Officials who worked for President Donald Trump’s transition team have been directed to preserve all records that might be relevant to the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, according to a copy of the memo obtained by CNN.
In a tweet, the president also seemed to accuse the U.S. deputy attorney general of pursuing a “Witch Hunt”.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, in May while facing questions about his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Tensions are building inside the Justice Department as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein contemplates whether he will become a witness in the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 United States elections. Rosenstein last month appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the probe.
But as the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian Federation grows-expanding to include an inquiry into Trump for potential obstruction of justice-Kushner is being dragged from his position as a silent power behind the throne, into the clamorous, white-hot center of the White House scandal.
Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, according to a source, who said they have also sought information from recently retired NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she is concerned that Trump might try to fire both Rosenstein and Mueller.
Trump blasted Mueller on Twitter on Thursday, saying the Russian Federation probe was being “led by some very bad and conflicted people”, apparently referring to the special counsel.
“FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the finances of other Trump associates, said US officials familiar with the matter”, the Post reported.
Rosenstein has said privately he may need to recuse himself from matters relating to the Russian Federation probe because he could become a witness in the investigation, ABC News reported on Friday.
Once Comey was sacked, the Department of Justice appointed Mueller as special counsel to act as an independent investigator.
If Trump and other senior White House officials have concerns about Rosenstein’s credibility, they certainly didn’t voice it in the past. The memos were at the center of attention during Comey’s June 8 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, when the ex-FBI director admitted he began documenting conversations with the president because he thought Trump would lie about their interactions.
Mueller’s requests are among his first publicly known acts since he took over the investigation last month, after it was publicly revealed that Comey had written a memo about how Trump asked him to halt the inquiry into his fired national security adviser, Flynn.
The White House has said the subsequent meeting with the banker was a pre-inauguration diplomatic encounter, unrelated to business matters.
Earlier tonight the Post reported Vice President Mike Pence has retained private counsel to help him in the Russian Federation probe.
Mr Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz issued a statement saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation was behind the Post story and called the leak “outrageous, inexcusable and illegal”. Based on what we know about this president’s Twitter habits I think it’s more likely that Trump is simply reacting to the press accounts of the investigation, not actually confirming them.