In Tweet, Trump Turns On Rod Rosenstein Over Investigation 'Witch Hunt'

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Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., left, listen as Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the investigation into contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

"Witch Hunt", tweeted the president as he both confirmed a blockbuster Washington Post story from Wednesday and contradicted himself yet again about his decision to fire James Comey in May.

Trump and his allies have suggested Mueller's independence may be tainted because of his friendship with Comey - who admitted to Congress that he made disclosures with the intention of getting Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel - as well as his hiring of Democrats to assist in the investigation.

Published reports have indicated that Mueller is looking into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.

Hours later, a source close to Mr Trump's outside legal team said the President did not intend his tweet to be confirmation of the investigation but rather was reacting to a Washington Post story.

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At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week, Coats and Rogers refused to say whether Trump asked them to intervene in the investigation, which is also examining whether the Trump campaign team colluded with Russian Federation during last year's presidential campaign. The probe has reportedly expanded to include whether Trump fired Comey in an attempt to obstruct justice. Rosenstein, the official who would be responsible for dismissing Mueller, told US lawmakers he would fire him only with good cause.

The White House initially cited Rosenstein's memo as justification for Comey's termination, though the memo did not explicitly call for Comey to be fired. "Witch Hunt", President Trump tweeted on Friday morning. Mueller served as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the Bush and Obama administrations from 2001 to 2013.

"This is a political fight and he's going to fight it", a White House official said regarding president's Friday's tweets.

"Mr. Trump's apparent reference to Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees the Russian Federation investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from it, came just hours after an oddly worded statement from Mr. Rosenstein complaining about leaks in the case". Rosenstein told the Associated Press earlier this month that if that were to happen, he would recuse himself. "I can go around them", Trump tweeted. They are former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Gates, a national security adviser Carter Page, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and informal Trump adviser Roger Stone.

Intially, the Trump administration pointed to that memo to justify Comey's firing.

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