By firing James Comey, President Trump has now provoked the criminal investigation he insisted didn’t exist when he fired him. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice by firing the former FBI director last month, placing the Trump administration in a legally perilous situation less than six months into office.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Mueller has quietly reached out to multiple top intelligence officials to set up interviews as part of his sprawling probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. That includes examining any wrongdoing by Americans that accompanied it, as well as any efforts to obstruct or curtail the federal investigation itself.
The exact timeline for when the investigation expanded to include obstruction claims against the president is unclear. The Post said federal investigators began their inquiry “days after” Trump’s abrupt dismissal of Comey on May 9. The director’s ouster sparked a political firestorm for the White House, culminating a fortnight later in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
The White House itself no longer answers questions about the probe, referring reporters to the president’s outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz. “The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz, told the Post.