Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a new target — Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Trump’s tweets, Mueller reportedly believes, could help to show that Trump engaged in a wide-ranging effort to block and cripple the probe into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. Trump’s Twitter messages — all 4,112 of them, according to The Trump Twitter Archive, in the 553 days of his term so far — have long caused anxiety among his supporters who fear that they could be used against him in the various legal cases that he faces.
Now, it appears that those fears were well-founded. According to a report by the New York Times on Thursday, Mueller is especially interested in Trump’s tweets pertaining to former FBI Director James Comey, who led the Russia investigation until Trump fired him on May 9 of last year, and Trump’s own appointee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mueller is also looking at other statements made by Trump about Comey and Sessions, as well a private meetings between Trump and the two men in which the Russia probe was discussed — and at “misleading White House statements; public attacks; and possible pardon offers to potential witnesses,” the New York Times reported.
Trump has posted 81 Twitter messages in which he has mentioned Comey by name since his January 20, 2017, inauguration, according to the Archive database.
On May 9, the day that he fired Comey, Trump posted a message about Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who had told Trump that he was making a “big mistake” by firing Comey. Schumer also called for a special prosecutor to be appointed in the Russia investigation. Eight days later, acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller.
“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp” Trump posted on Twitter, in response to Schumer’s statement.
The following day, on May 10, Trump posted four tweets mentioning Comey by name, including one Twitter message in which he claimed, “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”
In later Tweets, Trump referred to Comey as “a leaker,” and on October 18, said on Twitter, “James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!”
However, political experts say that a letter sent by Comey to congress on October 28, jut 11 days before the election, in which Comey claimed that the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s use of email — only to quickly close it again — likely cost Clinton the presidency, as Vox reported.
Trump has been somewhat less obsessed with Sessions, who recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation after he was found to have falsely denied meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while testifying to congress under oath, according to Politico.
The Trump Twitter Archive turns up just 18 tweets in which Trump mentions Sessions by name since January 20, 2017, though after initially congratulating Sessions on his confirmation as Attorney General, and making mostly favorable remarks about Sessions even after the AG recused himself on March 2 of last year, Trump suddenly turned on the former Alabama Senator. He posted a Twitter message on July 25, 2017, complaining, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”
From that point on, Trump’s tweets about Sessions were consistently negative and even hysterical, culminating in a Twitter post on June 5 of 2018.
“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else,” Trump wrote in the tweet. “So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!”