The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.
Marc Kasowitz, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations.
A longtime friend of President Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials. The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility.
Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland say they will sue President Trump on Monday, alleging that he has violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since moving into the White House.
“When he tells you to do something, guess what? There's no ambiguity in it, there's no, 'Hey, I'm hoping,'“ 39-year-0ld Mr Trump said. – “You and I are friends: 'Hey, I hope this happens, but you've got to do your job.' That's what he told Comey. – “And for this guy [Comey] as a politician to then go back and write a memo: 'Oh, I felt threatened.' He felt so threatened — but he [President Trump] didn't do anything.”
Former New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who led several high-profile corruption cases until President Donald Trump fired him in March, said there is “absolutely” enough evidence to launch an obstruction of justice case against President Trump for his firing of FBI chief James Comey. “No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction," Bharara said. “[But] there's no basis to say there's no obstruction.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was scheduled to testify publicly next Tuesday before the House and Senate appropriations committees. On Saturday, he abruptly canceled. In letters to the chairmen of the committees, Sessions writes that he will send his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to the hearing instead. In explaining the cancellation, Sessions writes that he believed that members of the committees were planning on asking him about “issues related to the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election.”
The hard-charging New York lawyer President Trump chose to represent him in the Russia investigation has prominent clients with ties to the Kremlin, a striking pick for a president trying to escape the persistent cloud that has trailed his administration. Marc E. Kasowitz’s clients include Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to President Vladimir Putin and has done business with Trump’s former campaign manager. Kasowitz also represents Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, U.S. court records show.
Former FBI director James B. Comey said in dramatic testimony Thursday he could not trust President Trump to tell the truth, leading him to take extraordinary steps to document their private conversations, and to make public the details to spur the appointment of a special counsel to probe the a1dministration over possible links to Russia.
President Trump on Friday accused James B. Comey, the fired F.B.I. director, of lying under oath to Congress, saying he would gladly provide sworn testimony disputing Mr. Comey’s charge that the president forced him out because of his handling of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.