comey's testimony but said Comey had vindicated him by saying while he was at the agency, Trump was not the subject of the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

It was unclear if Trump was referencing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Two months later, at Trump's urging, Rosenstein wrote a letter to the president detailing his belief that Comey should be fired. Thursday night, Rosenstein issued an unusual statement complaining about leaks in the case.

Trump, who celebrated his 71st birthday Wednesday, refrained from commenting until Thursday morning. But then Rosenstein made the surprise move to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the Russian Federation investigation, a development that people close to Sessions and Trump believe has worsened matters for everyone involved.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was "increasingly concerned" that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein.

If Trump ordered Brand to fire Mueller and she refused, the responsibility to oversee the special counsel would fall to Dana Boente, the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, according to a presidential executive order.

"That's undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president's oath of office".

Comey prepared multiple contemporaneous memos documenting conversations with Trump that made him uneasy in the weeks before his May 9 firing.

Trump sent more tweets early Friday morning attacking the investigation as "phony".

"Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations", Rosenstein said.

Officials familiar with the matter describe friction on the Justice Department's fourth and fifth floors, home to the suite of offices belonging to the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, respectively, in part because of Rosenstein's handling of the Russian Federation matter. Another official disputed that Rosenstein pushed for Sessions' recusal.

A close Trump associate said this week the president was considering firing Mueller, although the White House later denied it.

Mr. Sessions' testimony did not provide any new information on Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation or on Mr. Comey's dismissal, but his refusal to discuss conversations with President Trump raised new questions about whether the White House has something to hide.

It comes a day after a new report indicated that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice.

One source said Rosenstein has yet to formally ask career attorneys inside the Justice Department for their opinion on whether he should recuse himself. Trump fired Comey in May.

Earlier this month, Rosenstein told The Associated Press that "if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation then, as Director Mueller and I discussed, if there's a need from me to recuse, I will". "I can go around them", he posted.

The transition official said the organization has also separately asked the General Services Administration to preserve records from the Trump transition that were transferred to its facilities after the inauguration.

The White House has directed questions to outside legal counsel, which has not responded.

In a sign of the newfound seriousness of Mueller's investigation, Vice President Mike Pence's office confirmed that he has hired an attorney to deal with the special counsel investigation. In keeping with a new practice, she referred one question after another to Mr Trump's personal lawyer.

Mr Cohen has worked for Mr Trump since the mid-2000s and was active in the campaign. He has already been subpoenaed by the House intelligence committee.



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