The President on Sunday also sought to turn the attention away from himself by attacking several of his political rivals: his former attorney, Michael Cohen;
Trump on Sunday assailed Cohen as a ‘rat’ for turning on him and wrongly claimed the FBI broke into his former lawyer’s office.
He slammed Jeff Sessions, who resigned the day after the 2018 election at Trump’s request, following a months long public and private contention between Trump and Sessions over his recusal from overseeing Mueller’s investigation.
Trump got in his dig at Sessions in a pair of tweets quoting Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal, who was speaking about Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
President Donald Trump (seen center at the White House on Thursday) has accused the Democrats and Special Counsel Robert Mueller of staging an investigation into alleged Russian meddling as a way of overturning the results of the 2016 elections
Trump railed against his former attorney general Jeff Sessions (right) in a pair of tweets looking at the case surrounding his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (left)
Trump cited an op-ed written by in The Wall Street Journal by Daniel Henninger
Henninger wrote that the investigations into alleged Russian meddling are looking more like ‘persecution’ of the President
Trump has been on a twitter rant about the Russia investigation, tweeting about it seven times on Sunday
Henninger wrote: ‘It looks here as though General Flynn’s defenses are incidental to something larger which is for the prosecution to figure out if it can find a path to Donald Trump without quite knowing what that crime might be. It stops looking like prosecution and more looking like a persecution of the President.’
Trump added: ‘Thank you, people are starting to see and understand what this Witch Hunt is all about.
‘Jeff Sessions should be ashamed of himself for allowing this total HOAX to get started in the first place!’
Sessions has been one of Trump’s favorite targets in his railings against the Mueller investigation.
And Mueller’s office earlier this month said that Flynn’s cooperation – including 19 meetings with investigators – was so extensive that he was entitled to avoid prison when he is sentenced next week.
Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations during the presidential transition period with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, will become the first White House official punished in the Special Counsel’s ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
In court papers Tuesday, he requested probation and community service for his false statements.
Trump attempted to turn the spotlight on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s (left) email server which then-FBI director James Comey (right) recommended no charges be filed
Trump also railed against the text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok (left) and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page (right)
The Justice Department’s inspector general, in a report released Thursday, found no evidence the FBI intentionally destroyed text messages between Strzok and Page
Trump also claimed the investigation into Russia started before he was elected and that it’s a ‘Democrat scam.’
‘….The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, started as the “insurance policy” long before I even got elected, is very bad for our Country. They are Entrapping people for misstatements, lies or unrelated things that took place many years ago. Nothing to do with Collusion. A Democrat Scam!,’ he tweeted Sunday afternoon.
U.S. intelligence agencies were investigating whether Russia was trying to influence the 2016 election during that year and briefed Trump on the matter after he was elected but before he took office.
However, Mueller wasn’t appointed as special counsel until May 17, 2017, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017.
The president also attempted to turn the spotlight on the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server when he wrote: ‘Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?’
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen (left) and American Media CEO David Pecker (right) are cooperating with prosecutors
Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign and banking violations after he created a shell company to transfer $130,000 to Stormy Daniels (right), who claims she had an affair with Trump. AMI gave $150,000 to model Karen McDougal (left) who claims she had an affair with Trump
Former FBI director James Comey punched back at Trump
Crooked is a term he uses in reference to Clinton. He calls her ‘Crooked Hillary Clinton’ during his campaign rallies.
The FBI investigated Clinton’s use of a private email server and found that, while she was ‘extremely careless,’ then-FBI director James Comey recommended that no charges be filed.
A subsequent report from the Department of Justice’s watchdog found the FBI was not political in its investigation of Clinton, a charge some Republicans had made particularly after text messages were revealed between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
The two agents – who were working on the investigation and having an affair – had texted of their hopes Trump would lose the election.
Trump has also railed about the text messages between Strzok and Page.
‘So where are all the missing Text messages between fired FBI agents Peter S and the lovely Lisa Page, his lover. Just reported that they have been erased and wiped clean. What an outrage as the totally compromised and conflicted Witch Hunt moves ever so slowly forward. Want them!,’ he wrote on Sunday.
