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Trump Team Plays Up Use of Word 'Should' in Tweet

Giuliani says Trump didn't tweet that Sessions 'must' stop Mueller probe
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2018 9:52 AM CDT
Updated Aug 1, 2018 1:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump has had plenty to say on Twitter about Attorney General Jeff Sessions; on Wednesday, he had something to say to him. "..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!" he tweeted. Here's how the comment has been covered:

  • The New York Times calls the request that Sessions end the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller "an extraordinary appeal" and a "blunt direction."
  • The Hill characterizes the tweet as "a significant escalation of his attacks against the long-running probe."

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  • While Trump has expressed his displeasure about Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation, Politico reports this marks the first time he has publicly said Sessions should put a stop to it. The site also flags one other element of the tweet, noting the number 17: It reports Trump has historically put the number of "angry Democrats" working for Mueller at 13.
  • ABC News reports Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani addressed the tweet, saying it was simply the president's opinion. "We have been saying for months that it is time to bring this inquiry to an end. The president has expressed the same opinion. The president was expressing his opinion on his favored medium for asserting his First Amendment right of free speech. He said 'should' not 'must' and no Presidential order was issued or will be."
  • CNN reports Sarah Huckabee Sanders said much the same thing during a White House press briefing Wednesday and has her quote: "It’s not an order. It's the president’s opinion, and it's ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that's gone on with the launching of the witch hunt, the president wants to—has watched this process play out. But he also wants to see it come to an end as he stated many times. And we look forward to that happening."
  • The Washington Post looks at whether this tweet and previous ones could possibly "rise to the level of obstruction of justice." Read the piece here.
  • In a subsequent tweet, the president also once again distanced himself from Paul Manafort, whose trial on bank and tax charges enters its second day. "He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation," he tweeted in part.
  • A couple hours later Trump tweeted again about Manafort, who NPR notes is not being kept in solitary confinement. The tweet: "Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One,' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement - although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?"
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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