WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the ongoing investigations into allegations of Russia interference in the 2016 election (all times local):
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says she is “increasingly concerned” that President Donald Trump will attempt to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Mueller is investigating Russian interference in U.S. elections and possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign. Trump confirmed in a tweet Friday he was under investigation and appeared to take aim at Rosenstein, calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Trump’s tweets are sending a message “that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired.”
She said Trump has “embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light” and the Senate shouldn’t let that happen.
Feinstein also is a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, which is conducting its own Russia probe.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a public hearing next week to gather more information on Russia’s interference in last year’s elections.
Wednesday’s session will focus on Russia’s efforts to hack into state election systems, potential threats in upcoming election cycles, and whether states are well positioned to respond to those threats.
The panel is conducting both open hearings and closed sessions as it investigates Russian efforts to influence last year’s campaign. The intelligence committee is the lead congressional panel on the Russia hacking scandal, including highly publicized hearings with fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Next week’s witnesses include officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, election officials, and an expert on election security.
The top lawyer for the Trump transition team has ordered the organization’s staff to preserve all records and other materials related to the widening investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian representatives.
The move ordered Thursday by the transition’s general counsel cast a wide net on documents tied to the Russia investigation as well as inquiries into the activities of Trump associates. Those associates include former national security adviser Michael Flynn, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone.
The move was confirmed by a transition official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss post-election decisions.
The order came the same day that Vice President Mike Pence hired an outside lawyer to represent his legal interests.
President Donald Trump says he is being investigated for firing FBI Director James Comey by the man who told him to do it.
In his latest tweet, the president seemed to confirm he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. It wasn’t clear whether he was basing his tweet on direct knowledge or on media reports.
The president wrote, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Trump may be referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who in a memo to Trump raised concerns over Comey’s performance. But Robert Mueller has been appointed special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
There has been no indication that Mueller told Trump to fire Comey.
President Donald Trump says the economy is improving and job numbers are up, despite the “phony Witch Hunt” against him.
The president tweeted Friday, “Despite the phony Witch Hunt going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!”
U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in May by adding only 138,000 jobs, though the gains were enough to help nudge the unemployment rate down to a 16 year-low.
The Labor Department this month that the jobless rate fell to 4.3 percent the lowest level since 2001, from 4.4 percent. Still, the rate declined mainly for a less-than-encouraging reason: People stopped looking for work in May and so were no longer counted as unemployed.
President Donald Trump is touting his social media following, saying he can deliver his message directly to voters instead of going through the “fake news media.”
The president tweeted Friday, “The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them.”
Trump is an avid user of Twitter, with over 32 million followers on his personal account and more than 18 million people on the official presidential account. He also has millions of followers on his official Facebook pages.
Not all of Trump’s social media followers are supporters. And Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized his use of Twitter, particularly amid the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump says it’s “sad” that seven months of investigations and hearings into possible links between his campaign and Russia have been fruitless.
The president tweeted Friday, “After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my ‘collusion with the Russians,’ nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!”
His comments follow revelations that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. Mueller is now leading the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has called The Washington Post report a “phony story” and a “WITCH HUNT.” He has questioned why investigators don’t dig into the links between the Democrats and the Russian government, including his general election opponent, Hillary Clinton.