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In Weekend Tweets, Trump Lashes Out At Russia Influence Probe


President Trump has some choice words for the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, words like witch hunt and fake dossier and no collusion. The president tweeted all of that this weekend. He criticized Mueller's investigation into possible links between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign. And then on Saturday, Trump's personal attorney, John Dowd, called for the investigation to be shut down entirely. NPR's Tamara Keith is here with more. She's our White House correspondent, and she hosts the NPR Politics podcast. Hi, Tam.


KING: So this seems like a much more aggressive posture from the president and his legal team than what we've been seeing.

KEITH: Especially from the president. You know? Up until this point, he has not called out Robert Mueller by name in tweets or otherwise. And now he is calling out Mueller by name, affiliating his name with the all-caps WITCH HUNT, exclamation point, in tweets, saying the probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. Those are President Trump's words. Meanwhile, his lawyer, John Dowd, said he was speaking for himself, but he said that the investigation should just be ended on the merits. But then (laughter), but then...

KING: There's always a but then (laughter).

KEITH: Yeah. The White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, who is - he is the lawyer charged with dealing with this special counsel investigation from within the White House, he put out a statement saying that once again, yet again - and he's put out this statement before - the president is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel Robert Mueller.

KING: I mean, there has been a tremendous amount of turnover at the White House in recent weeks, and so this sparks some speculation - well, maybe Trump will try to get rid of Mueller. Do you think that there's any chance the president would try that? Or, is that a bridge too far?

KEITH: Well, that is not a question I can answer for myself. But, you know, Republican members of Congress were out on the Sunday shows. Some said there's no way he would do that. Others issued some pretty stern warnings, including Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, who said that if the president were to try to push Mueller out, it would be the beginning of the end of the presidency. However, it is important to point out that we haven't heard much from Republican leadership. So although there are warnings coming from people like Senator Lindsey Graham, who's sort of a usual suspect, we aren't yet hearing from the top leaders of the Republican Party.

KING: Do we know anything at this point about the status of this investigation? The president wants it to end quickly. So does his legal team. Is it likely to?

KEITH: We don't have any answers on that because it is sort of a black box. Robert Mueller isn't showing his cards. But what we can say is that he has already secured a number of significant indictments and has cooperating witnesses. So this is a serious investigation that is underway and moving with haste.

KING: Tamara Keith covers the White House for NPR. Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.