Trump Denounces Expanded Russia Inquiry As A 'witch Hunt'





President Donald Trump has reacted on twitter to reports that he is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice, declaring it to be the "single greatest witch hunt in American political history".

The Washington Post reported that the investigation would represent a significant representation of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged meddling by Russia in last year's presidential election, and any collusion with the Trump campaign.

It cites reports senior intelligence officials have agreed to be interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel.

Mr Trump responded via his twitter account saying "they" found "zero proof" about collusion "so now they go for obstruction of justice" and calling it a witch hunt led by "bad and conflicted people!"

The Post quoted five people briefed on the requests and said those who have agreed to be interviewed are Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and his recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett.

The paper, citing unnamed officials, says the interviews could come as early as this week.

Former FBI director James Comey told Congress last week that he believed he was fired by President Trump to undermine the agency's ongoing Russia probe.

Mr Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department after Mr Comey's sacking.

The shift toward investigating the president began days after Mr Trump fired Mr Comey on 9 May, the Post said.

The Washington Post story prompted a furious reaction from Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, who issued a statement saying the FBI was behind the story.

He called the leak "outrageous, inexcusable and illegal" - but he did not deny the story.

Mr Mueller, himself a widely respected former head of the FBI, has now taken up the angle of possible efforts by Mr Trump to obstruct justice in the investigation, the Post said.

Quoting officials, the newspaper said one event of interest to Mr Mueller is an exchange on 22 March, when Mr Coats told associates that Mr Trump had asked him to intervene with Mr Comey to get him to back off the focus on Trump's former national security adviser Mike Flynn as part of the FBI probe of the Russia affair.

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

The Post said both men refused the president's request.

Mr Mueller briefed Senators yesterday on his work.

"I'm going to acknowledge we had a meeting with the special counsel Mueller, but I'm not going to get into the contents," Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters later.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the accusation in the Post unfounded and said it "changes nothing."

"There's still no evidence of obstruction, and current and former leaders in the intelligence community have repeatedly said there's been no effort to impede the investigation in any way. The continued illegal leaks are the only crime here," Ms McDaniel said in a statement.

Source : https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0615/882881-trump_obstruction/

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