President Donald Trump's transition team has been ordered to preserve materials related to ongoing investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election, the New York Times reported on Friday, as Trump again assailed the probes.
The president's associates, who insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the his views, say some of his ire is aimed at deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and investigative special counsel Robert Mueller, both of whom the president believes are biased against him. The order also covers separate inquiries into several key Trump associates including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign adviser Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone. The US president later said that the decision was taken due to "that Russian thing".
He accused the mainstream American media for allegedly spreading wrong news.
The president tweeted Friday, "The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media - over 100 million people!" "President Trump said prior that once he gets in he's going to kick the S-H-I-T out of the enemy".
He tweeted, "After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my "collusion with the Russians", nobody has been able to show any proof".
Trump has been growing increasingly agitated with Rosenstein over the last day or two in private White House meetings and in conversations with friends, multiple people have told CNN.
"Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russian Federation are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?" he asked at one point.
"Crooked Hillary destroyed phones with hammer, "bleached" emails, and had husband meet with Attorney General days before she was cleared - and they talk about obstruction?" he had said.
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The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier said: "We are talking about orderly withdrawal first and that makes sense". The two men will meet for a week every month to negotiate, and use the time in between to "work on proposals".
In response to the statement, former US Attorney Preet Bharara, whom Trump fired in March, tweeted early Friday morning that "Americans should also exercise caution before accepting as true lies about firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director & defamation of a war hero special counsel", references to criticisms Trump has levied against Mueller and James Comey.
Since the probe commenced, no evidence of a possible collusion of the Trump campaign with Russian government. The questions included whether he had confidence in Rosenstein, whether he plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and how he knows he's under investigation by the FBI.
Mueller took over the DOJ Russia probe after a chain of events set in motion by Trump, Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Trump's tweets are sending a message "that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired". "That's undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the President's oath of office". But soon after the abrupt termination, Trump told NBC News that he had been going to fire Comey regardless of any recommendations.
"That authority clearly lies with the attorney general or in this case, because the attorney general has rescued himself, with the deputy attorney general". This week, Rosenstein assured members of Congress he would not remove Mueller - except for good cause.
She said Trump has "embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light" and the Senate shouldn't let that happen.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.