Special counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview President Donald Trump about his tweets and public statements as part of an investigation into a possible obstruction of justice.
The New York Times reported three sources familiar with the probe said Mueller’s team is focusing on Trump’s statements, including his tweets, about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey.
Trump has criticized both Sessions and Comey on the social media platform.
Investigators are looking into whether Trump pressured law enforcement officials, including Comey and Sessions, to back off investigations into Trump associates and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Comey, who was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017, claimed during a Feb. 14, 2017, conversation that Trump asked him to go easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn had resigned the day before, allegedly for misleading the White House over his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those conversations.
Trump’s tweets could be used to fill in the gaps of what he allegedly said during private conversations with Sessions, Comey and other government officials.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani dismissed Mueller’s interest in the tweets.
“If you’re going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public,” he told The Times.
Trump’s legal team has been in intense negotiations with Mueller’s prosecutors over a potential interview with Trump.
Giuliani has said Trump is willing to field questions about the collusion portion of the investigation but not about possible obstruction. Trump and his supporters have insisted that he had the right as president to fire Comey for any reason he saw fit.
It has long been reported that Mueller is investigating both possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government as well as obstruction of justice in the firing of Comey.
The focus on Trump’s tweets is likely to rile the Republican’s supporters, who have long agreed with Trump’s assessment of the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”
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