In a Wednesday tweet, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Russia investigation which many say is entering sensitive stages that could see the US president really implicated.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump tweeted, adding that “17 Democrats” were behind the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.
This is the first time Trump says that the Russia probe should stop. He had previously downplayed the significance of the investigation and insisted it will end nowhere.
However, he has been more pointed in his recent remarks about the probe, suggesting that he has felt the tide. On Tuesday, Trump repeated assertions by his lawyer and advisor Rudy Giuliani that the alleged collusion between his 2016 election campaign and Russia would not be illegal.
“Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!” Trump wrote on Twitter while making a reference to his rival in the 2016 presidential elections Hillary Clinton.
However, analysts said after the tweet that although collusion was not a crime in nature, Mueller could find evidence that Trump’s 2016 election campaign cooperated with the Kremlin in an illegal manner. They said there were laws that could lead to charges for the campaign over conspiracy, fraud and computer hacking, among others.
Mueller has already accused the Russians of hacking into Democrats’ computers and stealing emails while trying to use the social media to stoke tensions in the 2016 elections.
Trump’s intensified attack on the probe comes as Mueller heard testimonies from former campaign chairman Paul Manafort earlier in the day, a first trial in the probe. Manafort, who is to face 18 charges, had pleaded not guilty. His business partner Rick Gates has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the probe.
In another tweet, Trump distanced himself from Manafort, saying he only “worked for me for a very short time”.
“Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion — a Hoax!” read Trump’s tweet on Wednesday.