President Donald Trump is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Russia investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller “right now.”
“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 wrote on Twitter on Aug. 1. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”
While Trump has lambasted the Mueller probe for months, as evidence surfaced about its allegedly questionable political roots, the president had never publicly called on Sessions to end the investigation.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House on Aug. 1 that Trump’s tweet is not an official directive to Sessions.
“It’s not an order. It’s the president’s opinion. It’s ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that’s gone on with the launching of the witch hunt,” she said.
“The president has watched this process play out, but he also wants to see it come to an end as he stated many times, and we look forward to that happening.”
Mueller is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and claims of collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia. To date, Mueller has not produced any indictments or evidence related to the collusion allegations.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May last year. Sessions has recused himself from all matters related to Russian election meddling.
In a string of messages leading up to his request to Sessions, Trump cited comments from Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz that reference FBI official Peter Strzok.
As Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Strzok was the lead agent in the investigation of the Trump campaign. Strzok then joined the Mueller probe, before being removed over text messages revealing extreme bias against Trump.
Strzok exchanged thousands of messages with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, while the two had an extramarital affair. In the texts, Strzok wrote that Hillary Clinton should win the 2016 election “100,000,000 [to]- 0,” called Trump “an idiot,” discussed “an insurance policy” in case Trump won the election, said that he and others would “stop” Trump from becoming president, and mused about “impeachment” after joining the Mueller probe.
“The entire investigation was based off a dirty discredited dossier that was paid for by an opposing campaign and had a lot of corruption within the entity which was overseeing it, which was Peter Strzok, James Comey, Andrew McCabe,” Sanders said on Aug. 1.
On July 31, Judicial Watch received a new set of Strzok emails from the Department of Justice showing that he requested and was granted the authority to retain a broad set of FBI clearances before joining the Mueller probe, including the authority to declassify documents, which he described as “most essential.”
In a follow-up message, the president referred to the Clinton-funded opposition research dossier which the FBI used to spy on Trump-campaign volunteer Carter Page. The dossier was composed by a former British spy who allegedly paid second-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin.
Documents released by the DOJ to Judicial Watch on July 21 show that the dossier made up the core of the application for a warrant to spy on Page. The documents also show that FBI officials knowingly omitted the fact that Clinton funded the dossier while running against Trump in the election.
The president also touched on the fate of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Prosecutors delivered their opening remarks on July 31 in the trial against Manafort, who is accused of bank fraud and tax evasion. Manafort is one of four Trump campaign associates charged with crimes unrelated to the campaign or Russia’s meddling in the election.
“Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Why didn’t the government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion – a Hoax!”
On the first day of the trial, prosecutors alleged that Manafort opened 30 bank accounts to hide the income he received for his work in Ukraine. The prosecutors said that collusion will not be part of the trial.
While Mueller has not brought any indictments related to collusion, he has charged two dozen Russians in two indictments for crimes related to election meddling. In the latest indictment, the special counsel named 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking Democratic computer systems, stealing emails and files, and distributing the information with the intent of interfering in the 2016 election. As in the previous indictment, all of the alleged perpetrators are in Russia.