The complex issues of the Russia probe, special counsel

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate

President Donald Trump's transition team has been ordered to preserve materials related to ongoing investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election, the New York Times reported on Friday, as Trump again assailed the probes.

Representative Adam Schiff has said Trump and his legal team seem determined to "take down" Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The story cited "U.S. officials familiar with the matter".

US President Donald Trump has responded to reports he was being investigated for obstruction of justice by launching a scathing attack on Hillary Clinton.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump called the probe a "witch hunt" on Twitter.

Moscow has denied any interference and the White House has denied any collusion. They have tried to highlight the positive reviews he received Wednesday when he made a statesman-like appearance in the White House to address the nation after Rep. Steve Scalise was shot during a congressional baseball practice.

Mr Trump also acknowledged for the first time, via Twitter, that he is under investigation for potentially obstructing justice, a charge that could give grounds for impeachment.

Trump kept up his criticism of the investigations in a series of tweets on Friday. Comey testified that Trump directed him in February to drop an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn relating to the Russian Federation matter.

Recent news reports have suggested Trump sought all three officials' help in pressuring FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. He said this week he had not found reason to do so — making the statement in the days after Trump's friends raised the possibility that the president himself was thinking of "terminating" Mueller.

However, Senator Marco Rubio told CNN he does not think Mueller will be fired, but acknowledge he did not think Comey would be axed either. "Sad!" he wrote in one post. "It would be standard practice for the special counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russian Federation".

"As deputy attorney general, you are more involved in policy making, but in terms of the principles of the department and how we conduct our investigations and who we prosecute, those decisions are going to be made in the same way they have always been made", he said.

Donald Trump's transition team has been asked to retain records related to five former campaign associates, including former chairman Paul Manafort.

Vice President Mike Pence's office said on Thursday he had hired a lawyer known for defending government officials in high-profile investigations to help him with the Russian Federation probes. Rosenstein also insisted Mueller's investigation would have the resources it needs.

"Failure to follow these protocols could result in criminal or civil penalties, and could form the basis of legal claims, legal presumptions, or jury instructions relating to spoliation of evidence", the memo warns former Trump transition team members.

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