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Trump’s lawyer calls on Justice Department to immediately end Russia probe

By: Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker, The Washington Post
March 17, 2018 Updated: March 17, 2018 at 8:41 pm
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photo - Trump’s lawyer calls on Justice Department to immediately end Russia probe (The Associated Press)
Trump’s lawyer calls on Justice Department to immediately end Russia probe (The Associated Press) 

President Trump’s lawyer called on the Justice Department to immediately shut down the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, in the wake of the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Attorney John Dowd said in a statement that the investigation, now led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, was fatally flawed early on and “corrupted” by political bias. He called on Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees that probe, to shut it down.

“I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd said in an emailed statement.

Dowd told The Washington Post on Saturday he was speaking for himself and not on Trump’s behalf. Earlier Saturday, Dowd told the Daily Beast that he was speaking on behalf of the president and in his capacity as the president’s attorney. (After the Daily Beast published its story, Dowd emailed the publication and said he was not speaking on the president’s behalf.)

In a Saturday afternoon tweet, Trump reiterated his claim that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russians, and bemoaned what he described as “leaking, lying and corruption” in federal law enforcement agencies. But he stopped short of echoing Dowd’s call for an end to the Mueller probe.

Trump tweeted: “As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State. #DrainTheSwamp.”

Trump was referring to the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee’s announcement this past week that they were concluding their investigation of Russian interference in the election, though a separate investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee continues, as does Mueller’s probe.

Sessions late Friday night fired Mc­Cabe, a little more than 24 hours before McCabe was set to retire — a move that McCabe alleged was an attempt to “slander” him and undermine the ongoing special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign.

Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department inspector general and the FBI office that handles discipline had found “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”

An inspector general raised questions about McCabe’s discussions with reporters about a case related to Hillary Clinton.

If Dowd’s statement reflected Trump’s legal strategy, it would represent a significant shift in the president’s approach to the Mueller investigation.

Trump’s lawyers and spokesmen have long pledged that he and his White House staff would cooperate fully with Mueller’s probe. The White House has responded to requests for documents, while senior officials have sat for hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigators.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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