VP Pence hires personal lawyer to respond to Russian Federation probe: aide

VP Pence hires personal lawyer to respond to Russian Federation probe: aide

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the special-counsel probe is investigating the president's decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey - a decision in which Rosenstein played a key role, meaning he could be considered a witness.

Friday's tweets are the latest in a week of angry social media responses by the president over a report by The Washington Post that Mueller was looking into whether Trump obstructed justice.

Lawmakers and others have raised questions about whether it is appropriate for Rosenstein to oversee the special-counsel probe as it now explores whether the president obstructed justice.

The widened Russian Federation probe could have far-reaching repercussions for Trump's presidency, transforming his closest aides into witnesses and sucking yet more political oxygen out of the West Wing.

In a series of statements on Twitter Thursday, Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign a "WITCH HUNT" based on the "phony" premise of possible collusion between Russia and a cadre of Trump campaign associates. Comey deemed that would wrong and refused to do it. Trump then fired Comey.

It also fits with a broader pattern of White House aides and officials seeking to discredit the mainstream media, which Trump has continually dismissed as biased and misleading "fake news".

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow interfered in last year's presidential campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor.

The tweet came around 9:10 a.m. Friday. Trump had viewed Sessions' recusal as unnecessary, even though Justice Department regulations made it nearly impossible to avoid.

Meanwhile, the President himself continues to attack the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling. "Witch Hunt", he wrote.

Comey testified it would be up to Mueller to decide whether Trump's action amounted to obstruction of justice, an act that could be cited in any effort in the Republican-led Congress to impeach him and remove him from office.

Rosenstein took command of the investigation in early March, when Sessions announced that he was recusing himself due to his substantial role in Trump's presidential campaign past year.

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

The president has long vehemently denied any collusion with Moscow, either by himself or his associates. Rosenstein's attempt to discredit news outlets for using anonymous sources is an indictment of the White House, too: the government relies on anonymous sourcing when it's trying to control its narrative or push a story to a news outlet. He also has millions of followers on his official Facebook pages.

Trump, however, referred to the Post's reporting as a "phony" story in a tweet Thursday.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's legal team, denounced the Post report, saying on Wednesday: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

In another tweet earlier Friday, Trump writes, "After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my 'collusion with the Russians, ' nobody has been able to show any proof".

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