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Trump rages at the Department of Justice for not protecting him from Russia probe: report

On a Thursday flight to a conference of world leaders in Switzerland, President Donald Trump went into a rage against law enforcement officials working inside the Department of Justice whom he sees as not doing enough to protect him from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election and the post-election byproducts of their meddling.

According to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs, Trump was upset about a letter that Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd had written to several House Republicans warning them that releasing a classified memo alleging large-scale deception within the FBI and DOJ about the Russia probe would be “extraordinarily reckless.”

In Trump’s view, this marked the latest in a series of slights from the DOJ, an agency which has not permitted him to interfere in law enforcement affairs.

In a December interview with the New York Times, Trump made clear that he believed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should be conducting his affairs with an eye toward keeping the president safe from legal jeopardy.

“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” Trump told the Times, referring to former attorney general Eric Holder. “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.”

According to Jacobs, Trump has directed Chief of Staff John Kelly to hold meetings and phone calls with several senior DOJ officials informing them of the president’s displeasure with the agency’s oversight of the investigation. He has seemingly tempered these conversations with a statement that the White House does not wish officials to engage in illegal or unethical behavior. Jacobs also reported that Trump had not issued a formal directive to fire Mueller but rather that he had discussed the possibility and believed he had the authority to do so.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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