Donald Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to halt Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, ramping up his attacks on the probe as the president’s former campaign chairman goes on trial for unrelated criminal charges.
“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump said Wednesday in a Twitter posting. ” Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump ..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!
Sessions, who has recused himself from supervising the Mueller investigation, didn’t immediately respond to the president’s tweet. Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, declined to comment.
Trump’s tweet was immediately condemned by some Democratic lawmakers as a blatant attempt to obstruct justice.
“The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated,” Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter. “This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it.”
The president’s message was part of a series of tweets attacking Mueller on the first full day of testimony in Manafort’s tax and bank-fraud trial amid other signs Mueller’s investigation is drawing closer to Trump. Prosecutors are expected to detail Manafort’s lucrative business relationship with Russia-friendly leaders in Ukraine.
It also followed a CNN report last week that the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is prepared to testify that Trump knew in advance about a notorious 2016 meeting between top campaign officials, including his son Donald Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Russians who were said to be promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. The president denied the claim in a tweet.
Sessions, an early Trump backer, recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 as controversy grew over his conversations during the presidential campaign with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. That probe has since swept up officials in Trump’s campaign and his family members.
Trump said last summer he would have chosen a different attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself from supervising the investigation of election interference. Trump has periodically launched barrages of public attacks on Sessions related to the special counsel’s investigation.
Mueller’s team included Trump’s past public attacks on Sessions in a list of topics they would like to cover in questioning the president, suggesting that the special counsel is examining whether they were intended to influence the investigation and possibly obstruct justice.