Russian Federation probe causes tension among top officials at Justice Department

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He testified that he leaked information about the notes through a friend to the Times to increase pressure for the appointment of a special prosecutor after he concluded Trump's administration "defamed" him and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after his May 9 firing. An official of Trump's transition confirmed the lawyer's internal order, which was sent Thursday.

In a tweet, the President also accused the U.S deputy attorney general of pursuing a "witch hunt". "My decision", Trump told Holt, a day after the White House had said the president fired Comey based on a recommendation from Rosenstein.

Harvard law professor Noah Feldman argues in a Bloomberg View article that Trump's tweet could force Rosenstein's recusal because of his suggestion that Comey's firing was Rosenstein's idea.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself, Rosenstein is the Justice Department official directly responsible for matters relating to the investigation of Russian interference in the USA presidential election of 2016, including any possible role played by people associated with Donald Trump's campaign.

In a May 9 memo, Rosenstein lambasted then-FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The White House has directed questions to outside legal counsel, which has not responded.

Administration officials and the president's advisers are anxious Trump's tweets and public statements about the Russian Federation probe will trigger additional damaging leaks, but they said he can not stop talking about the investigation, reported Politico. The order also covers separate inquiries into several key Trump associates including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, campaign adviser Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone.

The transition official said the organization has also separately asked the General Services Administration to preserve records from the Trump transition that were transferred to its facilities after the inauguration.

Earlier this week, the investigation led by Mueller appeared to move closer to Trump.

"With this in mind please immediately suspend any deletion, modification, overwriting, or other possible destruction of the information described above, including electronic information, and take all reasonable measures to preserve this information", the memo said, according to the Times.

Recent news reports have suggested Trump sought all three officials' help in pressuring FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.

This is what he said in May.

A source on Trump's legal team attempted to clarify the missive, claiming he was reacting to media reports about the investigation rather than offering public confirmation.

"Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russian Federation are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?" he asked at one point. "If the President tries to fire him to diminish or stop this investigation, I would hope that finally there would be a bipartisan uproar against it". And it's no secret that Trump has surrounded himself with people who make their money in ways that, at first glance, look pretty damn suspicious.

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