President Donald Trump's closest allies are attacking the integrity of those involved in the widening probe of Russian interference in the USA election, accusing special counsel Mueller of driving a biased investigation. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top two members of the panel, said after the meeting Thursday that Coats was speaking to the committee to "clear up a number of questions" after he testified in an open session last week.
A Justice official said Rosenstein was motivated in part because of frustration that recent news stories have unfairly brought on a torrent of "leak" accusations against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mueller's team.
In a series of statements on Twitter Thursday, Trump repeated his assertion that Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign is a "WITCH HUNT" based on the "phony" premise of possible collusion between Russia and a cadre of Trump campaign associates.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 13 lawyers on board to handle the Russian Federation investigation, with plans to hire more, according to his spokesman Peter Carr. Though some in the White House have preached caution, fearing a repeat of the firestorm over Comey's firing, many in Trump's orbit - including his son Donald Trump Jr. and adviser Newt Gingrich - have deemed Mueller biased and worthy of dismissal.
Details from some memos were made public in news media accounts in the days after he was sacked, and Comey himself detailed his conversations with Trump at a Senate hearing last week.
President Trump confirmed Friday he is under investigation for the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel last month to lead the inquiry into Russia's meddling in last year's USA presidential campaign and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in that effort.
In another tweet, Trump called it "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people!" Most legal experts believe that represents an obstruction of justice. He is reportedly interviewing three top intelligence officials - Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and retired deputy NSA director Richard Ledgett - as part of the probe as early as this week.
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He said there was no date for when Mr Duterte would resume his official duties, although he insisted the president was healthy. So, you know, it has been really brutal so we have to allow him this kind of rest", the spokesperson maintained.
Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who met with the special counsel a day earlier, said, "I have a lot of confidence in Mueller".
"They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story", he wrote on Twitter.
Mueller's investigation appeared to be reaching a broadening circle of current and former officials.
"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.
Several congressional panels are also investigating the Russian Federation issue, which has cast a shadow over the early months of Trump's presidency. Trump later contradicted his own staff, saying on May 11 he had the Russian Federation issue in mind when he fired Comey.
Comey told Congress last week that he leaked his memos of his conversations Trump to a friend after a tweet by the president suggested he may have taped the conversations.
Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit - and potentially end - his presidency.
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