One day after his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort began his trial, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
For the first time, Trump is explicitly urging the top law enforcement officer in the country, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to end special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia. The investigation is also looking into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
In an official White House statement released through Twitter, Trump said, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!"
According to both NBC News and Politico, this is the first time Trump has directly called on Sessions to end the Russia investigation.
Trump's outright anger at both Sessions and the Mueller probe are well documented.
Soon after being confirmed as Attorney General, Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. Sessions had contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign, which he lied to Congress about. Once those contacts became public knowledge, Sessions turned over responsibility for the Russia investigation to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Trump has repeatedly said he would not have hired Sessions if he knew Sessions would recuse himself. As recently as May 2018, Trump said he wished he had hired someone else. Trump also tried to have his own White House counsel fire Sessions.
Trump's fear and loathing of the Mueller investigation is also no secret. He repeatedly calls the investigation a "witch hunt," with various levels of capitalization of the words. He has made numerous baseless accusations that Mueller has a conflict of interest, yet has provided no evidence to back up the claim. On the same day Trump made this most recent accusation against Mueller, the Washington Post reports Trump has made more than 4,200 false or misleading claims in 558 days in office.
Mueller's investigation has been a constant source of embarrassment for Trump. Thus far, four former high-level Trump campaign officials have been charged with criminal activity. One additional person has already served a prison sentence.
Less than a month ago, Mueller's team indicted 12 Russian operatives who, in their official capacity, sought to influence the 2016 election to help Trump and harm the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
As of mid-July, a total of 32 people have been indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy against the United States, lying to the FBI, and money laundering. There have been five guilty pleas so far.
One day before Trump urged Sessions to end the Mueller probe, one of two criminal trials of Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, began. Manafort is accused of financial crimes related to work he did for the Russia-friendly government of Ukraine.
In regards to Trump's statement urging Sessions to end the Russia probe, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) wondered, "How is this not obstruction of justice?"
Despite Trump's efforts, the Mueller investigation continues unabated. Time will tell what else the probe will reveal, unless Sessions follows Trump's desire to obstruct justice.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.