- President Donald Trump used Twitter on Wednesday morning to directly urge Attorney General Jeff Sessions to bring the special counsel’s Russia investigation to a close.
- Trump also tweeted that the charges leveled against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort were a “Hoax.”
- Manafort’s first day in court was Tuesday, and his trial – the first in the special counsel’s investigation – continued Wednesday.
President Donald Trump used Twitter on Wednesday morning to directly urge Attorney General Jeff Sessions to bring the special counsel’s Russia investigation to a close.
“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump tweeted. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last year, and Trump has been openly critical of his attorney general for doing so, blaming the decision for the appointment of the special counsel Robert Mueller. Because of Sessions’ recusal, Mueller’s team is under the authority of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Trump has accused of giving Mueller too much power.
Trump also tweeted that the criminal case against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a “Hoax.”
“Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders,” Trump tweeted. “He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!”
Manafort’s high-profile trial began Tuesday. He is the first to face trial as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
Manafort stands charged with 18 counts related to tax fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, and obstruction of justice. None of the charges are directly related to Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign.
- REUTERS/Bill Hennessy
Trump began his Wednesday tweets with a quote critical of the FBI agent Peter Strzok that Trump attributed to the Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
While working on the FBI’s Russia investigation, Strzok exchanged text messages with an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page expressing support for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and denigrating Trump and his backers. An internal investigation concluded that Strzok’s and other FBI officials’ messages were troubling but did not bias the FBI’s findings in the Clinton email investigation or in the Russia investigation.
In final tweet on the issue Wednesday morning, Trump doubled down on his characterization of the investigation as a hoax – this time in all caps – to criticize Strzok, Page, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and the so-called Steele dossier.
“Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX,” Trump tweeted. “The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!”
Strzok testified under oath in July that the dossier, which included unverified opposition research about Trump’s ties to Russia, was not what launched the Russia investigation.