I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
President Trump still appears to be angered by reports that Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is now special counsel, is investigating whether he tried to obstruct justice by firing James Comey, the FBI director, last month. The New York Times reported Friday the legal counsel for Trump’s transition team ordered the team’s members to preserve documents related to the investigation of Russian interference in 2016 election—a signal Mueller’s inquiry is looking into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
At issue is whether Trump colluded with Russia during the presidential election. He has repeatedly denied the claim, insisting he’s the victim of “the worst with hunt” in American history. But with each passing day, there were news reports, based on anonymous sources, that suggested the FBI is investigating members of Trump’s inner circle.
Amid those reports, Trump fired Comey last month, based on a justification provided by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who wrote Comey had acted improperly in the Clinton investigation during the election. But Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week he was “fired because of the Russia investigation.” Trump himself said as much in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
That raised questions about whether there could be an impartial investigation into the Russia allegations. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the matter because of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal, appointed Mueller special counsel last month to look into the allegations of collusion. That move also angered Trump, who has maintained that he has done nothing to merit an investigation.
Trump’s tweet this morning was one of four related to the issue, but it’s his message that appears to question Rosenstein’s integrity that is likely to have some impact.
The deputy attorney general has come under scrutiny first because of the Comey firing and then because of Meuller’s appointment. He’s under renewed attention amid reports Trump wanted to fire Meuller—a move for which he would have to go through Rosenstein. When asked this week on Capitol Hill if there was cause to fire Meuller, Rosenstein replied: “As long as I’m in this position, he’s not going to be fired without good cause.”
That may have been what triggered Trump’s tweet this morning. After initially seeking justification from Rosenstein to fire Comey and then claiming that it was for the Russia investigation, Trump has now shifed the rationale for Comey’s firing back to Rosenstein. But he goes further: He essentially confirms he is being investigated for firing Comey.
Much of the news we’ve been getting about the multiple investigations into the Trump campaign come from anonymous sources, lending uncertainty into what exactly is happening. The president’s remarks suggest we now have the confirmation we need.