Mueller offers to limit investigators' questions for Trump

"This is a bad situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further", Trump tweeted.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders scrambled to explain that Trump's tweet was "not an order" and the president was not directing his attorney general to do anything. "He's fighting back", she said.

Sessions recused himself previous year from all cases involving Russian election meddling, leaving him unable to stop the investigation, even if he wanted to.

Some legal analysts said Wednesday's tweet alone was not enough to bring an obstruction of justice charge but it could be used to establish a pattern of conduct revealing Trump's intentions.

Since no one outside Mueller's inner circle knows the extent of the evidence he has collected, and few people not in Trump's orbit have a full picture of his potential exposure, it is impossible to say for sure what is motivating the apparent evolution in the President's defense.

Lawmakers on both sides immediately spoke out in support of the probe. That includes trumped-up charges against his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and distorting the outcome of the Helsinki summit to make it appear he was beholden to Russian Federation, said two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak about private conversations.

Though the White House insists that the Manafort trial in Virginia on tax and fraud charges has nothing to do with the President - Trump's tweets appear to indicate that he is closely keeping tabs on news coverage of the case. The president then lashed out at Robert Mueller, comparing the special counsel's entourage to a biased angry and anti-Republican mob only interested in causing further trouble for the Trump administration. "This is a awful situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further", he said. "Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to US!" the President tweeted.

Although CNN has reported that several members of Mueller's team have donated to Democrats, Russia's interference in the 2016 election has also been the subject of several Republican-led congressional inquiries. And Trump's White House.

"Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders", he said.

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"These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!" he said.

Manafort is in detention after having his bail revoked because of allegations that he was attempting to tamper with witnesses in his case.

Among them: that Mueller not ask any questions about actions Trump has taken as president, including his private discussions with Comey.

Even Trump's allies questioned the demand. He suggested that Democrats' perceived detachment from working and middle class Americans' hardships reinforces the mounting impression that only Trump and the Republican Party speak for the downtrodden and left-behind.

On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Trump's lawyers updated him by phone on the latest developments, one person familiar with the matter told CNN. Giuliani said. "We have every reason to believe they don't have anything". Mueller is a Republican who was appointed as Federal Bureau of Investigation director by President George W. Bush, and the man who tapped him as special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was named by Trump and is also a registered Republican. Although experts believe obstruction by tweet is possible, prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular act got in the way of an investigation and that the person who did it meant to obstruct.

Trump issued his most explicit and public call on Jeff Sessions to shut down the probe on Wednesday, the latest of a series of threats and pressure on the attorney general and the Justice Department that if carried out would move the drama into Nixonian territory.

But Nielsen said USA agencies have "seen a willingness and a capability on the part of the Russians" to attack US election infrastructure. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT went much further, declaring.

Giuliani added the president may be within his legal rights to obstruct justice if he wishes.

  • Sonia Alvarado