President Donald Trump continued bashing Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, saying cryptically Monday the special counsel is “looking for trouble.”
Trump alleged in a morning tweet series that the former FBI director is “Disgraced and discredited,” claiming his staff amounts to nothing more than a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs.”
That came hours after a Sunday tweet in which he referred to the special counsel team as a “gang.” Both are words with loaded meanings for his conservative political base.
Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency. Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
....looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side - the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
The president’s Sunday and Monday attacks on Mueller and his team came after reports that White House Counsel Donald McGahn was interviewed by Mueller and his team for more than one full day.
Trump contends he signed off on the testimony; George W. Bush-era White House counsel and attorney general Alberto Gonzales, however, told CNN Monday morning that a sitting White House counsel would be required to fully cooperate with a federal investigation because he is a government lawyer, not a president’s personal attorney.
But Trump on Monday morning tweeted that McGahn spoke with the special counsel team for “over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency.” (The tweet included a misspelling of counsel.)
The length of the Mueller-McGahn sessions led Trump to the conclusion the special counsel is “looking for trouble” because they “they know there is no Russian Collusion.”
Where’s the Collusion? They made up a phony crime called Collusion, and when there was no Collusion they say there was Obstruction (of a phony crime that never existed). If you FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt, they scream Obstruction!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
But Mueller reportedly is keenly interested in a widely studied June 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr., which included a Russian attorney who promised to hand over negative information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The session also was attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner; the president dictated a misleading statement about it a year later and it remains murky just when he learned about the meeting.
As Roll Call has reported, Trump was in the tower at the time of the session with the Russian lawyer.
The president also continued to push a line first floated by his attorney, former New York mayor and U.S. attorney Rudolph Giuliani, tweeting that campaign collusion with Russia would be a “phony crime.” He’s right, there is no specific collusion statute. But legal experts say anyone in Trump’s orbit would be charged with conspiracy, making false statements to federal investigators or obstructing justice. All are federal crimes.
Trump also continued to cast himself as a victim in the matter, saying when he attempts to “FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt,” his critics “scream Obstruction!”
Mueller also is looking at whether some of Trump’s actions like firing then-FBI Director James B. Comey or statements about the Russia probe since taking office amount to an attempt to interfere illegally with the special counsel probe.