Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Russia probe causes tension among top officials at Justice Department


The probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI chief, "marks a major turning point in the almost year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin", The Washington Post had reported.

Others have pointed to news that Mueller interviewed with Trump for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director post after Comey's firing.

Rosenstein was also the author of a memo recommending the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, which the White House cited along with a memo from Sessions as the reason Trump fired Comey on May 9. Those associates include former national security adviser Michael Flynn, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was "increasingly concerned" that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein. "Nice." And then: "You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people!"

In the past few weeks, President Trump has labeled the ongoing investigations about his administration's possible connections with Russian Federation as a baseless "witch hunt".

Significantly, Preet Bharara, the India-born former top United States federal prosecutor, earlier this week had said that there was enough evidence to begin an obstruction of justice case against Trump over his alleged interference in the Russian Federation probe. "I can go around them", the tweet read.

From 2011 until her confirmation, she was a lawyer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business lobbying group's legal arm, which played a major role in marshaling legal opposition to environmental and labor regulations championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama.

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The widened Russian Federation probe could have far-reaching repercussions for Trump's presidency, transforming his closest aides into witnesses and sucking even more political oxygen out of the West Wing.

Trump was set to escape the Washington pressure cooker on Saturday.

The daily was one of several media that reported that Trump himself is being investigated on allegations of obstructing justice.

The transition official said the organization has also separately asked the General Services Administration to preserve records from the Trump transition that were transferred to its facilities after Trump's inauguration. That is why investigators want to know more about a meeting between Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and executives of Vnesheconombank, a Russian state-owned development bank now under US sanctions.

A White House official said Friday's tweetstorm is a sign Trump is "taking matters into his own hands" - the latest example of how he thinks he is the best person to deliver his message.

Earlier this week, the investigation led by Mueller appeared to move closer to Trump.

After the firestorm caused by Comey's firing, Rosenstein appointed Mueller, Comey's predecessor as FBI director, to take over the DOJ Russia investigation.

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