Senator Elizabeth Warren has hit back at Donald Trump after he used a racial slur to describe her in a tweet - saying that such posts “won't stop” the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller or “keep your people out of jail”.
The President tweeted on Friday: “Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.”
Mr Trump has seemed extra keen this week to get the public to focus on alleged misconduct by Democrats and ignore new bombshell developments in a probe into alleged ties between Trump campaign advisers and the Russian government.
This week, Mr Mueller announced charges against three advisers to Mr Trump’s campaign, laying out the most explicit evidence to date that his team appeared ready to coordinate with alleged intermediaries with the Russian government.
On Monday, Mr Trump's ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Mr Manafort's longtime associate, Rick Gates, were indicted for alleged money laundering and for purportedly acting as “unregistered agents” doing lobbying work in the US on behalf of pro-Russia Ukrainian political parties. Both defendants have pleaded “not guilty”.
Less than a few hours after Mr Manafort and Mr Gates surrendered to federal authorities, it was revealed that a Trump campaign aide - George Papadopoulos - had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russians.
Mr Trump has continued to insist that there was “no collusion” and has worked to distance himself from Mr Papadopoulos, calling him a “low level volunteer” for the campaign and claiming “few people knew” him.
The foreign policy aide attended a meeting of then-candidate Trump's national security team in March 2016 and is pictured a few seats away from Mr Trump.
“I don’t remember much about that meeting,” Mr Trump told reporters on Friday. “It was a very unimportant meeting. It took place a long time ago.”
Echoing similar comments he has made on Twitter, the President then put the spotlight on the Democrats, who are also embroiled in their own controversy.
“You ought to look at Hillary Clinton and you ought to look at the new book that was just put out by Donna Brazile where she basically bought the [Democratic National Committee] and she stole the election from Bernie,” Mr Trump declared. “That’s what you ought to look at.”
On social media, Mr Trump has criticised the media's coverage of the issue and has pointed to how Ms Warren – who he called Pocahontas has said she agrees with a report alleging that the DNC “rigged” the 2016 Democratic primary in favour of Ms Clinton.
Ms Brazile, a former DNC interim chair, says Ms Clinton was controlling the party's finances before officially winning the 2016 Democratic nomination for president. That, in Mr Brazile's view, “compromised the party's integrity”, she wrote in a Politico op-ed.
The report seemed to bolster critiques from Bernie Sanders supporters, who have long argued that the Democratic establishment undermined their insurgent candidate.
Last year, Ms Brazile took over as DNC chair after Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced out of the role over leaked emails suggesting she may have favoured Ms Clinton during the primary.
During an interview with Ms Warren, CNN's Jake Tapper asked the Massachusetts Democrat point-blank if she agreed “with the notion that it was rigged”.
“Yes”, replied Ms Warren, who helps make up the party's farther-left progressive wing with Mr Sanders.
Calling the arrangement detailed in Ms Brazile’s report “a real problem”, Ms Warren said Democrats needed to “hold this party accountable” or risk alienating its constituents.
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