U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced an investigation into ties between Russia and his 2016 election campaign, calling the probe "McCarthyism at its WORST!"
In a series of tweets on August 19, Trump again characterized Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether there was collusion between Russia and his campaign as a "witch hunt" and said he had encouraged White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides to be fully transparent in their testimony to help bring the issue to a quick conclusion.
Trump was responding to a report in The New York Times that said McGahn had cooperated completely with Mueller to protect himself from legal jeopardy after sitting through more than 30 hours of testimony over the past nine months.
"The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel [sic] had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite - & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!" he said.
"I have nothing to hide...and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close," Trump tweeted.
"So many lives have been ruined over nothing - McCarthyism at its WORST!" he added in reference to a campaign in the 1950s led by Senator Joseph McCarthy against alleged communists in the U.S. government and other institutions. Many of those accused were blacklisted or lost their jobs, even though most were innocent and did not belong to the Communist Party..
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been tasked with determining whether Trump's campaign team coordinated with Russia to sway the election in his favor.
Trump has so far denied any collusion with Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied his government interfered in the election, despite the conclusions of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies and congressional committees that Moscow intervened with its own state-directed campaign of e-mail hacking and public opinion manipulation.
Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is currently on trial in federal court in Virginia on tax- and bank-fraud charges not thought to be directly related to the alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections.