- President Trump unleashes on special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation.
- The tweets come as Mueller is set to release new information about close Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
- Trump claims Mueller has conflicts of interest. The president also criticizes some of his favorite targets, including James Comey and Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump unleashed his rage on Robert Mueller's Russia investigation Friday morning as the special counsel prepared to release new information about close associates of the president who have pleaded guilty to federal crimes.
In a series of tweets, Trump aired the many grievances he has repeatedly lodged against the probe. The president tried to paint Mueller and his team as conflicted. He spewed venom at some of his favorite targets, including former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The tweets come as the investigation has dragged on longer, and has come far closer to the White House, than the president would like. They show a president concerned about the probe's revelations and determined to discredit its findings.
Mueller is expected to file new disclosures Friday about former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and the president's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who have entered guilty pleas in the investigation. The special counsel is set to recommend a sentence for Cohen, who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The special counsel is also expected to detail why he accused Manafort of breaking his plea deal, related to charges of tax fraud and money laundering, by lying to investigators.
The filings will cap a week of major developments in the probe. In a heavily redacted memo, Mueller recommended a light sentence for Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who he said provided "substantial assistance" in ongoing criminal investigations. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials.
In his tweets Friday, Trump accused Mueller of having a conflict of interest because of his friendship with Comey, who succeeded him as FBI director. Comey and Mueller weren't known to be particularly close friends, although they reportedly had a working friendship. Trump's decision to fire Comey last year as he carried out the Russia investigation partly led to the special counsel's appointment. Comey is slated to appear before House members at 10 a.m. ET Friday in a closed-door session.
The president also claimed he does not know Jerome Corsi, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who recently predicted Mueller could indict him. However, Corsi claimed last month that he has phone records showing he spoke four or five times to Trump in 2011, as they discussed the "birther" smear against President Barack Obama, according to NBC News.
Trump questioned what Mueller would include in a long rumored report that he could release to summarize the investigation, which the president again called a "total Witch Hunt." The special counsel may not release an actual report about the probe.
He claimed Mueller had conflicts and again accused the ex-FBI director and his team of being Democrats who support his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton. While three of Mueller's lawyers made contributions to Clinton, according to Politifact, Republican President George W. Bush appointed the special counsel as FBI director.
Mueller is a lifelong Republican. Rosenstein, who appointed him as special counsel, is also a longtime registered Republican. Comey was a Republican, as well, until only recently.
Trump also again claimed that Mueller should look into Clinton, rather than the president.
The special counsel's office declined to comment on Trump's tweets.
Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Moscow.