On the day special counsel Robert Mueller is due to file new memos in the Russia investigation, President Trump unleashed a frantic Twitter tirade against all of his favorite targets and perceived enemies in the Justice Department, including his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In a series of unusually agitated tweets released over a 58-minute period starting at 6:18 a.m. ET Friday, Trump denounced Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, prosecutor Andrew Weissman and former FBI Director James Comey, among others. Even people who have been following the story closely might have been confused by the jumble of names and accusations the president threw out.
“Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest,” Trump tweeted, demanding to know, as he has many times in the past, why Mueller has focused his investigation on the Trump campaign rather than Hillary Clinton’s. (The reason is that the letter by then acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointing Mueller specifically orders him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” and makes no mention of Clinton.)
“Will Robert Mueller’s big time conflicts of interest be listed at the top of his Republicans only Report,” the president tweeted. “Will Andrew Weissman’s horrible and vicious prosecutorial past be listed in the Report. He wrongly destroyed people’s lives, took down great companies, only to be overturned, 9-0, in the United States Supreme Court. Doing same thing to people now.”
Weissman, one of Mueller’s top deputies, began his career prosecuting New York City mob bosses, and later helped secure an initial conviction of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen in the Enron case. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned it on an issue involving jury instructions, but the firm never recovered.
“Will all of the substantial & many contributions made by the 17 Angry Democrats to the Campaign of Crooked Hillary be listed in top of Report,” Trump fumed, a reference to the prosecutors working for Mueller, most of whom are registered Democrats although Mueller himself is a Republican. A Politifact analysis of an earlier version of Trump’s claim, which rated it “half true,” found that “two of the 13 publicly known Mueller staffers donated what might be characterized as “big” sums to Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
“Will the people that worked for the Clinton Foundation be listed at the top of the Report? Will the scathing document written about Lyin’ James Comey, by the man in charge of the case, Rod Rosenstein (who also signed the FISA Warrant), be a big part of the Report? Isn’t Rod therefore totally conflicted? Will all of the lying and leaking by the people doing the Report, & also Bruce Ohr (and his lovely wife Molly), Comey, Brennan, Clapper, & all of the many fired people of the FBI, be listed in the Report? Will the corruption within the DNC & Clinton Campaign be exposed?..And so much more!”
Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have been openly critical of Trump’s foreign policy, leading Trump to revoke Brennan’s security clearance and threatening to do the same to Clapper’s.
Bruce Ohr, the former deputy attorney general, has long drawn the ire of the president for his contacts with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the author of a controversial dossier containing salacious allegations of compromising conduct by Trump. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, is a consultant who had done work for Fusion GPS, the research firm that retained Steele. It’s unclear how much Ohr knew about Steele’s connection to the firm.
Trump also dragged in a minor player in the Russia saga — an associate of his adviser Roger Stone named Jerome Corsi: “And bye [sic] the way, wasn’t the woman in charge of prosecuting Jerome Corsi (who I do not know) in charge of ‘legal’ at the corrupt Clinton Foundation? A total Witch Hunt.”
Corsi filed a 78-page complaint with the Justice Department this week accusing Mueller of trying to pressure him into admitting he lied about his effort to glean what damaging information WikiLeaks had on Clinton’s campaign. Legal experts say Corsi’s claims have no merit.
Friday is the deadline for Mueller to file two sentencing memos that could shed new light on the investigation.
In one, the special counsel’s office will explain why it believes former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.
And Mueller is due to file a sentencing memo in the case of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who last week struck a plea agreement with Mueller. Cohen’s lawyers have asked that he avoid jail entirely.
In a tweetstorm earlier this week, Trump said Cohen should be jailed and “serve a full and complete sentence” while declaring that Stone had “guts” for refusing to testify against him.
Some legal experts say the latter statement could be used by Mueller to build a case for evidence of obstruction by Trump.
Trump also declared that his lawyers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, plan to issue a report to counter Mueller’s findings.
“It has been incorrectly reported that Rudy Giuliani and others will not be doing a counter to the Mueller Report,” the president tweeted. “That is Fake News. Already 87 pages done, but obviously cannot complete until we see the final Witch Hunt Report.”
But it’s unclear whether Mueller will even issue a final report, which would be delivered to the attorney general, who in turn would decide whether to distribute the findings to Congress. Some legal experts have suggested Mueller’s recent court filings are effectively his final report, being published in real time.
“We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report,” Trump added. “This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!”
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