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Trump sharpens attacks on Russia probe

Trump sharpens attacks on Russia probe

Republican senators warned President Donald Trump on Sunday not to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and said the president must let federal investigators looking into Russian meddling in the USA election do their jobs.

Meanwhile Mr Trump raised questions about the impartiality of the Mueller investigation team.

"Does anyone think this is fair?"

Another Republican, Senator James Lankford, said he does not believe Mr Trump would fire Mr Mueller.

With all eyes on the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General and its forthcoming report on the conduct of FBI officials during the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, Justice leadership chose to act on a subset of the IG's findings and fire McCabe without providing underlying details.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Sunday said deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe should have been able to retire instead of being fired just two days short of locking in his pension benefits.

In another tweet, Trump cited reports that McCabe said his interactions with the media were approved by superiors, but Comey testified to Congress that there were no news leaks during the Clinton investigation. "But the tweets confirm that he has corrupted the entire process that led to Mr. McCabe's termination and has rendered it illegitimate", he added.

Trump had warned last July that if Mueller broadened his inquiry to include the finances of the Trump Organization, it would be a "violation".

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has criticised Mr Trump harshly, said the president's latest comments appeared to be aimed at the firing of Mr Mueller.

But he has taken aim at the special counsel's large team of lawyers, who were selected for their experience in financial fraud, money laundering, corruption, bribery and organized crime.

"You seem to have forgotten, Mr. President, that there is at least one very notable Republican on Mueller's team - Mueller", said California Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

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The firing and Trump's response sparked outrage from Republicans, Democrats and former members of the intelligence community who have cast the decision to remove McCabe as something akin to a political hit-job.

A person familiar with the matter told The Washington Post that McCabe privately denies misleading anyone.

Graham added Mueller was "doing a good job".

Mueller, a Republican himself, was appointed Federal Bureau of Investigation director by a GOP president, George W. Bush.

Lawmakers, including heavyweights from Trump's own Republican Party, issued pointed warnings Sunday that any attempt by the president to oust Mueller as special counsel would have grave consequences.

"As I said in the past, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency", the South Carolina Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union". How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife's campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation?

"Andrew McCabe: I have the need to hire a Special Senior Staff Attorney to help me with my work on the House Judiciary Committee dealing with threats to the Constitution and the rule of law in America".

"Sanctimonious [ex-FBI director] James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy".

Mr Trump continued his attacks on Twitter yesterday, accusing Mr Comey of lying under oath and questioning whether any of Mr McCabe's memos were "fake". Friday night in a statement to the press, he said: "I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey".

And Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, of SC, told Fox News' Chris Wallace that Dowd should not be advising the President to push Mueller to end the investigation.

"Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon", Comey tweeted over the weekend.