Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump slams widening Mueller probe


WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Donald Trump slammed special counsel Robert Mueller's expanding probe on Thursday, calling the inquiry into whether he obstructed justice a "phony story" and "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history".

After meeting with Mueller in a classified session, the leaders of the Senate panel indicated that their inquiry would steer clear of obstruction of justice to focus instead on Russian Federation meddling in the elections - and whether there was any Trump campaign collusion with officials tied to the Kremlin.

It is unclear whether Ledgett had direct contact with Trump or other top officials about the Russian Federation probe, but he wrote an internal NSA memo documenting the president's phone call with Rogers, according to officials.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post described the decision by Mr Mueller to investigate President Trump's own conduct as a major turning point in the investigation, which until recently focused on the Russian angle.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller on May 17, testified on Tuesday that he would not fire the special counsel without "good cause".

The New York Times pointed out that neither of the men were involved in the Trump campaign, indicating that interviews with them would not be about the collusion allegation, but about whether Trump asked for their help to convince former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The investigation into Trump started after former FBI Director James Comey was sacked, according to the Washington Post report.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's legal team, denounced the Post report, saying on Wednesday: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

A spokesman for Mr Mueller's team declined to comment.

London police launch criminal investigation over fatal apartment blaze
Outside the cordons, impromptu tributes appeared with photos of missing people , messages of condolences, flowers and candles. The number of people who are unaccounted for is still unknown as some may have got out by themselves or gone into other flats.

Comey also testified he had told Trump he was not under investigation.

But as the legal rope has tightened, Trump's allies have gone on the offensive, questioning the credibility of the special investigator Mueller, a respected former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who served under Republican President George W. Bush.

Mueller has been tasked with leading the executive branch's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any potential collusion between Russia and Trump associates.

Of the six in 10 Americans who think Trump tried to obstruct or impede the investigation, most are Democrats and independents.

The White House has denied any collusion, and Trump has repeatedly complained about the probe, saying Democrats can not accept his election win.

On Monday, a Trump friend said the president was considering dismissing Mueller though the White House later said he had no plans to do so. He said his meetings with the Russian ambassador during and after the campaign had nothing to do with pressures of what President Trump has termed "the Russian thing" that has created a "cloud" hanging over his presidency.

The former speaker said Trump called him Monday night and that the two discussed Gingrich's concerns.

The leaders of the committee said in a statement issued on Wednesday that they "look forward to future engagements" with Mueller.

Coats will also meet with members of the Senate intelligence committee Thursday, one week after his tense grilling by the panel, according to a committee source.

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