US President Donald Trump under investigation for obstruction of justice: Washington Post
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement about the shooting at a Congressional Republicans baseball practice from the White House in Washington, US, June 14, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)
US President Donald Trump is under formal investigation for potential obstruction of justice by the special counsel looking into Russia's interverence in the 2016 US election, the Washington Post reports, citing officials.
This marks a dramatic turn by Robert S Mueller III in the investigation, now almost a year old. Until now the focus was on Russian interference in the election, and also in whether any of Trump's associates are guilty of financial crimes.
James Comey, the former FBI Director overseeing the Russia probe until Trump abruptly fired him, had told President Trump that he himself was not under investigation. But that was in January. After Comey was fired, that changed.
The White House made no official response, and now all Russia-related questions are being handled by Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. "The FBI leak regarding the president is outrageous, inexcuseable and illegal," said a representative for Kasowitz.
Investigators are said to be looking for any of Trump's statements, public and private, concerning why Comey was fired.
Comey himself testified, "It is my judgement that I was fired because of the Russia investigation".
"I was fired, in some way to change -- or the endeavour was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted."
Comey testified that he was asked for 'loyalty' from the president. Instead, Comey responded that he would give the president 'honest loyalty'.
Shortly after the Comey firing, Trump invited Russian officials to the White House and told them firing "nut job" comey took pressure off the Russia investigation. He told them he was not under investigation.
After Comey's testimony, in which Comey said the president himself was not under investigation, Trump claimed he felt "total and complete vindication". It is not known whether or not Comey's successor had informed Trump of the change in the probe.