US President Donald Trump is reportedly so incensed at claims he is being investigated for obstructing justice in the Russia election probe that he has started screaming at television sets in the White House.
His own advisers leaked the damaging anecdote to Associated Press over the weekend.
“Trump advisers and confidants describe the President as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit – and potentially end – his presidency,” AP reported.
It comes after Mr Trump appeared to admit for the first time on Friday that he is being investigated, as he lashed out at a top Justice Department official probing links between Russia and the President’s election campaign.
“I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” he wrote on Twitter.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
A lawyer for Mr Trump legal team later asserted the President is not under investigation, despite the the tweet.
The Washington Post story cited five officials who said they had been briefed on interview requests from special counsel Robert Mueller to see if President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
While Mr Trump’s tweets following the report appeared to confirm the investigation, Mr Sekulow lawyer said it only appeared that way because of the character limit on Twitter.
“There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know,” he said.
“The President’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there. … That’s it. Simple explanation.”
Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein has replaced Attorney-General Jeff Sessions as head of the Russia-Trump probe. Mr Rosenstein has appointed investigative special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.
This was not the first time Mr Trump had taken aim at the pair. He sent out another Twitter post on Thursday saying: “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!”
Mr Trump’s aides have reportedly asked him to stay off Twitter and focus on other aspects of his job.
But the President is yet to heed that advice, tweeting on Sunday: “The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt.”
The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
After the attacks, Mr Rosenstein himself issued a statement that closely matched Mr Trump’s own rhetoric. It urged the public to treat quotes from anonymous sources with scepticism.
“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch of government – with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated,” he wrote.
The New York Times questioned whether Mr Rosenstein had been asked by a White House official or Mr Trump himself to put out the statement. The White House has not commented on this possibility.
Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said publicly she fears Mr Trump will fire Mr Mueller and Mr Rosenstein, only five weeks after firing James Comey.
“The message the President is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired,” Ms Feinstein said.
“That’s undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the President’s oath of office.”