Trump tweets ac­cuse Mueller of pick­ing on Repub­li­cans

The Guardian - - WORLD - Martin Pen­gelly

Don­ald Trump at­tacked the spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller hours be­fore he was to de­liver de­tails on how two of the pres­i­dent’s clos­est for­mer aides have helped or hin­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and Trump’s 2016 cam­paign.

In a se­ries of an­gry tweets Trump at­tacked Mueller – as he has done fre­quently – and al­leged he was pick­ing on only Repub­li­cans in his in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Trump said Mueller had nu­mer­ous “con­flicts of in­ter­est” and ac­cused him of ig­nor­ing Democrats, and es­pe­cially his 2016 op­po­nent, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Mueller ac­cused Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man, Paul Manafort, last month of breach­ing a plea bar­gain deal by ly­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, and he will sub­mit in­for­ma­tion on those al­leged lies in a fil­ing to a fed­eral court in Wash­ing­ton. That could in­clude shed­ding new light on Manafort’s busi­ness deal­ings or his con­sult­ing work for pro-Krem­lin in­ter­ests in Ukraine.

Manafort, who main­tains he has been truth­ful with Mueller, man­aged Trump’s cam­paign for three months. Also on Fri­day, Mueller’s of­fice and the south­ern dis­trict of New York were due to file sen­tenc­ing memos on Michael Co­hen, Trump’s for­mer pri­vate lawyer.

Co­hen pleaded guilty to fi­nan­cial crimes in a New York court in Au­gust and last week to ly­ing to Congress in a Mueller case. Sen­tenc­ing for both cases will be han­dled by one judge.

At­ten­tion will fo­cus on whether Mueller dis­closes new in­for­ma­tion to sup­ple­ment Co­hen’s ad­mis­sion last week that he sought help from the Krem­lin for a Trump sky­scraper in Moscow late into the 2016 cam­paign.

Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion has in­fu­ri­ated Trump. He de­nies col­lu­sion be­tween his team and Rus­sia, and ac­cuses Mueller’s pros­e­cu­tors of pres­sur­ing for­mer aides to lie. Trump has called Co­hen a liar and “weak per­son”.

Re­nato Mar­i­otti, a for­mer fed­eral prose­cu­tor, said he was ea­ger to see whether Mueller’s pros­e­cu­tors di­rectly or tac­itly sup­port Co­hen’s as­ser­tions that Trump di­rected him to make hush pay­ments to women in vi­o­la­tion of cam­paign fi­nance law and that he let the White House know what he planned to tell Congress about the Moscow sky­scraper pro­ject. Co­hen now says he lied in that tes­ti­mony.

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