Donald Trump is under pressure and it doesn't look good

Posted June 16, 2017

The special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign is now examining whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, it has been reported.

Justice Department policy is that a sitting president can not be indicted by a grand jury, the Post also reported Wednesday. NPR has not confirmed this. Adam joins us in our studios.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. According to the New York Times, Trump "thinks the possibility of being fired will focus [Mueller] on delivering what the president desires most: a blank public exoneration".

LIASSON: Yes. And it was a jarring contrast to his tone yesterday after the shooting of Congressman Scalise and the others. "Why is that Hillary Clinton's family and Dems dealings with Russian Federation are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?" When he's accused of something he lashes out and accuses someone else of the exact same thing, in this case his old opponent Hillary Clinton.

In recent days, it has been said that Trump considered firing Mueller but was talked out of it by aides.

"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials, ' particularly when they do not identify the country let alone the branch or agency of government with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated", he said.

Now they go for obstruction of justice - phony story.

The investigation into his presidential campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation, the president said on Twitter, is being led by "some very bad and conflicted people".

Her tweet, late Tuesday, ended a day in which the White House said the president has "no intention" of firing Mueller.

LIASSON: Actually, it's not a concerted strategy.

"As a matter of honor, and in light of his sworn testimony before Congress, Rosenstein would inevitably resign if confronted with a White House directive to dismiss the special counsel".

As expected, Trump and his team have denied any wrongdoing, with the president repeatedly referring to the allegations against him as a "witch hunt". "Look who he is hiring", Gingrich tweeted on Monday.

Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to the president, tweeted a report citing a Federal Election Commission report that states "Mueller's team includes big Democrat donors".

Just weeks ago, Gingrich had heaped praise on Mueller, hailing him as a "superb choice" for special counsel whose reputation was "impeccable for honesty and integrity".

SHAPIRO: Just briefly, if the special counsel concludes the president did obstruct justice, could charges be brought against him?

LIASSON: Well, that's a good question.

Cornyn also said at this point that "there didn't appear to be any there there" on obstruction, but if Mueller finds there is, "he'd have to prove it in a court of law".

"To the best of my recollection, I have never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate", Rogers said at the hearing, without answering whether he was asked-but not directed-to back off. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff and that there would have been an effort to hide the payments, probably by routing them through offshore banking centers. Devlin Barrett is one of The Post reporters on the story and joins us now.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is now under scrutiny as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Comey described the meetings and his note-taking in detail last week while testifying before the Senate intelligence committee.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Mara Liasson.