Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Trump lawyer says president not under investigation, despite tweets

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer said on Sunday that Trump is not under investigation in the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential race, a statement that appeared to contradict a comment Trump himself made on Twitter last week.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer who is part of a team hired by Trump to deal with allegations of collusion by his campaign with Moscow, made the rounds on Sunday talk shows to cast doubt on media reports citing unnamed sources – and to add nuance to a straightforward claim Trump made on Friday that he was under investigation.

“The fact of the matter is the president has not been and is not under investigation,” Sekulow said on CBS’ Face the Nation – in one of four interviews he gave on Sunday – adding that the president has not received any notification that he is being investigated.

On Friday, Trump had tweeted: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”

Trump, who has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia, has frequently lashed out about the allegations, which have overshadowed his administration’s efforts to overhaul the healthcare system, cut taxes and boost jobs.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel named by the Justice Department to probe the Russia matter, is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump or his campaign had any illegal dealings with Russian officials or others with ties to the Kremlin. Russian officials have denied meddling in the US election.

A US official who is familiar with the rough outlines of the probe and who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters on Thursday that Mueller was also examining whether Trump or others tried to interfere with the investigation. 

Sekulow said that Trump, in his tweet, was reacting to a story in the Washington Post that was the first to report Mueller was examining whether Trump had tried to obstruct the probe by firing FBI director James Comey in May. 

On Fox News Sunday, Sekulow said that he was certain the president was not under investigation because he had received no notification or other indication that he was.

Pressed on the issue by host Chris Wallace, Sekulow acknowledged that he could not be certain. “I cannot read the mind of the special prosecutor,” Sekulow said.

“No one has notified us that he is under investigation,” Sekulow said. (Reuters)

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