Politics

Trump says 'I am an innocent man,' calls special counsel Robert Mueller's probe 'illegal'

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump said he is "an innocent man."
  • Trump also claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and into Trump's campaign is "illegal."
  • The president lashed out days after his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen testified to a congressional committee about possible crimes by Trump and his company.
Donald Trump
Jim Urquhart | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Sunday said he is "an innocent man," and also claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is "illegal."

Trump, in a double-barreled Twitter rant lashed out at his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, Democrats, Mueller, the "Fake Media," and an unnamed "other."

He claimed incorrectly that Cohen had testified to a congressional committee last week to reduce his three-year prison term. Cohen noted during his testimony that any so-called Rule 35 motion he files to have his prison sentence reduced would be contingent on information he is sharing with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, not on the congressional hearing.

Trump also said that Cohen's testimony "proved" that Trump's campaign did not collude with Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. During his testimony last week, Cohen said he did not have direct knowledge of any collusion the Trump campaign with Russian "but I have my suspicions." Cohen is not the only person who would have knowledge of possible collusion.

Additionally, Trump claimed that Cohen has writen a "book manuscript" that the media refuses to show.

Cohen testified about multiple potentially criminal acts by the president and by his company, related hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and alleged artificial inflation and deflation of Trump Organization assets. Cohen is due to begin a three-year federal prison sentence in May for multiple crimes, some of which relate to his work for Trump.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday on ABC News's "This Week" that he believes that Trump obstructed justice. Nadler, D-NY, also said his committee, which would lead any impeachment effort against Trump, will request documents from more than five dozen people in the president's circle, including his son Donald Trump Jr. and top Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg.

Trump has for nearly two years angrily complained about Mueller's ongoing probe of Russian election tampering and of possible collusion by the Trump campaign in that interference, as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Since being appointed special counsel in spring 2017, Mueller has obtained guilty pleas to a range of crimes from mulitple people who worked for Trump or his campaign: Cohen, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, former campaign chair Paul Manafort, ex-campaign and inaugural official Rick Gates, and former foreign policy advisor George Papadopolous.

Mueller earlier this year charged Trump friend Roger Stone with lying to Congress and other crimes.

No judge has found Mueller's probe or resultant criminal cases to be illegal, despite the president's claims that the investigation is not legal.

Since Trump has been president, he has appointed two attorney generals to head the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions and William Barr, and acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker. Sessions recused himself from supervising authority over Mueller, which was handled in his stead by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

None of those men has ever moved to end Mueller's probe.