Trump admits he's being investigated

This article is more than 12 months old

US president takes swipe at deputy attorney-general for leading a 'witch hunt'

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump acknowledged publicly for the first time that he is under investigation in the expanding inquiry into Russian influence in the election.

He appeared to attack the integrity of the Justice Department official in charge of it, The New York Times reported.

In a tweet, Mr Trump declared he was "being investigated" for his decision to fire Mr James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director. And he appeared to accuse Mr Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney-General, of leading a "witch hunt".

Mr Trump tweeted: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt".

Mr Rosenstein had written a memo the White House used to justify the firing of Mr Comey, BBC reported. He took over the investigation after Attorney-General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March.

Mr Rosenstein later appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.

Reuters quoted ABC News yesterday as saying that Mr Rosenstein has privately acknowledged that he may need to recuse himself from matters relating to the Russia probe, given that he could become a potential witness in the investigation.

ABC said Mr Rosenstein told Associate Attorney-General Rachel Brand that she would have authority over the probe if he were to step aside.

Mr Trump's transition team has been ordered to preserve materials related to investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the election, The New York Times reported yesterday.

The order comes as US Vice-President Mike Pence's office said he had hired Mr Richard Cullen, chairman of law firm McGuireWoods, to help him respond to inquiries from Mr Mueller, a spokesman said.

Mr Cullen is a former federal prosecutor who has ties to Mr Comey.

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