President Donald Trump told The New York Times he believes he will be treated fairly by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” said Trump, echoing claims that as president he has the power to open or end an investigation. “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”
The federal investigation has loomed over the White House since Trump took office almost a year ago, however, the president has always denied allegations of Russian involvement. His words are all the more striking since the Trump administration has accused Mueller of being biased against the Republican president. The GOP team has even tried to discredit Mueller by seizing upon the thousands of emails sent by Trump’s transition team — which were saved by the General Services Administration — and wrongfully claimed he obtained them unlawfully.
Several Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, also called for the firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe for his role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Democrats have said the attacks undermine Mueller and provide Trump with cover if he decides to fire the special counsel.
However, the White House has repeatedly insisted he is not considering doing so.
In the 30-minute interview with The New York Times, Trump seemed to shrug off concerns about the investigation stating, “There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair.”
However, he did say the prolonged investigation “makes the country look bad.”
Trump’s lawyers said they expected Mueller to wrap up the probe by the end of 2017, but Mueller himself has demurred from saying exactly how long it will take. The special counsel has already charged four of Trump’s aides in the investigation.
Trump echoed his statement saying he did not know how long the probe would take.
“Timing-wise, I can’t tell you. I just don’t know,” he said, but added it has made his fans support him even more strongly.
“What it’s done is, it’s really angered the base and made the base stronger. My base is strong than it’s ever been,” he continued.
However, that’s not exactly true. There are plenty of indications that Trump’s fan base is abandoning him, probably a result of him being under investigation.
His approval ratings stand below 40 percent in Gallup polls. It’s also said that Trump will go down as one of the worst presidents of the United States.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Jonathan Ernst