Jul 26, 2019

Trump calls obstruction a "phony crime" during "Hannity" interview

President Trump called obstruction a "phony crime," alleging without evidence that it was created to target him during an interview on Fox News' "Hannity" on Thursday — the president's first since former special counsel Robert Mueller's House testimony.

"They create this phony crime and then they say he obstructed. They said there was no collusion, but he obstructed. ... The crime was committed on the other side, and we'll find out about it."

Reality check: Mueller told the House Judiciary Commitee that his report does not exonerate Trump on the issue of obstruction, instead citing his office's adherence to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel opinion that prevents a sitting president from being indicted. Mueller also told the committee that Trump could be charged after he leaves office.

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House Judiciary subpoenas Corey Lewandowski to testify in obstruction probe

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former White House official Rick Dearborn on Thursday to testify Sept. 17 about potential obstruction of justice by President Trump.

The big picture: The testimonies are part of the ongoing investigation by the committee — recently dubbed "formal impeachment proceedings" by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) — into "obstruction, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his associates." Unlike the other witnesses in the Mueller investigation who have been subpoenaed by the Judiciary committee, Lewandowski never worked in the Trump White House — a fact that Democrats hope will prevent the president from blocking his testimony.

Trump to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as DNI

Rep. John Ratcliffe questions former special counsel Robert Mueller as Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Twitter Sunday that he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, confirming Axios' earlier reporting that Ratcliffe was favored for the job. Coats will leave office on August 15.

Behind the scenes: Trump was thrilled by Ratcliffe's admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing. "The special counsel's job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him," Ratcliffe, a former prosecutor, said to Mueller.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 28, 2019

Trump on Russian interference: "You don't really believe this, do you?"

Speaking to reporters before departing for his rally on Thursday, President Trump said he did not bring up the topic of Russian interference in his phone call with President Vladimir Putin, again casting aspersion on the warnings of the U.S. intelligence community.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019