During some five hours of Senate questioning, Zuckerberg apologized several times for Facebook failures, disclosed that his company was “working with” special counsel Robert Mueller in the federal probe of Russian election interference and said it was working hard to change its own operations after the harvesting of users’ private data by a data-mining company affiliated with Donald Trump’s campaign.
After reports on Monday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had raided the offices of his attorney Michael Cohen, Trump was asked why he wouldn’t just relieve Mueller of his duties.
Facebook also didn’t alert the Federal Trade Commission, Zuckerberg said, and he assured senators the company would handle the situation differently today.
Zuckerberg said Facebook is going through “a broader philosophical shift in how we approach our responsibility as a company”.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that Trump has been advised that he has the authority to end Mueller’s probe..
“We’re investigating that now and we believe that it is entirely possible that there will be a connection there”, Zuckerberg said.
One thing she can’t tell is whether Mueller is also sharing evidence with state-level investigators to protect his investigation, and allow it to shift to NY state should he be fired.
If he does fire Mueller, Trump may make it a one-two combination and go ahead and replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees Mueller.
Democrats, meanwhile, said they would treat firing Rosenstein as equally bad as firing Mueller. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from oversight of the investigation, Rosenstein would then presumably decide which investigative team moves forward.
Addressing the probe, the president said, “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russian Federation, the reason they found it is there was no collusion at all”. The White House has consistently said Trump denies the affair.
The articles that provoked Trump’s anger in December – which were published by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters – said one of Mueller’s subpoenas had targeted Trump’s and his family’s banking records at Deutsche Bank.
Agents also seized records related to a $130,000 payment made to Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump the same year as McDougal.
She did not say if Trump had spoken with Rosenstein, Sessions or Cohen since the raid Monday, but she did reiterate the president’s position that the move was an overstep.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., a close Trump ally, said, “It’s time to get this investigation over”.
In one contentious exchange, reporter April Ryan asked Sanders if Trump had “at any time thought about stepping down”.
“They can’t shut down a state investigation, and I think Eric Schneiderman” – New York’s attorney general – “would suddenly become a household name”, he continued.
The Tiller-Coons proposal would allow special counsels to contest their firings before a three-judge panel, which can order reinstatement.
“Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on”.
The White House remained defiant that the president has the power to directly fire Mueller – despite Justice Department regulations saying otherwise. He called Mueller’s investigation “an attack on our country”, prompting new speculation that he might seek the removal of the Justice Department’s special counsel.
Trump also denounced special counsel Robert Mueller and Mueller’s team, calling them “the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen”.
Trump’s attorneys consulted with Mueller, who reportedly told the president those reports weren’t correct-prompting the president to back down. “You just can’t”, his former transition manager, Chris Christie, told ABC on Tuesday.