In a Friday morning tweet, President Donald Trump confirmed a recent Washington Post report that he is now under investigation, misdescribed what that investigation is about, blasted the investigation as a “witch hunt,” and appeared to attack his own deputy attorney general.
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This tweet is significant because the president is now openly admitting that he is “being investigated,” after insisting for most of this year, truthfully, that he was not. The investigation into Trump reportedly began shortly after he fired FBI Director James Comey.
And then we get to the inaccuracies.
First off, Trump is not just being investigated for “firing the FBI Director.” He is reportedly being investigated over whether he tried to obstruct law enforcement investigations into his associates or into the Russia matter. James Comey’s firing is part of this scandal, but there’s more to it than that — as you can see in my lengthy timeline of the events at the heart of the obstruction of justice investigation.
Second, by “the man who told me to fire the FBI Director” Trump appears to be referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. And Rosenstein did indeed write a letter to the president harshly criticizing Comey’s conduct and recommending new leadership for the FBI back in May.
But this mischaracterizes what has happened and what is happening. For one, Trump has publicly confirmed that he had already made up his mind to fire Comey and was going to do it regardless of what Rosenstein said, as he told NBC’s Lester Holt last month.
He [Rosenstein] made a recommendation, he’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him, the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation. But regardless of [the] recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. Knowing there was no good time to do it!
Furthermore, the problem is not merely that Trump fired Comey. It’s the phony justifications his administration gave for the firing, it’s Trump’s own belated confirmation that a major factor in the firing was the Russia investigation, and it’s the troubling pattern of Trump’s attempts to interfere with investigations into his associates before the firing.