But it was released shortly after The Washington Post reported - citing unnamed USA officials familiar with the matter - that the business dealings of President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump administration's potential ties to Russia.
Mueller, who was appointed as special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17, is investigating possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, and related matters.
While the Washington Post previously reported Kushner's contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian development bank, were being examined, the report noted it wasn't clear at the time that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was scrutinizing Kushner's business deals. Question: How desperate are Trump's lawyers right now to walk back the apparent admission in his tweet above that he really is under investigation for obstruction?
But the president said the FBI's Russian Federation investigation was a key factor and that he had been planning to fire Comey before hearing from Rosenstein. The immediate effect of the tweet is to pressure Rosenstein to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. (The segment on Mueller's lawyers being far superior to Trump's is interesting too.) Exit quotation: "In the end, it could be that the president's impatience to get rid of Comey in order to shorten an investigation that he believed to be going nowhere resulted in a new investigation that could last the rest of Trump's time in office".
The request for records involves an array of Trump-linked figures, some of whom have popped up in a spate of Russian Federation stories.
Trump couldn't resist referring to the probe's "Witch Hunt" a half hour later in a tweet that touted the economic recovery during his young presidency.
Earlier this week, a close friend of the president's indicated Trump is considering firing Mueller.
That news was also reported by the Washington Post. Trump said he wanted to fire Comey for "showboating", among other charges.
The president didn't clarify what exactly he was referring to in the early morning tweet, however he has frequently described reports about possible ties between members of his campaign and Russian Federation as a "witch hunt".
"Any statement the president makes in any form can be evidence that can be used in an obstruction prosectuion", Turley said.
Baker's views didn't change, even as Comey told Trump a second and third time that he was not being investigated.
Honestly, I really hope he does try to fire him.
Comey testified last week that he also felt pressured to drop the Flynn probe. If firing Comey was indeed obstruction of justice, then, according to Trump's implicit logic, Rosenstein could be guilty of a crime of obstruction. "The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal", he said. Coats later told lawmakers he never felt pressured to intervene.
"The president is the president of the United States, so they are considered official statements of the president of the United States", Spicer said.