White House: Trump Russia Tweet Opinion, Not Order

Posted at 2:21 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 14:21:26-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation (all times local):

1:52 p.m.

The White House says that President Donald Trump’s criticisms of the special counsel’s Russia probe is not obstruction.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump’s broadsides are simply the president “fighting back.”

She also offered an explanation of the president’s tweet in which he called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.”

Sanders said “It’s not an order. It’s the president’s opinion.”

Trump unleashed several tweets on Wednesday attacking special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and possible ties to the president’s campaign.


1:30 p.m.

Congressional Republicans say the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller needs to run its course despite President Donald Trump’s call for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut it down.

The No. 3 Senate Republican, John Thune of South Dakota, says Trump “has his own way of conveying his views.” But he adds, “Most of us up here believe the process needs to play out, and it will.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said many “wish the Mueller investigation would go away,” but adds, “that’s not going to happen.”

Trump tweeted that Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now.” Democrats say Trump’s tweet is evidence he is obstructing justice.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said there would be “chaos” in Congress if Trump were to act against Mueller.


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his attorney general should put an end to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump is making his views known in a series of tweets as the trial of his onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, enters its second day in a Virginia courtroom. He’s on trial for bank fraud and tax evasion charges.

The president says Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”

But Sessions stepped aside last year from overseeing Mueller’s inquiry, and it’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who’s taken over that duty.

Trump is trying to distance himself from Manafort, who led Trump’s efforts to secure the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. Trump tweets that Manafort “He worked for me for a very short time.”

Manafort was the campaign chairman for about five months in 2016.