Trump lashes out after report says he’s being investigated for possible obstruction of justice

President Trump on Thursday dismissed a bombshell Washington Post report that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating him for obstruction of justice.

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story,” the president tweeted. “Nice.”

“You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history — led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Trump added in an apparent jab at Mueller. “#MAGA.”

The tweets appeared to be a reaction to a “Fox & Friends” segment on the Post’s report. In recent days, Trump allies, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have argued that Mueller is too close to former FBI Director James Comey to investigate Trump’s firing of him. (A White House official said Tuesday that Trump interviewed Mueller as a potential replacement for Comey the day before he was tapped as special counsel.)

On Wednesday night, the newspaper reported that Mueller, who is overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is “interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.”

According to the paper, National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats, National Security Director Mike Rogers and ex-Deputy National Security Director Richard Ledgett have agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators.

Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden last week. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden last week. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The story cited as sources five people “who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.”

The White House has been referring all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, who responded to the report by condemning the “FBI leak.”

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” a spokesman for Kasowitz told the Post.

The newspaper did not report receiving information from the FBI.

Related: Coats sidesteps questions on Trump, Russians

The obstruction probe was launched by Mueller shortly after Trump fired Comey, the Post reported. Last week, Comey testified before the Senate intelligence committee that he believed the president fired him because of the Russia investigation.

Earlier this week, a pair of Trump’s closest confidants — Gingrich and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy — said they believed the president was considering firing Mueller.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Ruddy, a longtime friend of the president, told PBS’ Judy Woodruff. “I think he’s weighing that option.”

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

The speculation sparked a mini-firestorm in Washington, with some Republicans warning the president not to dismiss Mueller.

“It would be a disaster,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday night. “There’s no reason to fire Mueller. What’s he done to be fired?”

Related slideshow:James Comey testifies at Senate hearing

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said that if Trump booted Mueller, it would “certainly be an extraordinarily unwise move.”

Gingrich, who initially called Mueller’s hiring a “superb choice,” tweeted Thursday that the special counsel is “now clearly the [tip] of the deep state spear aimed at destroying or at a minimum undermining and crippling the Trump presidency.”

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Tuesday that “while the president has the right to” fire Mueller, “he has no intention to do so.”

But the New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump has been privately “entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe.”

“For now, the staff has prevailed,” the Times said. “But people close to Mr. Trump say he is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind about Mr. Mueller.”

Late Thursday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter again to rip the Post report — which was corroborated by NBC News earlier in the day.

“Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?” the president tweeted. “Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, ‘bleached’ emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared — & they talk about obstruction?”

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