Donald Trump continued his Twitter criticism of the special counsel investigation as a “witch hunt” on Monday, one day after White House lawyer Ty Cobb said the president isn’t considering firing Robert Mueller.
“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms that the president is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel, Robert Mueller,” Cobb’s statement read. Politico, the Washington Post and the New York Times have stories.
Trump tweeted Monday morning, “A total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest!” That followed several tweets that began Friday with praise for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to fire Andrew McCabe hours before the former FBI deputy director was to retire. Sessions had acted on findings that McCabe authorized bureau officials to speak to reporters and misled investigators looking into the matter.
Trump called McCabe’s firing “a great day for democracy” and said “there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State.”
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” Trump tweeted. “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!”
Trump also said that he never saw McCabe take notes in the little time they spent together.
“I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?” Trump tweeted.
Trump also criticized the makeup of the special counsel team, saying it had “zero Republicans” and “13 hardened Democrats,” even though Mueller is a longtime Republican. Thirteen of 17 members of Mueller’s team, however, have previously registered as Democrats. The political affiliation of four others could not be found, the Post says.
Trump’s tweets represented a change in strategy, according to the New York Times. Though the president has long referred to the Russia probe as a witch hunt, he had previously acted with restraint in directly criticizing Mueller.
Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, referred to one of Trump’s tweets when he called for an end to the investigation in an email to the Daily Beast on Saturday. Dowd wrote: “I pray that acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier.”
At first Dowd told the Daily Beast he was speaking as Trump’s counsel. But after publication of the story he told the same outlet he was speaking in his personal capacity.
Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018