President Trump reacts to bad news by railing on Hillary Clinton’s emails
President Trump sought to turn around another day of bad news — from revelations of a newly impaneled grand jury, to leaked phone conversations with world leaders — by demanding that investigators probing the Russian election meddling scandal instead target Hillary Clinton.
“What the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails,” Trump said to huge cheers and chants of “Lock her up!” in West Virginia last night.
“And they should be looking at the paid Russian speeches ... and let them look at the uranium she sold that is now in the hands of very angry Russians.”
Trump held a campaign-style rally in this red state where he beat Clinton by more than 40 points, and whose governor, Democrat Jim Justice, announced prior to the speech that he was switching parties.
Trump tried to convince his supporters that Democrats are only pushing the Russia scandal to rob him of his election victory.
“They can’t beat us at the voting booths, so they’re trying to cheat you out of the future ... that you want,” Trump said. “We didn’t win because of Russia. We won because of you.”
“Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia or Ohio or Pennsylvania? Are there any Russians here tonight?” the president said.
Trump may need all the political support he can get.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in a sign the probe is widening and intensifying, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The grand jury began its work in “recent weeks,” according to the newspaper.
Reuters reported that grand jury subpoenas have been issued regarding the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that included Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, and ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Meanwhile, CNN, citing “people familiar with the investigation,” reported federal investigators working for Mueller “have seized on” Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia as “one of the most fertile avenues” in their probe.
All three stories about Mueller’s investigation broke within hours of one another, suggesting the former FBI chief may have several leakers on his staff.
Trump has already railed against Mueller’s team, pointing out their history of political contributions to Democrats and to Hillary Clinton.
A lawyer for Trump said he has no reason to believe the president himself is under federal investigation, and Ty Cobb, special counsel to the president, said the White House “favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions today is expected to unveil new efforts by the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute intelligence leaks — a move that can’t come soon enough for a White House that seems to be frequently blindsided by press reports of confidential material.
The Washington Post yesterday published transcripts of conversations Trump had with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The private phone conversations, which took place days after Trump took office, revealed his frustrations with both world leaders over the influx of migrants to the U.S. With Nieto, Trump pleaded with him to stop telling the media that Mexico won’t pay for the wall across the southern U.S. border, while insisting his campaign promise was “the least important thing we are talking about.”
With Turnbull, Trump fumed about an Obama administration agreement to take in 1,250 refugees detained off the coast of Australia.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.