Trump dismisses obstruction of justice probe as 'phony story'

Reports say Mueller probe now examining possible obstruction

Reports say Mueller probe now examining possible obstruction

Although USA Today also noted that the tweet came shortly after a Washington Post report that Mueller's team is also investigating Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner's business dealings.

US President Trump had received private assurances from sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey that he was not being personally investigated for alleged Russian interference into the US election. The president also addressed media ridicule of his Twitter habits.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The special counsel overseeing the probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the USA election is looking at whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed officials. In a March 22 meeting, Trump reportedly asked whether Coats could ask Comey to back off the FBI's focus on Flynn.

The tweet represented a remarkable show of frustration by a serving President, who is making no secret of his emotions as an investigation that started out as an effort to understand Russian meddling in the election appears to be moving ever closer towards his inner circle and narrowing in on his own conduct. Rosenstein in a memo to Trump raised concerns over FBI Director James Comey.

Rosenstein did not explain why he issued the statement. But Comey's comments were referring to conversations he had with the president before he was sacked, and before Mr. Trump made remarks including that he was thinking of the "made-up" story about ties to Russian Federation when he fired Comey.

Recently, Comey made a startling revelation, accusing the White House of "lies".

Yet Trump's angry tweets on Friday underscored the near-impossible challenge his advisers and legal team have in trying to get him to avoid weighing in on an active probe.

The president vehemently denies any collusion between himself or any of his associates and Russian Federation.

The law enforcement investigation led by Mueller now has three known prongs, after The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that Mueller will interview senior intelligence officials to help determine whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. "The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations", Rosenstein's full statement read.

The department would not comment on the record on whether Trump, who has repeatedly complained about leaks on the case, requested the statement. The same official said Rosenstein was upset about disparaging stories that may deter people from working in government. The official demanded anonymity because the official was not authorized to be named discussing the deliberations.

Aides said that the President had made a decision to take matters into his own hands and believed he was his own best defender in the escalating crisis surrounding the White House.

Mueller took over the DOJ Russia probe after a chain of events set in motion by Trump, Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It's possible that Rosenstein ordered the obstruction probe before Mueller's appointment in May.

Trump's Friday tweet was his first acknowledgement of the official obstruction probe. An official of Trump's transition confirmed the lawyer's internal order, which was sent Thursday.

That memo was delivered to Trump the same day he fired Comey. A spokesman for Trump's personal attorney had strong words in response to the news. Cohen has worked for Trump since the mid-2000s and was active in the campaign.

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