Amid reports that key assets in the Russia interference probe are frustrating the special counsel's attempt to build his case, President Trump taunted Robert Mueller and "his gang of Angry Dems."
"The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. "Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue. The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and 'Justice' Department!"
Trump's latest "witch hunt" comments come amid reports that Mueller is accusing former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort of being in breach of his plea deal with the special counsel and that another potential asset, Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi, is refusing to agree to a plea deal, declaring that he's "not going to sign a lie."
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Mueller is now accusing Manafort of lying to the FBI and being in breach of his plea deal, charges Manafort denies.
Manafort reached a deal with federal investigators in September, pleading guilty to conspiring against the U.S. and obstructing justice and agreeing to fully cooperate with the investigation and provide all requested information. As the Journal notes, Manafort's cooperation "has been considered a key asset in the probe."
"But he subsequently lied on a number of issues, the office alleged, adding that it would file a detailed submission describing Mr. Manafort’s 'crimes and lies' at a later date," Mueller alleged in a filing this week, the Journal reports. "Mr. Manafort, in the same filing, disputed Mr. Mueller’s characterization of his cooperation, saying he met with government investigators many times and answered their questions. Mr. Manafort 'believes he has provided truthful information and does not agree with the government’s characterization or that he has breached the agreement,' his lawyers said."
The news came the same day as Corsi's announcement that after a series of meetings with investigators over a period of two months, he is refusing to sign a plea deal because, he says, it's a "lie."
"They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie," Corsi told CNN on Monday. Though Corsi says he recently amended some of his testimony he provided to investigators, he insists that any misstatements were not intentional attempts to deceive.
"They want me to swear in front of a judge that I am a felon," Corsi said, the Journal reports. "I believe I did not lie to them. I handed over everything."
In his interview with CNN, Corsi compared his experience with Mueller's investigators to "being interrogated as a POW in the Korean War." Investigators, he suggested, believe that they caught him in some lies, which he adamantly denies.
Mueller's interest in Corsi revolves around his knowledge of the release of damaging Clinton campaign emails by WikiLeak's Julian Assange. Corsi denies having inside knowledge about the contents and release dates, maintaining that he was able to figure out what he was up to by Assange's various public statements.
"[I]nvestigators were so mad because I didn't give them what they wanted," Corsi told CNN. Corsi's long-time associate, Roger Stone, echoed his take on the situation, saying the counsel was pressuring Corsi "not for lying but for refusing to lie," CNN notes.
As for the implications of Mueller's accusations against Manafort, the Journal reports that legal experts say he could face more than ten years in prison under his plea deal.
This article has been updated to include Trump's follow-up tweets.