Trump criticizes Mueller probe in tweets

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize the Mueller investigation. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Nov 16, 2018 12:56 PM
Updated: Nov 16, 2018 1:09 PM

President Donald Trump is acting like he knows something about the Russia investigation that the rest of America has yet to learn.

His Twitter explosion on Thursday targeting special counsel Robert Mueller -- his "thugs" and his "witch hunt" investigation -- came without an apparent immediate cause.

But Trump's temper apparently boiled over after meetings on three successive days between the President and his lawyers as they work out written answers for Mueller about alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 campaign.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that there are at least two dozen questions about events that took place before the 2016 election.

"There are some that create more issues for us legally than others," Trump's lawyer Rudolph Giuliani told the paper. Some questions were "unnecessary" and others were "possible traps" or might be irrelevant, he said.

Giuliani's striking complaint about a perjury trap appears to raise the question of why he might be worried about such an issue -- if the President were simply to tell the truth, in answers that will be scrubbed by his legal advisers.

The questions resulted from a tortuous negotiation between Trump's lawyers and the White House over the President's testimony. They only relate to the collusion part of the investigation and do not concern allegations that the President obstructed justice in the firing of former FBI Chief James Comey.

Trump's huddles with his lawyers coincided with intense activity around the Mueller investigation, which largely went quiet in the days leading up to the midterm elections earlier this month.

The comings and goings have left Washington on tenterhooks amid mounting speculation that significant action by the special counsel could be imminent.

In the past, the President's tirades about Mueller have sometimes coincided with developments in the special counsel probe.

There are expectations that Mueller, who has not unveiled any indictments since July, could be preparing more. CNN has reported that he has also started writing a final report on his investigation.

All the while, speculation has heated up about the prospect of major staff shakeups in the West Wing, including the departure of high-level officials who previously have worked to constrain Trump's worst impulses.

"In this administration, there are arsonists and there are firefighters. The President is looking to get rid of the firefighters. The more he does, the faster his administration is going to burn down," a senior administration official told CNN's Jake Tapper.

New questions

The President's fury sparked questions over whether he has any advance knowledge of any indictments Mueller may be preparing, or has gleaned other insight about the case from his new acting-Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

Much of Mueller's work is taking place behind closed doors, but the evident bustle suggests plenty of reasons for Trump's dark mood.

Those events included a visit by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is facing jail time on tax and fraud charges, to the special counsel's office on Monday.

Attorneys for Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort, who is cooperating with Mueller after his own conviction, were seen at Mueller's office this week.

Jerome Corsi, an associate of former Trump political adviser Roger Stone said on Monday he expects to be indicted for giving false information to Mueller or the grand jury. Corsi later suggested in an interview with Reuters that he's in plea talks with Mueller's team.

Stone, who also appears to be in Mueller's sights, released text messages with an alleged WikiLeaks back channel about "big news" about Hillary Clinton's campaign six days before the site released hacked emails.

Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., has reportedly told friends that he could he could be indicted, possibly over a meeting he and other Trump campaign officials held with a Russian lawyer promising "dirt" on Clinton.

With all that in mind, Trump's Thursday morning tweetstorm appears to reveal a President fuming with resentment about the probe and possibly deeply concerned about what it might reveal.

Mueller's questions likely offered Trump his most explicit sense yet as to where the investigation may be going and could perhaps offer him some hints about what witnesses have told Mueller. And the task of answering the questions, under the risk of perjury, may be a deeply unpleasant experience for him.

"The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts," Trump tweeted.

"They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want," the President said, in a comment that could be interpreted as evidence that he has inside knowledge of the investigation.

"These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won't even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!" Trump wrote in one of his most furious attacks on Mueller.

Mueller was actually appointed to head the FBI in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and stayed for the rest of his administration and three years into President Barack Obama's term. Obama later extended his 10-year term for another two years.

'A bad week'

Speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room" Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley defended Mueller and his team, adding "if they are going to do something, I suspect it will be rather soon."

"Obviously, the President had a bad week and he doesn't like these questions, so he is lashing out because he is afraid to take responsibility, frankly for anything," Quigley said.

The President also revealed his anger about the Russia probe in an interview with The Daily Caller on Wednesday, which to some observers seemed like an tacit admission that he had appointed Whitaker after firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the special counsel.

"Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He's -- and he's, very importantly, he's respected within DOJ," Trump told the conservative website.

"You know, look, as far as I'm concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had," he said. "It's something that should have never been brought. It's an illegal investigation."

Democrats have warned that Whitaker, who is on record with fierce criticisms of the Mueller probe, and now oversees it, is nothing but a political henchman inserted into the top Justice Department job to rein in Mueller.

His appointment has added fresh urgency to an effort on Capitol Hill to protect Mueller. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake warned he would not vote to advance judicial nominees unless a bill shielding the special counsel got a floor vote.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on Wednesday on the measure, which would allow any decision by Trump to fire the special counsel to be challenged in court.

West Lafayette
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 74°
Kokomo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 68°
Crawfordsville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Frankfort
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Delphi
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Monticello
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Logansport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
Turning Warmer & More Humid, Then Big Cool-Down
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
Orange17824
Wells1782
Fulton1732
Wabash1715
Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
Sullivan1411
Spencer1393
Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
Jay920
Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events