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President Donald Trump speaks as he hosts a joint press conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (not pictured) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump ‘won’t be involved’ in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he “won’t be involved” in the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling Thursday, but added he may change his mind.

Trump said in a phone interview Thursday with “Fox & Friends” that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe “is a disgrace.” Trump criticized federal agents for exercising search warrants on his lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“I am very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it’s going on, and I think you’ll understand this, I have decided that I won’t be involved,” Trump said. “I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace.”

Trump’s come as the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to vote Thursday on a bill to protect Mueller’s job.

Cohen’s under federal criminal investigation in New York for unspecified business dealings. Manafort is charged with allegedly engaging in conspiracy and money laundering.

Trump again branded the Russia probe a “witch hunt” and repeated that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to vote Thursday on a bill to protect Mueller’s job. Two Republicans and two Democrats introduced the bill earlier this month. Mueller is investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president.

The measure under consideration would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of his or her firing and would put into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel must be fired for good cause. A handful of Republicans have supported it, but most have opposed it, arguing that it is unconstitutional or unnecessary.

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