A member of US President Donald Trump’s outside legal team on Sunday said that the president is not under federal investigation, days after Trump appeared to confirm he was with a tweet about being the target of a “witch hunt.”
Appearing on a series of morning news programs, attorney Jay Sekulow repeatedly stressed that “the president has not been and is not under investigation.”
He said a Friday tweet from Trump was specifically directed at a story in the Washington Post about the expanding probe into Russia’s election meddling.
As evidence, Sekulow said that Trump has not been notified of any investigation.
He also cited the testimony from former FBI director James Comey before the US Senate Intelligence Committee, in which Comey said he had told Trump he was not under investigation in the months leading up to his May 9 firing.
Asked about the possibility that an investigation has since developed and the president just does not know, Sekulow said: “I can’t read people’s minds, but I can tell you this, we have not been notified that there’s an investigation to the president of the United States. So that — nothing has changed in that regard since James Comey’s testimony.”
The Post last week reported that Robert Mueller — the last year’s US presidential election — was looking into whether Trump obstructed justice.
Mueller was appointed by US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has expansive powers to probe any matters that develop from his initial investigation.
Trump wrote on Twitter Friday: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
The message apparently referred to Rosenstein, whose role leading the federal investigation has become increasingly complicated.
Trump is under pressure to reveal whether he has any audio recordings of private conversations with Comey.
Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the panel — overseeing one of several congressional investigations — is looking forward to getting a response from the White House on whether recordings exist.
Schiff said he wants the White House to acknowledge the recordings or make clear there are no recordings and “it was an idle threat.”
Schiff also said he believes recent congressional testimony from Comey and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions points to signs of possible obstruction by Trump that warrant further investigation. Schiff cited the fact that the president at one meeting “cleared the room” of advisers and asked to speak to Comey alone.
Comey testified to Congress that Trump then asked him to back off the investigation into his fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“That signifies this president knew all too well that it was inappropriate,” Schiff said.
In a two-part tweet posted before 7am, Trump wrote: “The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt.”
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