Angry US leader lashes out at Russia probe as ‘McCarthyism’

US points at China, not Russia, on election meddling

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump yesterday angrily denounced the federal probe of Russia’s 2016 election meddling as “McCarthyism at its WORST!,” insisting he had authorized his White House counsel to testify to bring the matter to a close. Trump’s Twitter storm was set off by a front-page report in the New York Times that said White House counsel Don McGahn had provided Special Counsel Robert Mueller with an unusually detailed account of Trump’s thinking during key episodes under investigation.

Trump-who had already addressed the issue late Saturday-stepped up his attacks on the story and the probe in a series of angry morning tweets, slamming The New York Times for implying that McGahn had turned on him. “I have nothing to hide … and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. “So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST!” Mueller is investigating whether the president sought to obstruct justice as well as whether his campaign colluded with Russia’s covert effort to sway the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.

In more than 30 hours of testimony over the past nine months, the Times said McGahn laid out for investigators Trump’s fury over the probe and the ways in which he asked McGahn to respond to it. Among the episodes he testified to were Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey, and his obsession with putting a loyalist in charge of the probe, according to the Times. It noted that McGahn played a key role in stopping Trump from firing Mueller, who was made special counsel after Comey’s firing.

Trump called the story a “Fake piece” and seemed particularly incensed at the suggestion that McGahn was a “RAT” like John Dean, the former White House counsel who testified against president Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. “The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel [sic] had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite – & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!” “Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!”

China, not Russia
Meanwhile, US National Security Advisor John Bolton yesterday singled out China, North Korea and Iran as countries who could possibly meddle in American elections-as President Donald Trump railed about a probe into Russian interference in 2016. Trump himself pointed the finger of blame on Saturday, tweeting: “All of the fools that are so focused on looking only at Russia should start also looking in another direction, China.”

When asked about the tweet, Bolton also mentioned Beijing, which is currently at an impasse with Washington on trade talks. “I can say definitively that it’s a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling and North Korean meddling that we’re taking steps to try and prevent it,” Bolton told ABC News. “So all four of those countries, really.”
When pressed for further details, especially with relation to China, Bolton was vague, saying he could not offer details. “I’m telling you (that) looking at the 2018 election, those are the four countries that we’re most concerned about,” he told the network’s “This Week” news program. Trump has intensified his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether his campaign team colluded with Moscow to sway the contest in the Republican’s favor.- Agencies

This article was published on 19/08/2018