Trump under investigation for obstruction of justice

Following the hearing, a White House spokeswoman said Trump "has no intention" of dismissing Mueller. In one memo, Comey said Trump tried to direct him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

U.S. President Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump attacked what he called a "phony story" on Thursday after a report that he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice by the special counsel probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Notably, Comey, in his carefully-worded statement, had also said that Trump's personal conduct - whether with regards to possible collusion with Russian Federation or possible obstruction of justice - was not under investigation while he was at the helm of the FBI.

Trump had received private assurances from former FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. After Comey's firing, the administration gave differing reasons for his dismissal.

The three officials the Post says Mueller is interviewing are Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Richard Ledgett, the recently retired deputy NSA director. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy and it's unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

Sessions, a close Trump adviser during the battle for the presidency, said in his opening statement that it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or participated in any collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump's legal team, denounced the Post report, saying on Wednesday: "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

A spokesman for Mueller's team declined to comment.

The letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to President Donald Trump to FBI Director James Comey is photographed in Washington, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, where Sessions says a "fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI".

Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two encounters previous year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It is doubtful the White House could ultimately use executive privilege to try to block them from speaking to Mueller's investigators.

According to the Post's sources, the Justice Department began an investigation into Trump's actions shortly after he dismissed Comey, which the president himself admitted was because of the Russian Federation investigation. Mueller's office has now taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.

Sessions insisted he stepped aside from the Russian Federation investigation because he was a principal adviser to the Trump campaign, not because he did something wrong or was a subject of the probe.

Sessions also pushed back against Comey's suggestion he may have failed to take appropriate steps to protect the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief from political pressure.

Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that he was certain his firing was due to the president's concerns about the Russian Federation probe, rather than over his handling of a now-closed FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, as the White House had initially asserted. Comey said the president then leaned on him to halt the Flynn investigation.

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