Trump tweets frustration with Russian Federation probe

The tweet was the first explicit concession by the president that Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the Russian Federation inquiry, had begun examining Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey last month.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump's conduct marks a major turning point in the almost 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.

Mueller is investigating whether anyone on Trump's campaign, or associated with it, with him or any of his businesses, may have had any illegal dealings with Russian officials or others with ties to the Kremlin, said one USA official familiar with the rough outlines of the probe and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rosenstein was also the author of a memo recommending the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, which the White House cited along with a memo from Sessions as the reason Trump fired Comey on May 9.

Comey told Congress last week that before being sacked, Trump pressured him to drop an investigation into his former national security advisor, Mike Flynn, who was forced to quit for lying about his links to Moscow.

In May, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to lead the probe.

Rosenstein now has such authority because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself on March 2 after revelations of previously undisclosed meetings with Russia's ambassador to Washington while he was a Trump campaign advisor. It also asks former transition officials to retain records related to five former Trump campaign associates: former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his deputy Rick Gates, former foreign policy adviser Carter Page, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser.

"You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history led by some very bad and conflicted people!" he said in an early morning tweet.

Trump's tweet comes less than a day after a odd statement from a senior official in his administration.

Trump may be referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who in a memo to Trump raised concerns over Comey's performance.

Trump did not respond to shouted questions from the media as he was leaving the White House lawns to board Marine One for the Joint Andres Air Force Base for his day-long trip to Florida.

The statements from both men come as Washington struggles to make sense of investigations into the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russian Federation - and the White House's ever-changing response to those investigations. Comey's firing likely will be part of that probe. Trump has called the investigation a "witch hunt". Although USA Today also noted that the tweet came shortly after a Washington Post report that Mueller's team is also investigating Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner's business dealings. However, I don't think an investigation of obstruction of justice would amount to an investigation for firing the FBI director.

The widened Russian Federation probe could have far-reaching repercussions for Trump's presidency, transforming his closest aides into witnesses and sucking yet more political oxygen out of the West Wing.

An unusual statement from the Department of Justice has many in Washington scratching their heads.

Beginning with the surprise of Donald Trump's November election, the narrative woven by Democrats and the media was that his shocking triumph was illegitimate because he worked with the Russians to "hack" and otherwise rig the election.

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