Trump rages against ‘leaks’ and ‘Special Council’ Mueller’s investigation in tweetstorm

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President Donald Trump.
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    President Donald Trump unleashed a series of tweets Saturday morning. Trump took aim at intelligence leaks, the media, ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the GOP’s floundering healthcare effort. Trump’s tweets come on the heels of multiple reports indicating that special counsel Mueller’s investigation has widened in scope.

President Donald Trump kicked off Saturday morning with a series of tweets attacking leaks, the media, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer last June, and the GOP’s stalled healthcare effort.

“A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions,” Trump tweeted. “These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!”

He was likely referencing a Friday Washington Post report which said Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about matters related to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. The report cited communications between Kislyak and Moscow that had been intercepted by US spy agencies and relayed to The Post.

Trump later tweeted, “The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security.” It’s unclear what Trump was referring to, but CBS News noted that he sent the tweet shortly after Fox & Friends, a show Trump frequently praises, aired a chyron that said, “NYT FOILS U.S. ATTEMPT TO TAKE OUT AL-BAGHDADI.”

Trump also touched on his power to pardon as president, but wondered why that would need to be addressed “when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.” He followed up with, “FAKE NEWS.”

The tweet came on the heels of another Washington Post report that said Trump’s legal team was exploring the limits of his pardoning power, and that Trump had reportedly raised the question of whether he could pardon himself. There is no constitutional precedent addressing whether a president can pardon himself, but legal experts said that if Trump did use his pardoning power in that way, it would prompt a legal and political firestorm.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton finish their third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016.
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REUTERS/Mike Blake

“This is a fiercely debated but unresolved legal question,” Brian C. Kalt, a constitutional law expert at Michigan State University who has written extensively on the question, told The Post. “There is no predicting what would happen,” Kalt said, adding that if Trump did seek to pardon himself, the issue would likely go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Trump also took aim at the attorney general and special counsel for not investigating former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes,” he tweeted. “33,000 e-mails deleted?”

He followed up: “What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.”

“My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!” Trump tweeted.

Trump said in November, just after he won the election, that he did not “feel very strongly” about pursuing criminal charges against Clinton.

Sessions recused himself from any current and future investigations into the Trump campaign in March, when it first emerged that he’d had undisclosed contacts with Kislyak. Trump told The New York Times that if he’d known Sessions would recuse himself, he would have nominated someone else for the position.

Trump’s tweet attacking the special counsel’s investigation also came after reports indicated that Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia had expanded to include the president’s past business dealings, and potentially his tax returns as well. The Post reported that Trump was especially incensed after finding out that Mueller could access his tax returns, which he has repeatedly refused to make public. The report added that Trump’s team was looking for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation or narrow the scope of his inquiry.

Trump also urged Republican senators to ramp up their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, former president Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. “The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace,” Trump tweeted. “Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!”

“ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction,” he added. “It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!”

Senate Republicans’ efforts to repeal Obamacare floundered earlier this week, and current attempts to repeal the law and replace it later also appear to be in peril.