President Donald Trump was expressing an opinion and not issuing an order in the tweet in which he declared his Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop “right now” the high-profile probe by Special Counsel Robert Muller into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, the White House said today. Trump expressed his frustration over the ongoing probe by Mueller into the alleged Russian interference yesterday and asked Sessions to stop the “witch-hunt”, a day after his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort went on trial. In a series of tweets, Trump asserted that neither he nor his campaign had any collusion with the Russians, and all the allegations were a total hoax.
“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump said in the tweet. “It’s not an order. It’s the president’s opinion, and it’s ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that’s gone on with the launching of the witch-hunt the president has watched this process play out, but he also wants to see it come to an end as he stated many times and we look forward to that,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
She told reporters at her daily news conference that Trump was not indulging in obstruction of justice by issuing such a tweet. “The president is not obstructing; he’s fighting back. The president is stating his opinion, he’s stating it clearly, and he’s certainly expressing the frustration that he has with the level of corruption that we’ve seen from people like Jim Comey, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe,” Sanders said. “There’s a reason that the president’s angry and, frankly, most of America is angry as well, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to voice that opinion,” Sanders said in response to a question.
She alleged that the entire investigation was based on “a dirty, discredited dossier” that was paid for by an opposing campaign and had a great deal of corruption within the entity which was overseeing it, investigators like Strzok, Comey and McCabe. “We certainly think it should be completed. We’d like it to be completed sooner rather than later. It’s gone on for an extensive amount of time. They’ve still come up with nothing in regards to the president. We’d like to see it come to a close,” she said. Mueller, a former FBI director, is investigating whether the Trump camgain aided or abetted an attempt by Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election, or tried to cover up the conspiracy.
Yesterday was the first day of his former campaign head Manafort’s trial on charges of tax evasion and bank fraud which were brought by Mueller’s team. Trump’s tweet had raised the concern that he may try to more directly bring Mueller’s probe to a premature end. Trump has repeatedly termed the probe as “a hoax”. He also called it a “a disgrace to USA”.