Trump-Russia collusion investigations

Donald Trump suggests Robert Mueller leaked Russia probe letters

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2018, 5:20am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2018, 5:20am

American President Donald Trump suggested Saturday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is deliberately leaking to the press documents about his investigation into possible collusion with Russia.

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“There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country,” Trump tweeted after the investigation passed its one-year mark last month.

“Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?”

Earlier, The New York Times published a confidential 20-page letter the American president’s legal team sent to Mueller in January, along with another sent in June 2017.

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In the letters, Trump’s lawyers sternly oppose attempts by Mueller’s office to interview him, saying “under our system of government, the president is not readily available to be interviewed.”

They also argue that Trump cannot be accused of obstructing justice because he has the constitutional power to end the investigation led by the Justice Department.

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian efforts to tip the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favour.

He has increasingly dug into evidence of alleged money laundering, fraud and obstruction of justice inside Trump’s inner circle.

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Mueller has requested an interview with the president to determine whether he had criminal intent to obstruct the investigation into his associates’ possible links to Russia’s election interference. Trump had previously signalled that he would be willing to sit for an interview, but his legal team, including head lawyer Rudy Giuliani, have privately and publicly expressed concern that the president could risk charges of perjury.

If Trump does not consent to an interview, Mueller will have to decide whether to forge forward with a historic grand jury subpoena. His team raised the possibility in March of subpoenaing the president but it is not clear if it is still under active consideration. Giuliani has said that the president’s legal team believes the special counsel does not have the authority to do so.

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Topics of Mueller’s obstruction investigation include the firings of both Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, as well Trump’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation.

In addition to the legal battles, Trump’s team and allies have waged a public-relations campaign against Mueller to discredit the investigation and soften the impact of the special counsel’s potential findings. Giuliani said last week that the special counsel probe may be an “entirely illegitimate investigation” and need to be curtailed because, in his estimation, it was based on inappropriately obtained information from an informant and former FBI director James Comey’s memos.