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Trump casts doubt on legality of special counsel Mueller

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE on Friday night renewed doubts about the security of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election by musing in a tweet that the special counsel “was established based on an illegal act.”

James ComeyJames Brien ComeyShowtime developing limited series about Jan. 6 Capitol riot Wray says FBI not systemically racist John Durham's endgame: Don't expect criminal charges MORE illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council? Therefore, the Special Council was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?” he tweeted late Friday evening.

Trump is referring to the former FBI director who the president fired last year and gave to a friend at least one and possibly four memos that were based on notes of his interaction with the president. The Justice Department is investigating whether the memos were classified.

 

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Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, then gave the contents of some of the memos to a reporter at The New York Times last May.

Comey has said he intended to trigger the appointment of a special counsel to take over the investigation, which he was leading, due to his concerns about Trump’s actions.

Comey has said the memo was unclassified, but Trump maintains that the act of leaking the memo was illegal. 

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinProtect the police or the First Amendment? Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE appointed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE to the job last May, saying “public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence.”

Trump has long railed against the Russia investigation, calling it a “hoax” and a “witch hunt,” as well as indicating he wants it to be over quickly. Democrats have at times feared that Trump could fire Mueller, but Trump recently noted that despite speculation over the past few months, Mueller — and Rosenstein, the official who appointed him — are “still here.”

It appears likely that Trump in his latest tweet was responding to the Justice Department’s inspector general probe into whether Comey’s memos were classified, but the tweet is likely to raise concerns again that Trump is looking for a reason to get rid of Mueller.