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Trump Keeps Railing at Russia Probe; Kushner Deals Reportedly Draw Scrutiny


FILE - Donald Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign, gets ready for a question-and-answer session on Twitter. The president issued a series of tweets Friday related to investigations into possible links between his campaign and Russia.

President Donald Trump continued a campaign on Twitter on Friday against the investigations into possible links between his campaign and Russia.

Trump said he was "being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt."

It was unclear whether the president was referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Reporters who shouted questions for clarification after Trump stepped off Marine One on his return to the White House on Friday from a Miami trip got no answers.

The latest social media outburst by the president on his personal Twitter account came after a Washington Post report that Mueller is looking into the financial transactions of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is a senior adviser to the president.

Mueller's investigation also includes the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.

There is wide consensus that Trump is not doing himself any legal favors by repeatedly referring to it on Twitter.

FILE - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on Capitol Hill in Washington during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Jan. 31, 2017.
FILE - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on Capitol Hill in Washington during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Jan. 31, 2017.

"President Trump is hurting his own case every time he goes on [Twitter]," said a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, on MSNBC.

A Republican senator on Friday also expressed hope Trump would refrain from discussing the Russia investigation.

"Frankly, I think the president should stop talking about it," Missouri Senator Roy Blunt told KMBZ, a Kansas City-area radio station. "I think the president needs to get on with the work that is so important that he do and at this point now let this investigation run its course."

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein of California, said, "The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired."

Feinstein added, "That's undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president's oath of office."

She also echoed concern that the president will try to fire Mueller and Rosenstein.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, warned that Trump would be overstepping his authority by taking such action.

If Trump were to fire Mueller and Rosenstein, "Congress must unite to stop him, without respect to party, and for the sake of the nation," Schiff said in a statement.

Talk of recusal

The Democratic National Committee, in a statement Friday, said that Rosenstein, who has authority over Mueller, needs to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and that control of the investigation should not be given to another presidential appointee.

FILE - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2017, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's fiscal 2018 budget.
FILE - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 13, 2017, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's fiscal 2018 budget.

The Justice Department on Friday said any such of consideration of recusal was premature.

"As the deputy attorney general has said numerous times, if there comes a point when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed," Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior told VOA.

Rosenstein on Thursday night issued an unusual and puzzling public warning about stories attributed to anonymous sources.

"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials,' particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated," Rosenstein said in a short statement released by the Justice Department.

"Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations."

It's unclear why Rosenstein issued the warning or whether anyone prompted him to do so.

Rosenstein wrote a memo last month noting concerns about Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation that the White House initially used to justify the removal of the FBI director.

In another sign the investigation is expanding, lawyers for the Trump transition team issued a memo Thursday instructing those who worked for the transition to preserve documents in anticipation that investigators will request those materials for the probe into Russian interference into last year's presidential election.

VOA's Masood Farivar contributed to this report.

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