President Donald Trump has once again lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, claiming broadly — and without any evidence — that the probe’s inner workings are “a total mess”.
Mr Trump unleashed the tirade on Twitter just over a week after midterm election losses delivered a rebuke to Mr Trump’s presidency by handing control of the House of Representatives back to Democrats for the first time in eight years.
Just after the elections Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted from his post, with Mr Trump having repeatedly criticised Mr Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the probe into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with Trump campaign officials. The firing prompted calls from newly emboldened Democrats and some Republicans to call for legislative protection for Mr Mueller’s probe.
“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,“ Mr Trump wrote. ”They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”
The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
He continued: “They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”
A bill that would have protected the special counsel investigation was blocked in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, who claimed that the there was no threat to the investigation from the president who has repeatedly sought to undermine the probe with his "witch hunt" taunts.
Democrats and some Republicans felt compelled to push for the legislation after Matthew Whitaker was named as acting attorney general following Mr Sessions’ departure.
Mr Sessions had to recuse himself from oversight of the investigation, citing his role in the 2016 Trump campaign. Mr Whitaker, though, has previously parroted the president’s language regarding the Mueller investigation, saying it could become a “witch hunt” and suggesting that the investigation could be hobbled without firing Mr Mueller if the budget is virtually eliminated.
Mr Whitaker has claimed he has no intention to cut the budget, and has reportedly consulted ethics experts on whether he should recuse himself from oversight of the investigation as Mr Sessions did.
Prior to this time, the investigation — which is rumoured to be preparing a new set of indictments — has been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.