WASHINGTON (AP) — In language that echoed that of his accusers and critics, President Donald Trump alleged on Twitter that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team was “MEDDLING” in the upcoming midterm elections and blamed Democrats for “Collusion.”
The tweet Tuesday was the latest example of the president co-opting the terminology of his accusers in an effort to tarnish political enemies.
It came as Mueller investigates allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether any Trump campaign aides colluded with the Kremlin to tip the outcome in the Republican candidate’s favor. So far, four Trump associates have been charged in Mueller’s investigation, and three — including former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn — have pleaded guilty.
Trump has repeatedly referred to Mueller’s team as “13 angry Democrats,” although Mueller is a Republican. Mueller was appointed by Trump’s deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and before that was named FBI director in 2001 by Republican President George W. Bush.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats.”
The tweet appeared to be a reference to the fact that multiple lawyers on Mueller’s team, before signing on for the assignment, contributed money to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the presidential election. The Justice Department is barred from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of political affiliation.
Later Tuesday morning, Trump appeared to be taking guidance from some of his advisers and supporters to heart, saying he needed to focus more of his attention on issues important to Americans and less on the Russia investigation.
“Sorry, I’ve got to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more, and not on the Rigged Russia Witch Hunt that should be investigating Clinton/Russia/FBI/Justice/Obama/Comey/Lynch etc.,” he tweeted.
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