WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump contended Tuesday that prosecutors investigating his 2016 campaign's links to Russia "will be MEDDLING" in November's congressional elections.
Trump offered no explanation how he thinks the legal team of special counsel Robert Mueller would interfere with the voting for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a third of those in the 100-member Senate. Last week he suggested that the length of Mueller's year-long investigation could turn voters against candidates he favors and "put some hurt on the Republican Party."
Trump, in a string of Twitter comments, ignored the conclusion last week by his new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, that U.S. officials expect "continued efforts" by Russia to interfere with the congressional elections, just as the U.S. intelligence community concluded it did in the presidential election two years ago to help Trump win. With the congressional campaigns now in their early stages in many U.S. states five-plus months ahead of the voting, Pompeo said there is much work ahead to mitigate any Russian interference.
The top U.S. diplomat told a congressional hearing that the Trump administration would take "appropriate countermeasures" against any Russian interference in the congressional elections, but acknowledged officials have yet to figure out what "effective deterrence" might work.
As he often has, Trump complained in one tweet that Mueller's legal team includes "13 Angry Democrats," although Mueller is a Republican, once named to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Republican President George W. Bush.
"It's a Rigged Witch Hunt," Trump declared, questioning why prosecutors were not investigating his 2016 challenger, "the totally Crooked Campaign of totally Crooked Hillary Clinton. Ask them if they enjoyed her after election celebration!"
Mueller is in the midst of discussions with Trump lawyers about whether Trump will answer prosecutors' questions about his campaign's links to Russia and whether he obstructed justice a year ago by firing FBI director James Comey when he was leading the Russia investigation before Mueller, over Trump's objections, was appointed to take over.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor, said this week that any Trump sit-down with Mueller would not occur before the possible Trump summit June 12 with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Trump said he was "sorry" he was spending so much time on the Russia investigation and said he has "to start focusing my energy" on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, "bad Trade Deals," the economy and other issues.
In yet another tweet, the U.S. leader again assailed the national news media for its coverage of his campaign and his 16-month White House tenure.
"The Fake Mainstream Media has, from the time I announced I was running for President, run the most highly sophisticated & dishonest Disinformation Campaign in the history of politics," Trump said. "No matter how well WE do, they find fault. But the forgotten men & women WON, I'm President!"
Source: Voice of America