Trump: Sessions 'should be ashamed of himself' for allowing Russia probe to proceed

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine MORE said Sunday that former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE "should be ashamed of himself" for allowing the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference to proceed, levying yet another attack on one of his favorite targets for criticism.

Trump issued a series of tweets attacking the investigation as a "Democrat scam" that is "very bad for our country," and pushing the unproven theory among some conservatives that Mueller's team has led witnesses to make false statements. 

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"People are starting to see and understand what this Witch Hunt is all about," Trump added. "Jeff Sessions should be ashamed of himself for allowing this total HOAX to get started in the first place!" 

Mueller's investigation has thus far implicated former Trump associates Michael Flynn, George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosUS attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Flynn, Papadopoulos to speak at event preparing 'social media warriors' for 'digital civil war' MORE, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortLet's get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections Graham: Trump should be 'as transparent as possible' about Ukraine call Ukraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats MORE, Richard Gates and Michael Cohen, as well as more than 20 Russians.

Cohen, who for years worked at the Trump Organization, was sentenced last week to three years in prison for bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance violations he said he committed at Trump's direction.

The president has denied directing Cohen to break the law.

Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year as part of Mueller's investigation, has been a figure of conservative sympathy in recent months.

Trump and others have seized on a suggestion from Flynn's defense attorneys that Trump's former national security adviser had been duped by FBI agents who handled his interview to argue Flynn had been wrongly led to commit a federal crime.

In a court filing on Friday, Mueller rebuked that assertion.

“Nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the FBI on January 24,” Mueller wrote, asking a federal judge to reject Flynn’s attempt to “minimize the seriousness of those false statements to the FBI.”

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday morning found that 62 percent of respondents believe Trump has been untruthful about the Russia investigation, while 50 percent said the investigation has given them at least some doubts about his presidency. Forty-four percent said it has not given them additional doubts.

Trump forced Sessions to resign last month in a widely anticipated move.

Trump had for months publicly derided Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, and at one point suggested he only appointed him to the Cabinet post because the former Alabama senator had shown loyalty during the 2016 campaign.

The president appointed Matthew Whitaker to take over as acting attorney general, and has since nominated former Attorney General William Barr for the post full time.

The pick is likely to be highly scrutinized by Democrats, many of whom viewed Sessions's ouster as a threat to the special counsel's investigation.