President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets on Sunday lashing out at the special counsel investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
In the tweets, Trump largely resurfaced previous issues he has with the investigation, claiming Mueller personally has conflicts of interest – including a “contentious business relationship” – that should preclude him from running the investigation, accusing Mueller of bringing on too many Democratic investigators, and making a false claim about the origin of the Russia investigation.
Trump’s statement comes after a week in which the President’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, authorized the release of a recording he made between himself and then-candidate Trump talking about a potential payment to a model who claims she had an affair with Trump. Cohen also claimed Trump knew about a 2016 meeting involving his campaign and a group of Russians who were expected to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton.
“There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!” Trump tweeted Sunday.
The President then turned to Mueller directly, tweeting, “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..”
“….Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama….And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?” Trump continued.
It’s true that Mueller was FBI director during the Obama administration, but he was first appointed to the position by President George W. Bush in 2001. When Mueller’s 10-year term was about to expire in 2011, President Barack Obama asked him to stay on the job for an additional two years, and the Senate unanimously approved that extension. Mueller is a registered Republican.
After Mueller’s appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee, the Department of Justice determined there was not an ethics conflict for Mueller in the investigation.
The New York Times, in January article detailing an attempt by Trump to fire Mueller last year that the President ultimately backed off from, said Trump claimed one of Mueller’s conflicts stemmed from a dispute over fees at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. A spokesman for Mueller told The Washington Post that there was no dispute when Mueller left the club.
As CNN has previously noted, records from the Federal Election Commission have shown some members of the special counsel team donated to Democrats.
Trump, in his tweets on Sunday, re-aired his incorrect assertion that the dossier of anti-Trump research compiled by former MI6 official Christopher Steele sparked the Russia investigation. However, the Russia investigation began in July 2016 when the FBI reacted to a tip from Australian officials who said George Papadopoulos told them about alleged Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to the Times. Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, has since pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI and is cooperating with the Mueller probe.
A memo from House Republicans released earlier this year also said the investigation was sparked by the Papadopoulos information.
A White House official told CNN last year that Trump interviewed Mueller as a potential replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump has tweeted repeatedly about “conflicts of interest” in the special counsel investigation and suggested the possibility of legal action in a May tweet. The Times reported on Thursday that Mueller was combing through Trump’s tweets as part of the probe into obstruction of justice.
Also on Sunday, Trump tweeted a threat to shut down the government if Congress did not provide money for his proposed border wall with Mexico and railed against the news media.
CNN’s Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.