The Justice Department’s inspector general, in a report released Thursday, found no evidence the FBI intentionally destroyed text messages between Strzok and Page.
The inspector general faulted an FBI-wide software failure that has resulted in large portions of FBI text messages not being archived, the Associated Press fact checker found.
The report examined a gap in messages from December 2016 through May 2017 from Strzok and Page’s phones. The FBI ultimately managed to recover thousands of the messages.
Some congressional Republicans had suggested the messages were intentionally deleted. The report from DoJ said there was no evidence of that.
On Wednesday, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail for multiple crimes – including bank fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.
Trump has tweeted fast and furious against his former personal attorney since that sentencing.
Former FBI director James Comey took to Twitter to slam back at the president and point out it was a ‘lawful execution of a search warrant.’
In an interview with ‘Good Morning America’ on Friday, Cohen expressed his wish to ‘not be the villain’ of the saga
Trump has been on a twitter rant since Cohen’s sentencing
Trump also tweeted out the words of people defending him
‘This is from the President of our country, lying about the lawful execution of a search warrant issued by a federal judge. Shame on Republicans who don’t speak up at this moment — for the FBI, the rule of law, and the truth,’ he wrote.
Trump also argued it was Cohen’s job – as his lawyer – to know what was legal and what wasn’t.
The pressure appears to be on the White House as reports indicated Mueller is close to wrapping up his probe, which is examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to affect the 2016 election.
In a separate investigation, the Southern District of New York looked into the payoffs to two women who claimed to have affairs with Trump, which he denied.
Evidence in both matters was said to be found in the April raid on Cohen’s office.
In an interview with ‘Good Morning America’ on Friday, Cohen expressed his wish to ‘not be the villain’ of the saga and defended himself against the President, who has publicly attacked him numerous times since he pleaded guilty to a ‘veritable smorgasbord’ of charges in August.
The crime that is most perilous for Trump – who is said to be ‘privately fretting over impeachment’ is Cohen’s campaign violation payments.
Prosecutors say a figure identified as ‘Individual-1’ – Trump – ‘directed’ Cohen to make a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels,.
Trump initially denied any payment, but on Thursday put forward the defense that it was his lawyer’s job to know the law.
‘I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday. ‘He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called ‘advice of counsel,’ and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made.’
But Cohen told Stephanopoulos: ‘I don’t think there is anybody that believes that.
‘First of all, nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.’
Trump has reportedly told allies in his closest circle that he is alarmed by the possibility of impeachment, despite publicly stating that he isn’t concerned.
On Sunday he also tweeted the words of people defending him.
‘Judge Ken Starr, former Solicitor Generel & Independent Counsel, just stated that, after two years, ‘there is no evidence or proof of collusion’ & further that ‘there is no evidence that there was a campaign financing violation involving the President.’ Thank you Judge. @FoxNews,’ he wrote.
On Thursday, the president was revealed to be the third man who attended a 2015 meeting with Cohen and American Media Inc. boss David Pecker where they forged a plan to keep Trump’s alleged affairs out of the press.
The meeting, which was referenced in a letter federal prosecutors sent to National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc, included an offer by the company CEO to ‘help deal with negative stories about the presidential candidate’s relationships with women’.
With Trump identified as having been there, it means he was present when a plan was developed that ultimately led to Cohen pleading guilty to a felony and getting three years in jail.
It also led to a cooperation agreement with prosecutors in which Pecker – one of Trump’s former best friends – would not be prosecuted ‘for any crimes’ related to campaign finance law resulting from the meeting.
AMI gave $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says she had a 10-month affair with the president, and Cohen was involved in discussions relating to this.
That could leave Trump as the odd man out if he continues his denials that he did anything wrong and never ‘directed’ Cohen to break the law and he is now the only person in the room who claims that the hush money wasn’t used to impact the outcome of the election.
Pecker agreed to flip – and is still cooperating with federal authorities.
In a statement, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District said it agreed not to prosecute AMI after the company admitted ‘that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election’.
The news comes amid a spike in talk in Washington about the possibility that the president could be charged with directing a federal crime, even if it is ultimately held that he is immune from such charges due to his office and the Justice Department’s prior interpretation of the Constitution that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, only impeached.