The special counsel in charge of investigating possible Russia interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign has widened its scope of possible obstruction of justice to President Donald Trump, according to officials who spoke with the Washington Post.
“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,” Trump said on Twitter Thursday, one day after it was reported that special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. Trump’s tweet, notably, did not dispute the existence of an investigation.
That investigation began shortly after May 9, when then-FBI director James Comey was fired. The U.S. Department of Justice hired Robert Mueller as special counsel on May 17.
The president has yet to directly address the reported investigation despite repeated questions from reporters as he signed an executive order on the economy on Thursday.
A look by ThinkProgress reporters into the president’s public statements, White House press statements, and statements made by surrogates reveals that the White House has repeatedly denied being under investigation as the investigation was ongoing.
June 7, 2017: Conway tweets that Trump ‘was right’ and ‘not under investigation’
June 8, 2017: Trump’s personal lawyer says ‘the president was not under investigation’
Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer, said Comey’s testimony vindicated that Trump wasn’t under investigation by the FBI.
“Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately: That is, that the president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference,” Kasowitz said.
June 9, 2017: President Trump says he had ‘total and complete vindication’
When pressed by a reporter during a state visit with President Iohannis of Romania about his tweet earlier in the day, Trump claimed that there was “no collusion, no obstruction.”
“But in the meantime, no collusion, no obstruction. He’s a leaker,’ Trump said at a press conference referencing Comey, before pivoting to trade deficits and other geographic regions that could pose a problem to the United States.
“But yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction,” Trump added. “We are doing really well. That was an excuse by the Democrats who lost an election that some people think they shouldn’t have lost, because it’s almost impossible for the Democrats to lose the Electoral College, as you know.”
“So it was just an excuse,” Trump continued. “But we were very, very happy. And frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said. And some of the things that he said just weren’t true.”
Trump also retweeted law professor Alan Dershowitz, who has called for a halt to conversations about obstruction of justice because there was “no plausible case.”
We should stop talking about obstruction of justice. No plausible case. We must distinguish crimes from pol sins https://t.co/Us4QKJB55M
— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) June 9, 2017
Special counsel Mueller apparently disagrees and is actively investigating.