No 'Proof' on 'Collusion' with Russians

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"Witch Hunt", the president wrote. The questions included whether he had confidence in Rosenstein, whether he plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and how he knows he's under investigation by the FBI.

Accusations of obstruction arose last month when Trump fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Asked about Burt and the exchange between McCain and Sessions, Carter Page, another former foreign policy adviser to Trump's campaign and a central figure in the Russian Federation investigation, said he found "the entire line of questioning to be near the pinnacle of witch hunt tactics".

Mueller is overseeing a host of investigations involving people who are or were in Trump's orbit, people familiar with the probe were quoted as saying.

Rosenstein was the one to make the decision because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to lash out at the months-long investigation into Russian Federation meddling.

Aides have counseled the president to stay off Twitter and focus on other aspects of his job.

Both the House and the Senate also have open investigations into Russian interference in last year's election.

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But it was released shortly after The Washington Post reported - citing unnamed USA officials familiar with the matter - that the business dealings of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump administration's potential ties to Russia. Add all of that on top of Rosenstein's cryptic and unprecedented warning to the American people about "anonymous allegations", and things are looking shady all around.

The department would not comment on the record on whether Trump, who has repeatedly complained about leaks on the case, requested the statement. But a department official said no one asked for the statement and Rosenstein acted on his own. Trump cited the memo in firing Comey.

Trump allies have been questioning whether Mueller can lead an unbiased probe, given that some members of his team have made campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.

US intelligence officials have also told reporters that in December, Kushner attempted to set up a secret backchannel to Russia with the assistance of Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Trump later said he had planned to fire Comey regardless of what recommendation he received from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation. Rosenstein in a memo to Trump raised concerns over FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein told The Associated Press this month he would recuse himself from any oversight of Mueller if he were to become a subject of the probe. An official of Trump's transition confirmed the laywer's internal order sent Thursday.

Trump's legal team quickly denounced the report on Wednesday. They are Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager; Rick Gates, Manafort's business partner; Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser; Flynn; and Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to Mr. Trump.

The White House has directed questions to outside legal counsel, which has not responded.

Inside the White House, a sense of foreboding has taken hold on even the most junior staff and up to the Oval Office, as news emerged that Vice President Mike Pence has hired a high-powered outside counsel to represent him. Pence headed the Trump transition until Inauguration Day.

Friday's tweets are the latest in a week of angry social media responses by the president over a report by The Washington Post that Mueller was looking into whether Trump obstructed justice. He has already been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.