Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Democrats say Trump’s Mueller tweets were obstruction of justice

Democrats say Trump’s Mueller tweets were obstruction of justice

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicated this week that he is willing to reduce the number of questions his investigators would pose to President Donald Trump in an interview, renewing negotiations with Trump's lawyers about a presidential sit-down after an extended standoff, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

Amid the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Trump's personal attorneys also sought to walk back the comment, insisting the president was not ordering Sessions to do anything. Manafort is facing charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, though his alleged crimes occurred before he was involved with the Trump campaign.

The most inflammatory of Trump's tweets said, "This is a awful situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further".

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian pop star and former son-in-law of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, a lawyer for Agalarov says, according to RFE/RL. "Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to U.S.!" he wrote. Though long antagonistic toward the press, Trump's anger toward the media has only grown over the past month, as he has berated coverage of his Singapore and Helsinki summits, the possible prosecutorial cooperation of his former legal "fixer" Michael Cohen and the Mueller probe. It would be an arrangement created to shield Trump from providing any evidence of obstruction, and also wipe out several areas of potential perjury when Trump inevitably lied about his conversation with Comey, Flynn, and others.

The pushback from the Trump camp revived the debate over whether Trump's tweets are official statements of policy and intent, or should merely be taken as some kind of ongoing conversation with the American people that has no political or legal significance.

"Just because @realDonaldTrump obstructs justice in full public view by calling on Sessions to interfere in Mueller investigation doesn't mean it's not obstruction of justice".

Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Manafort "worked for me for a very short period of time" but sought to defend his former aide's bona fides. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation.

"These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!" he said.

The former NY mayor pointed out that Trump said Sessions "should" stop the probe not that he "must" stop the probe.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, questioned whether Trump was serious about countering Russian interference.

Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Florida on Tuesday.

The president's social media outburst renewed discussion of the significance of his tweets.

Giuliani told reporters in New Hampshire on Wednesday said that Trump remains willing to be interviewed if the lawyers can agree on ground rules. Giuliani said. "We have every reason to believe they don't have anything".

Their comments during a White House briefing came after Trump publicly undermined the conclusions of US intelligence agencies regarding Russian interference.

"The only person who could fire Mueller is Rod Rosenstein, who is bound by Justice Department guidances that specify that he would have to have good cause, and it would have to be reported to Congress", Collins said.

In a Tuesday tweet immediately following the start of Manafort's trial, Trump said that charges against his former campaign manager had "nothing to do with collusion" and suggested that any attempt to establish links to Russian Federation was "a Hoax".

Similarly, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tx.) implied that Trump's tweets were because the investigation was "leading closer" to the president. It could be a much different story under a new Democratic House if the midterms go against the GOP. "There is now highly credibly evidence that the president of the United States is committing obstruction of justice in real time, right before our eyes".

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