Trump opens window into his rage with Mueller attack

CNN/ Newswire | 7/30/2018, 9:30 a.m.
Donald Trump is giving Americans a glimpse of the fury raging inside him as a pivotal moment nears for special ...
President Trump

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) -- Donald Trump is giving Americans a glimpse of the fury raging inside him as a pivotal moment nears for special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, and different strands of political and legal vulnerability swirling around the President become ever more threatening.

Trump launched his most personal attack to date against Mueller in a tweet storm Sunday unleashed just two days before the special counsel's office takes its first prosecution -- that of the President's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort -- to trial in Virginia.

"There is no Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

Trump's tweets on Sunday represented his most specific attempt yet to discredit any findings of the Mueller investigation into alleged election collusion with Russians, following clear signs that his previous assaults have been effective in hardening the opinion of GOP voters against the probe.

The attacks are not simply a window into his own rage, they also represent a coherent hardball strategy to unite his ever loyal political base and other Republicans behind him. With 100 days to go until midterm elections, that could be tough for the GOP.

But they also have the effect of wresting attention from the President's best hope of averting a Democratic rout in the election, the building narrative that he has unleashed a period of national prosperity, highlighted by economic growth rate of 4.1% in the second quarter of the year.

A week of drama related from Cohen and Mueller

The President's Sunday outburst came days after CNN reported that Michael Cohen, the President's former lawyer, is willing to tell Mueller that Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump tower in which Russians were willing to hand over dirt on Hillary Clinton. The President has denied he knew about the meeting beforehand.

Also last week, it emerged that Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been subpoenaed in the federal criminal investigation into Cohen in a move that adds to a sense that a net is closing around the President's inner circle.

And ironically, given the President's chosen method of attack Sunday, The New York Times reported last week that Mueller was examining Trump's tweets to see whether they show malicious intent to obstruct justice in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

"Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend," Trump said in a second tweet.

The President followed up with a third blast against Mueller.