Trump Was Previously Not Under Investigation. Now He Reportedly Is.
President bristles in wake of latest reporting, but what he calls a "witchhunt," political observers say is really Trump's own doing
In the letter announcing his former FBI director's termination last month, President Donald Trump went out of his way to thank James Comey for telling him "on three separate occasions" that he was not under investigation.
But according to new reporting by the Washington Post—which says that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III is "interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice"—Trump may no longer be able to cling to those previous assurances.
Citing officials familiar with the move, the Post notes how the widening of the federal probe to include the president's conduct "marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin." The report, largely based on unnamed officials, says that Mueller's team of investigators are also searching for any "evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates."
On Thursday morning, Trump lashed out at the story, tweeting: "They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice." In a subsequent tweet, he characterized the investigation as part of "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history."
At Vox, Ezra Klein details how the latest developments in the case exemplify how Trump continues to create his own legal troubles. "To Trump," Klein writes, "this is something 'they' did to him. In reality, of course, this is something Trump did to himself."
"Trump's resistance to taking responsibility for his actions is perhaps the single greatest threat facing his presidency," Klein concluded. "If he realized the damage he was doing to himself, he could perhaps stop doing it. But so long as he sees his problems as the product of an unfair 'WITCH HUNT,' he will continue to see his reckless, enraged reactions as a reasonable response, and so will continue destabilizing his presidency."