President Donald Trump’s mood has become “sour and dark” and he has become upset with most of his aides, including his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing sources.
Latest developments surrounding the president are said to be the reason behind his mood souring.
Former FBI director James Comey, whom the president fired last week, is said to have a February memo alleging Trump asked him to drop a probe into ex-national security adviser Michael T. Flynn’s ties to Russia.
Reports have also claimed the president divulged classified information, provided by Israel, to Russian officials.
According to the Times, Trump’s staff was "confused and squabbling." Two advisers told the newspaper the president described most of his aides, including Kushner, as “incompetent.” Kushner’s appointment as Trump’s triggered uproar in the country and many claimed the president broke the nepotism law by hiring his son-in-law.
Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, who is assistant to the president, will accompany Trump on his first foreign trip since assuming the office, Politico reported Tuesday. Trump will travel May 19 to the Middle East and Europe.
The 70-year-old president attracted criticism for firing Comey on May 9. The White House said the decision was taken over his handling of investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. There was speculation however on whether his dismissal was related to the fact he led a probe into Russia’s ties to Trump’s associates.
At the time, several White House officials and Vice President Mike Pence said Trump removed Comey as the bureau’s director following the Justice Department's recommendation to do so. However, Trump refuted that by saying the decision was solely made by him and he would have done so irrespective of the recommendation.
On Tuesday, the Times reported, citing Comey’s memo, Trump told the latter to let go of the investigation against Flynn.
“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump reportedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
However, the White House denied the claim and issued a statement saying: “While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. The president has utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey."
If Trump indeed told Comey to drop the investigation, he could be held responsible for obstruction of justice, according to independent Sen. Angus King of Maine.
“If that's true and confirmed, I think you're getting very close to the legal definition of obstruction of justice,” King told CNN on Tuesday. “Reluctantly, I have to say yes, because obstruction of justice is a serious offense," he further added.
“I say it with sadness and reluctance. This is not something I have advocated for, or the word has not passed my lips in this whole tumultuous three or four months,” the Senate intelligence committee member who caucuses with Democrats said.
“If indeed the president tried to tell FBI director who worked for him that he should drop an investigation, whether it was Michael Flynn or whether it was some investigation that had nothing to do with Russia or politics or the election. That’s a very serious matter.”