Russia probe causes tension among top officials at Justice Department


A team of investigators hired by special counsel Robert Mueller to probe Russia's campaign to influence the US election will look at the finances and business dealings of President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to a report.

Potentially complicating matters, Trump posted an exasperated message today on Twitter, dismissing the Russia-related probe as a "witch hunt" and lamenting that he's "being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!"

The focus on Rosenstein sharpened Friday because the President attacked the deputy attorney general in a tweet, blaming him for what he terms a "witch hunt".

"The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump's conduct marks a major turning point in the almost year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin".

Furthermore, the problem is not merely that Trump fired Comey.

Aussie PM pokes fun at Trump in leaked audio Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mimicked Donald Trump's mannerisms and made reference to the Russian Federation scandal, in comments he said were "affectionately light-hearted".

Friday's tweets are the latest in a week of angry social media responses by the president after a report by The Washington Post that Mueller was looking into whether Trump obstructed justice. It's the phony justifications his administration gave for the firing, it's Trump's own belated confirmation that a major factor in the firing was the Russian Federation investigation, and it's the troubling pattern of Trump's attempts to interfere with investigations into his associates before the firing.

Since his inauguration, President Trump has issued dozens of tweets blasting reports that he or his campaign coordinated or colluded with Russian Federation, and that doesn't include all of his tweets blasting "fake news" and "leakers".

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The department would not comment on the record on whether Trump, who has repeatedly complained about leaks on the case, requested the statement. Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday that she is "increasingly concerned" that Trump will try to fire Rosenstein and Mueller. After Comey's firing, the administration gave differing reasons for his dismissal. Trump said on Twitter, appearing to refer to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The president might want to consider finding an actual expert in criminal law to represent him; this investigation is extensive, serious and possibly career-ending for a growing list of figures, which now certainly includes the president. But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight of the probe given his own role in Comey's firing.

In a May 9 memo, Rosenstein lambasted then-FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The Trump tweets come after the top lawyer for his transition team warned organization officials to preserve all records and other materials related to the Russian Federation probe. An official of Trump's transition confirmed the lawyer's internal order, which was sent Thursday.

The White House has directed questions for details to outside legal counsel, which has not responded. A day or two later, Trump reportedly called Coats and Rogers to ask them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence that Trump aides had illegally colluded with Russian officials to help Trump win the election.

Mr Cohen has worked for Mr Trump since the mid-2000s and was active in the campaign.

Flynn, who was forced out in February, is a subject in investigations by intelligence committees in the House and Senate, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.