President Donald Trump lashed out Friday morning against the Mueller investigation, outlining what he called “big time” conflicts of interest within the special counsel’s office and engaging in his most direct attacks on his deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, suggesting he is “totally conflicted.”
The president’s attacks, delivered in a flurry of early-morning posts to Twitter, come on what is expected to be a busy day for special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office is expected to release new filings on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and on the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. Trump had been relatively silent on Mueller issues this week as funeral services for former President George H.W. Bush were ongoing in Washington and Texas.
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The missives also come as former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump argued Friday is part of the flawed origin of the investigation, is set to testify behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in what could be one of House Republicans’ last chances to question him while in the majority.
Trump asked online whether Rosenstein’s “scathing document” about Comey — an apparent reference to the letter Rosenstein authored recommending Comey’s firing last May — would be included in Mueller’s final report summarizing his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whether or not Trump’s campaign colluded in those efforts.
Noting that Rosenstein also signed off on a FISA warrant that allowed authorities to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the election, Trump asked, “isn’t Rod therefore totally conflicted?”
Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller probe until Trump appointed Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general, has reportedly come close to being ousted from the Justice Department over the president’s frustrations with him and the Mueller report, though their relationship appears to have thawed in recent weeks after Rosenstein reportedly offered up his resignation to the president.
Last week, the president retweeted a photoshopped image that depicted many of Trump’s political opponents behind bars, a group that included Rosenstein, suggesting they should be jailed for treason.
While Trump’s comments echoed previous complaints about the special counsel’s team — such as several Mueller investigators’ histories of donating to Democrats, including 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — the president also introduced new characters into his rant on Friday, asking whether “Robert Mueller’s big time conflicts of interest” would be laid out “at the top of his Republicans only Report.”
The president appeared in one tweet to reference Mueller investigator Jeannine Rhee, who previously represented the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit run by former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton, that some Republicans have accused of operating as a slush fund.
Rhee interrogated Jerome Corsi, whom the president on Friday claimed not to know, for potentially serving as an intermediary between longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone and Wikileaks as it published a trove of emails hacked by the Russian government from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 election.
Corsi was reportedly offered a deal in exchange for pleading guilty to perjuring himself to investigators, a deal he refused because he has insisted that he did not lie. Corsi and Stone have both openly complained about their treatment by Mueller’s team, and Trump has subsequently taken up the argument that the special counsel is bullying witnesses into lying.
Trump also bashed special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissman for what Trump claimed was a “horrible and vicious prosecutorial past.” Trump referenced the 2002 conviction of an accounting firm relating to defunct energy giant Enron, arguing Weissman “wrongly destroyed people’s lives, took down great companies, only to be overturned” unanimously by the Supreme Court. The president accused the Mueller prosecutor of doing the same now.
Weissman, in a recent court filing, revealed that he could request a retrial of Manafort, as well as hit Manafort with new charges stemming from his alleged dishonesty with investigators, a violation of his plea deal on a separate slate of charges.
Trump concluded his outburst with call outs to some of his previous targets, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr and “all of the many fired people of the FBI” asking “will all of the lying and leaking by the people doing the Report … be listed in the Report?”
“Will the corruption within the DNC & Clinton Campaign be exposed,” he continued, without elaborating, adding: “And so much more!”