Donald Trump characteristically tweeted his response to a Washington Post report indicating Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding Russia probe would now try to determine whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice. The story suggested Mueller would investigate Trump in regards to his sudden decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. And judging by the president’s latest tweet storm, he is none to happy about letting the man he reportedly considered firing pursue this line of inquiry.
“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story [and] found zero proof,” Trump tweeted angrily, “so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.” The president then indirectly described Mueller and those taking part in the Russia probe as “some very bad and conflicted people,” and repeated his oft-used, ALL CAPS phrase “WITCH HUNT” to downplay the story altogether.
Many took issue with Trump’s implied attack on Mueller. As Bradd Jaffy of NBC News noted, “Mueller was a decorated Marine officer, commanded a rifle platoon in Vietnam” and received the “Bronze Star and Purple Heart” for his military services. Washington Post editor Dan Eggen added, “And a registered Republican who ran the FBI for 12 years, including through [the] aftermath of 9/11.” Yet perhaps more intriguing — if not downright problematic — is the timing of the president’s tweets, which he published less than 24 hours after calling for unity following the Congressional baseball field shooting.
As Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Florida) told Morning Joe before Trump’s Thursday morning tweets, the president is “partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed.”
“[I worry] that we won’t learn from it. History’s a great teacher if we look back and actually examine it. If we examine [it], I would argue that the president is at least partially — again, not in any way totally — but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed. Whether it’s what I saw at a senior center back home in people saying ‘f you’ and ‘f you’ and ‘f you’ to each other… or with what happened. Again, not with what happened yesterday, but the fact that you’ve got the top guy saying, ‘I wish I could hit you in the face, and if not, why don’t you and I’ll pay your legal fees.’ That’s bizarre! We ought to call it as such.”
“I think we all need to look for ways to learn from what happened yesterday,” Sanford continued, noting that Wednesday’s shooting should be a wake-up call for all members of Congress, regardless of partisan lines. “To say, ‘Wait a minute. This is a pause moment. What might I do a little bit differently in the way that I reach out to other members?'” Considering Trump’s tactics concerning unconfirmed reports about Mueller’s third-party investigation, however, it seems the president didn’t get the memo.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 15, 2017