President Trump has issued a direct order to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, telling him to end the Russia investigation “right now.”
Under U.S. law, the Attorney General answers directly to the President must follow the President’s orders. Any failure to do so can result in his immediate dismissal:
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The Attorney General may be removed at will by the President under the Supreme Court decision Myers v. United States, which found that the President may remove executive branch officials without the consent of the Senate or any other entity.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump ordered.
Thehill.com reports: The president also accused special counsel Robert Mueller of being “totally conflicted,” adding that “his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA.”
Sessions has long been the target of Trump’s ire over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, but the president has seldom suggested publicly that his attorney general should halt the probe.
Trump’s latest barb comes one day after his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, went on trial for alleged tax, financial and bank fraud crimes, the biggest test yet for the Mueller probe.
The president also sought to distance himself from Manafort early Wednesday, saying in another tweet that Manafort only “worked for me for a very short time” and suggested federal authorities should have informed him his campaign chief was under investigation during the 2016 presidential race.
“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!”
Trump later accused federal officials of treating Manafort worse than Mafia boss Al Capone, who served 11 years in prison after being convicted of tax evasion.
Mueller, a Republican, has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 individuals, including four former Trump aides, in the probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly denied that his campaign was involved in the effort and has also wavered on whether Russia interfered in the election, as U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded.
For months, the president has kept up a sustained attack on the Mueller investigation in an attempt to undermine it in the eyes of the public.
Multiple media reports have said Trump privately pressured Sessions several times to reverse his decision to recuse himself. Those comments, plus his tweets attacking Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey, are reportedly under investigation as Mueller looks into whether Trump has obstructed justice.
Sessions, the former Alabama senator who served as a top Trump campaign adviser, recused himself in March 2017 from the Russia probe after it was revealed he failed to disclose a conversation he had with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the 2016 race.
That decision left Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to oversee the investigation. Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel in May 2017, after Trump fired Comey as FBI director.