Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Reports say Mueller probe now examining possible obstruction

Reports say Mueller probe now examining possible obstruction

The Washington Post, citing unidentified officials, reported on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the Republican president for possible obstruction of justice.

In a tweet early Thursday, Trump said: "They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story".

The Washington Post said the decision by Mr Mueller to investigate President Trump's own conduct is a major turning point in the investigation, which until recently focused on the Russian angle.

But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller last month, testified Tuesday he has seen no evidence of good cause to fire Mueller.

Former United States attorney Barbara McQuade, who served under the Barack Obama administration, told the Daily Beast if Trump fired Mueller "and it could be shown that his objective was to impede the investigation, it could be additional evidence of obstruction of justice". They include Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, and his former deputy director, Richard Ledget, the Post reported.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's personal lawyer, had responded Wednesday evening to the Post report by saying: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

One memo recounts a February request from Trump, during a private meeting in the Oval Office, that Comey end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

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Comey testified last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he gave a detailed account of his conversations with the president, whom he said asked him for his "loyalty" and insinuated that his job as Federal Bureau of Investigation chief might depend on providing such a pledge.

The second, the official continued, is into whether, if any potential offenses were committed, Trump or others attempted to cover them up or obstruct the investigation into them. And frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said. On Monday, a Trump friend said the president was considering dismissing Mueller though the White House later said he had no plans to do so. Dianne Feinstein, the panel's top Democrat.

It bears repeating that only Mueller and his team know the exact contours of an investigation.

The letter said the investigation would also probe Mr Comey's testimony that Loretta Lynch, as former president Barack Obama's attorney general, had directed him to describe an FBI probe into Hillary Clinton's email practices as merely a "matter" and to avoid calling it an investigation.

Separately, the House committee said former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson would appear at a June 21 public hearing on the Russian Federation probe.

"Oftentimes what happens, frankly, in counterintelligence investigations is you start looking at sort of a core intelligence question - What did the Russians do and did they do it with any Americans? - and it grows into: What did any of those Americans do in their financial matters that may also raise alarms with the FBI?"

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