‘Absolutely nuts’: Trump unleashes over probe
Donald Trump has unleashed an extraordinarily vitriolic Twitter rant over the Russia investigation as Democrats warned they would be tightening the screws.
The President tore into the party, who have promised to protect the probe and even launch more after winning the majority in the House of Representatives.
In a series of furious tweets, Mr Trump called the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller "a total mess" and claimed the White House was "running very smoothly". Insiders say just the opposite.
The President lashed out at "Democrat thugs" and "Angry People", slamming the "witch hunt" investigation into alleged collusion between his 2016 campaign team and Russia.
"They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want
He is particularly concerned the investigation will extend to his finances, and that he could be forced to reveal the tax returns he has refused to publish.
The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
....care how many lives the ruin. These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
Universities will someday study what highly conflicted (and NOT Senate approved) Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs have done to destroy people. Why is he protecting Crooked Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Lisa Page & her lover, Peter S, and all of his friends on the other side?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
The only “Collusion” is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC? They still don’t have it. Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are in favor of the Democrats. That’s the real Collusion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018
The billionaire businessman is in a much more precarious position than he was a week ago. His party performed worse in the midterms than was originally thought. His replacement of Attorney-General Jeff Sessions shows he is panicking about the Russia investigation and how far the Democrats will take it.
And economists are forecasting a recession could hit the US just in time for 2020, damaging his prospects.
In other signs of turmoil, the battle over the Florida election rages on, First Lady Melania shocked the world with a public call for the axing of Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, and insiders say the President is weighing a fresh shake-up of his Cabinet.
Mr Mueller, a former director of the FBI and a Vietnam War veteran, is leading one of the most explosive probes in US political history.
Mr Trump and his campaign are alleged to have received help from Russian agents seeking to help defeat his opponent Hillary Clinton or at least undermine confidence in US democracy.
The President has always denied any such links and rejected the idea that Moscow played a significant role in influencing the dramatic election.
But Mr Mueller has quietly chipped away, indicting several dozen people, most of them Russians. He has also charged four Trump associates, although on charges not directly related to the alleged Russian interference.
Now Washington is on tenterhooks while waiting for Mr Mueller, who works in near total secrecy, to issue his final report.
As expectations of a showdown mount, Mr Trump has become ever more defensive, his grim mood worsened by his Republican party's battering last week in the congressional elections.
Starting in January, Democrats say they will use House investigative committees to open further probes of Trump's businesses and his connections to Russia.
Republicans, with few exceptions, are rallying around the president. On Wednesday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent critic, joined Democratic Senator Chris Coons in an attempt to introduce a measure in the upper chamber to protect Mueller. However, it was blocked by Senate majority leader and key Trump ally Mitch McConnell.
Mr Whitaker's fired predecessor Mr Sessions, had formally stepped aside from any control over Mueller, so as to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Democrats want Sessions' replacement, Mr Whitaker, to do likewise, but there is no indication that he will.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has said that if Mr Whitaker refuses to recuse himself, Democrats will seek to attach legislation protecting Mr Mueller to a must-pass spending bill that will be up for consideration in the coming weeks.
"Last night, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to protect Mueller. This morning, Trump showed again why we need it," Adam Schiff, a Democrat in the House, tweeted.
"We will do everything in our power to protect the Mueller investigation, the independence of the Department of Justice, and the rule of law."