President Donald Trump went on an intensely angry tweetstorm Sunday morning, intensifying his attacks against the Justice Department while questioning the integrity of former FBI director James Comey and his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. Particularly notable though was that within the barrage of criticism there were specific attacks against the team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That seems to solidify a marked change in tone for Trump, who had largely been following advice to lay off Mueller and his team to avoid antagonizing the special counsel charged with investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The gloves seemed to come off Sunday.
“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!”
As the Washington Post notes, Trump’s tweet isn’t quite accurate and “overstates the partisan makeup of the special counsel’s team and falsely asserts that no Republicans are on it.” After all, Mueller himself is a longtime Republican. Yet Trump’s Sunday morning criticism seemed to follow the theme from Saturday night, when Trump for the first time used Mueller’s name in a tweet. “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” Trump wrote. “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!”
That Saturday night tweet came hours after his personal lawyer, John Dowd, sent Washington spinning when he said it was time for the Justice Department to end the Mueller probe. At first Dowd had said he was speaking for the president but later backtracked. Seems there was no need.
Trump also included Comey and McCabe, another two longtime Republicans, in his tweetstorm of criticism Sunday morning. These two targets are far more common but that didn’t make the attacks any less remarkable considering a commander in chief was essentially calling the two fired FBI officials liars. Responding to reports that McCabe kept memos of his dealings with Trump, the president called them “fake memos” because he never saw the fired FBI deputy director take any notes.
“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe,” Trump tweeted, “but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”
That tweet came moments after Trump targeted Comey in another missive that he apparently wrote during or shortly after watching Fox News. “Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked ‘have you ever been an anonymous source … or known someone else to be an anonymous source…?’ He said strongly ‘never, no.’ He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends,” Trump wrote. Fox & Friends played an exchange from a May 3, 2017 congressional hearing in Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley questioned Comey.
Trump may be feeling particularly sensitive about Comey considering that on Saturday the fired FBI director sent a tweet addressed to the commander in chief: “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not. “
Shortly after his Sunday morning tweetstorm, the president’s aides “decided to whisk Trump to a golf course,” according to the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman