WASHINGTON — A lawyer for President Trump called on the Justice Department on Saturday to end the special counsel investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, shifting abruptly to a more adversarial stance as the inquiry appeared to be intensifying. The comments by the lawyer, John Dowd, were prompted by the firing late on Friday of the former deputy F.B.I. director Andrew G. McCabe. Mr. Dowd exhorted Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who oversees the special counsel, to end the inquiry and accused the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of concocting a baseless investigation. “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the F.B.I. Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier,” Mr. Dowd told The Daily Beast.
His remarks capped another round of revelations in recent days that reinvigorated or displayed Mr. Trump’s frustrations with the investigation, which has cast a shadow over his presidency. He was said to be angered over a New York Times report that records from the Trump Organization were subpoenaed, and he celebrated the firing of Mr. McCabe, who was among the first F.B.I. officials to scrutinize possible links between Russia and the Trump team, calling his dismissal a “great day for Democracy” on Twitter.
On Saturday evening, Mr. Trump for the first time posted a tweet that specifically mentioned the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. The president again denounced the inquiry he is conducting as a “witch hunt.” “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” he wrote. “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign.” Mr. Dowd, by contrast, did not name the special counsel in his statement, but the implication that he believed Mr. Mueller should be fired was unmistakable. Such a move could set off alarms among Republicans in Congress, who have largely stood by as the president repeatedly assailed the Justice Department and the F.B.I. People close to the president were skeptical that Mr. Dowd was acting on his own. Mr. Trump has a history of using advisers to publicly test a message, giving him some distance from it.