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Trump blasts Mueller probe a week after installing acting AG





WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday lashed out anew at the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, calling his team of lawyers ‘‘a disgrace to our Nation’’ on Twitter and accusing them, without evidence, of threatening witnesses to get answers they want.

Trump’s rant, in a pair of morning tweets, came a week after the installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, a move many Democrats have said appears designed to curtail Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Trump angrily dismissed a reporter’s question about that notion last week and said he had not spoken to Whitaker about the Russia probe before naming him to replace ousted attorney general Jeff Sessions.

Many of Trump’s complaints in Thursday’s tweets were familiar, but they took on heightened significance with Whitaker now overseeing Mueller’s probe, which is also examining whether Trump has obstructed justice.

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The tweets also come as Trump spends time with his personal legal team this week to prepare written answers to questions from Mueller’s team.

‘‘The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess,’’ Trump wrote. ‘‘They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t care how many lives the ruin.’’

He continued: ‘‘These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller, who worked for Obama for 8 years. They won’t even look at all of the bad acts and crimes on the other side. A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!’’

In his tweets, Trump misstated Mueller’s background. A registered Republican, he was nominated to be FBI director in 2001 by President George W. Bush. In 2011, President Barack Obama gave his original 10-year term a two-year extension.

Mueller was tapped to be special counsel last year by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who started overseeing the Russia investigation after Sessions recused himself.

White House officials have sought recently to highlight their continued cooperation with Mueller’s team despite Trump’s opinion of the probe.

Speaking to reporters later Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said she considered Trump’s tweets to be part of ‘‘an all-out campaign to obstruct the Mueller investigation.’’

During an appearance Thursday morning on CNN, Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said he is concerned that Trump’s description of the ‘‘inner workings’’ of the Mueller investigation could signal Whitaker is inappropriately sharing details about it with the president.

‘‘Of course with this president, we don’t know. He may have simply made that up because he lies all the time,’’ said Nadler, who is in line to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Democrats take control of the House in January.

Nadler said it appears to him that Whitaker was appointed with the ‘‘express purpose of being a hatchet man to sabotage this investigation.’’



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