President Donald Trump has denied he is planning to fire Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Tensions have been rising between the White House and Robert Mueller’s inquiry.
On December 16, a lawyer for Donald Trump’s presidential transition group said thousands of emails had been unlawfully obtained by Robert Mueller’s team.
Responding to questions over the legal row, President Trump said it was “not looking good” and his people were “very upset”.
The president said, while returning from a weekend trip to Camp David: “I can’t imagine there’s anything on them, frankly, because, as we said, there’s no collusion.”
Donald Trump’s administration has denied working with Russia in the 2016 election and the president labeled the investigation “a witch hunt”.
Responding to a media question on the White House lawn on whether he was considering firing Robert Mueller amid his criticism, President Trump responded: “No, I’m not.”
Several Democratic lawmakers had expressed concern, and on December 15 the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, said he feared Republican members wanted to shut the probe down.
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Several former members of Donald Trump’s campaign team are facing charges as part of the investigation.
Kory Langhofer, a lawyer working for the Trump for America (TFA) group – who helped Donald Trump’s transition to the White House after his election, complained on December 16 after the group became aware Robert Mueller’s investigation had obtained tens of thousands of their emails.
He sent a letter to congressional committees claiming the records had been obtained unlawfully.
The TFA group had used the facilities, including email hosting, of a government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), in the period between Donald Trump’s election in November 2016 and inauguration in January.
In his letter, Kory Langhofer, says GSA staff “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications” to Robert Mueller’s investigation team.
The emails obtained reportedly involve 13 Trump transition officials, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI earlier this month.
The GSA, Kory Langhofer complains, “did not own or control the records in question” and maintains the constitutional rights of transition officials were violated.
A spokesperson for Robert Mueller said they had done nothing wrong.
Peter Carr said: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”
GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt has denied another of Kory Langhofer’s accusations, that the GSA gave assurances that requests for Trump transition records would go through the group’s lawyers.
Lenny Loewentritt told BuzzFeed that the transition group knew materials would have to be provided to law enforcement “therefore, no expectation of privacy can be assumed”.
Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell tweeted that the accusations were “another attempt to discredit Mueller as his #TrumpRussia probe tightens”.
US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to tip the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – a charge denied by both Moscow and the president.