Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump blasts reported obstruction probe as 'phony'

"Nice", Mr Trump wrote on Twitter earlier, later repeating his accusation the probe was a "witch hunt".

Rosenstein is the Justice Department official who was put in charge of any matters relating to Russian collusion or interference with the 2016 us presidential elections, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March.

President Donald Trump has just officially admitted he is under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice.

The president expressed annoyance about news reports that the probe is now believed to include an examination of whether he obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey, who had earlier led the Russian Federation investigation. A day later, Mr Rosenstein appointed Mr Mueller, who was at the helm of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the September 11 attacks, as special counsel.

In another tweet Friday morning, Trump said it's "sad" that seven months of investigations and hearings into possible links between his campaign and Russian Federation have been fruitless. Trump has also told friends and others that a "witch hunt" is being conducted against him. Shortly after Trump fired Comey, a Justice Department official tapped Mueller to take up the investigation as a special counsel. An official of Trump's transition confirmed the laywer's internal order sent Thursday. The natural interpretation of that statement is that the president is, in fact, under investigation - but Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said Sunday that is not the case.

United States media had reported that Trump is personally being probed.

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

The inquiry's apparent expansion to target Trump reportedly focuses on whether the president attempted to obstruct the investigation - in particular, on Trump's reported attempts to encourage former FBI director James Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Mr Comey, who had been leading one of several Russian Federation inquiries, testified to Congress last week that the president had pressured him to drop an inquiry into links between Mr Flynn and Russian Federation. This latest blast nearly suggests that Rosenstein told Trump to fire Comey because of Russian Federation, not because of the prior Clinton investigation debacle.

Friday's tweet marked the first time Mr Trump has publicly acknowledged he is under investigation.

He had likened the appointment of the special counsel with the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history".

"I think I better wait until I get done with my conversations with Feinstein before I answer that question", Grassley said when asked if the committee would look into obstruction.

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