Political News

Trump Criticizes Investigators, Citing ‘Unrevealed Conflicts of Interest’

Posted May 7, 2018 1:51 p.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2018 1:54 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump trained his rancor on federal investigators Monday and appeared to warn that negative material would emerge about the prosecutors leading the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

In a series of Twitter posts Monday, the president said the investigation was being run by Democrats and raised the question of whether the special counsel’s work was being drawn out to influence the outcome of the upcoming midterm congressional elections when Democrats could win enough seats to take control of the House and possibly the Senate.

“Just wait ‘till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest,” Trump wrote in one of the early morning tweets.

The veiled threat to the special counsel leading the inquiry and the suggestion of bias comes at a time when Trump’s legal team seems to be struggling to present a consistent message to the American public.

The Republicans could lose control of the House and possibly the Senate in the upcoming elections, in part because of growing disapproval of the job Trump is doing. Trump’s approval rating is at 41 percent, the lowest of presidents at this point in their first terms since former President Jimmy Carter, who had a 40.5 percent approval rating at a comparable time in his administration.

There is no indication that the special counsel investigation, led by Robert Mueller, is being deliberately drawn out to manipulate votes. The special counsel’s office Monday declined to comment on Trump’s question.

Trump regularly attacks the ongoing investigation, as he did Monday, and has considered firing Mueller — a looming threat that has divided the Republican Party.

Trump has recently taken the position that what the special counsel is investigating as possible obstruction of justice is, in reality, Trump fighting back against what he considers to be false accusations.

The president has said that the investigation is led by Democrats, even though Mueller is a longtime Republican.

In another tweet Monday, Trump said the Russia investigation is “rapidly losing credibility” and referred to the Republican findings of the House Intelligence Committee — specifically that in a yearlong investigation, Republicans on the committee found there was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. Democrats on the committee issued a dissenting document.

Last year, the chairman of the panel, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., stepped away from leading the Russia investigation over questions about his own credibility to run a fair and bipartisan inquiry.

Trump has previously railed about 13 “hardened” Democrats on the special counsel team. At least 17 of the attorneys on the team have contributed to Democratic campaigns, according to records maintained by the Federal Election Commission. And three of the attorneys are registered Democrats, according to reports in The Washington Post and PolitiFact. But the political leanings of the other 14 are unclear.

On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, also suggested there are problems with the government’s investigation.

“There’s no question that the amount of government misconduct is accumulating,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I happen to believe it’s greater than anybody realizes. Very embarrassing to my former Justice Department.”

Giuliani referenced a federal judge’s recent criticism of the special counsel’s fraud case against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The judge, T.S. Ellis III, said Friday that Mueller was more interested in Manafort providing incriminating details about Trump than he is in Manafort’s fraud charges.