Trump wants to ‘get on’ with Rus­sia probe

Says he has noth­ing to hide, won’t fire Mueller

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVE BOYER

Pres­i­dent Trump said Thurs­day he won’t fire spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller and wants the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor to “get on” with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion of Trump as­so­ci­ates with Rus­sia.

“No, I’m not dis­miss­ing any­body,” Mr. Trump told re­porters at his golf club in Bed­min­ster, New Jersey. “I mean, I want them to get on with the task. But I also want the Se­nate and the House to come out with their find­ings.”

The pres­i­dent, whose al­lies have crit­i­cized Mr. Mueller’s in­ves­tiga­tive team as par­ti­san, re­it­er­ated that he has noth­ing to hide. “We have an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of some­thing that never took place,” Mr. Trump said.

The pres­i­dent also said he thought it was “pretty tough stuff” for FBI agents to raid the Vir­ginia home of his for­mer cam­paign man­ager, Paul Manafort, be­fore dawn as part of Mr. Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, per­haps his fam­ily was there,” Mr. Trump said. “They do that very sel­dom, so I was sur­prised to see it. I thought it was a very, very strong sig­nal, or what­ever.”

One of Mr. Trump’s pri­vate at­tor­neys, John Dowd, called last month’s Manafort raid “a gross abuse of the ju­di­cial process” and “an ex­tra­or­di­nary in­va­sion of pri­vacy.”

“Th­ese meth­ods are nor­mally found and em­ployed in Rus­sia not Amer­ica,” Mr. Dowd told the Wall Street Jour­nal.

Also Thurs­day, the law firm that was rep­re­sent­ing Mr. Manafort said he is seek­ing new coun­sel. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the WilmerHale law firm said as of Thurs­day, it “no longer rep­re­sents Mr. Manafort.”

“Mr. Manafort is in the process of re­tain­ing his for­mer coun­sel, Miller & Che­va­lier, to rep­re­sent him in the of­fice of spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said a state­ment from the firm.

Mr. Manafort, 68, faces an in­ten­si­fy­ing probe by Mr. Mueller. WilmerHale also em­ployed Mr. Mueller un­til he was ap­pointed spe­cial coun­sel in May to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that Trump as­so­ci­ates col­luded with Rus­sia to win the elec­tion.

The pres­i­dent said Mr. Manafort, who had busi­ness deal­ings with pro-Rus­sia in­ter­ests in Ukraine, is “a very de­cent man.”

“He’s like a lot of other peo­ple, prob­a­bly makes con­sul­tant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said. “Haven’t spo­ken to him for a long time, but I know him.”

Asked about his rocky re­la­tion­ship with At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, Mr. Trump said, “It is what it is. It’s fine. He’s work­ing hard on the border. I’m very proud of what we’ve done at the border.”

The pres­i­dent has crit­i­cized Mr. Ses­sions re­peat­edly in re­cent weeks as “weak,” an­gry that he re­cused him­self from any Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Mr. Trump also thanked, mock­ingly, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for ex­pelling more than 700 U.S. per­son­nel from Rus­sia in re­tal­i­a­tion for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­pelling sus­pected Rus­sian spies from the U.S. late last year and seiz­ing two Rus­sian-op­er­ated com­pounds.

“We’re try­ing to cut down our pay­roll and as far as I’m con­cerned I’m very thank­ful that he let go of a large num­ber of peo­ple be­cause now we have a smaller pay­roll,” Mr. Trump said. “There’s no real rea­son for them to go back. I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our pay­roll of the United States. We’re go­ing to save a lot of money.”

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