Donald Trump has threatened he “may have to get involved” after launching another attack on the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Days after his former campaign manager and former lawyer were convicted of fraud, the US president complained that special counsel Robert Mueller was “having a field day”.

Mr Trump claimed that the FBI should be looking into his former opponent Hillary Clinton instead, tweeting: “I feel sure that we will soon be getting to the bottom of all of this corruption. At some point I may have to get involved!”

Critics interpreted it as another indication that the president is considering intervening in the Russia investigation.

“This latest thread implies a willingness to obstruct justice,” historian Timothy Naftali, clinical associate professor of public service at New York University, told CNN. “He is sending a signal that he wants to stop this process.”

Mr Trump also repeated his criticism of attorney-general Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation and has said he will not allow the Department of Justice to be influenced by political considerations.

“Jeff Sessions said he wouldn‘t allow politics to influence him only because he doesn‘t understand what is happening underneath his command position,” the US president tweeted.

It follows speculation that the president could use his powers to pardon Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

Mr Trump has already pardoned the highly controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of contempt of court.

Last month, Mr Trump claimed that he also had the “absolute right” to pardon himself in relation to the Russia investigation, while insisting he had done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has dealt a blow to Mr Trump‘s efforts to “promote more efficient” government, ruling that key provisions of three recent executive orders “undermine federal employees‘ right to bargain collectively” under federal law.

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District judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Mr Trump had “exceeded his authority” in issuing the orders.

The White House had no comment and referred questions to the Justice Department, which said it was reviewing the judge‘s ruling and considering options. Federal worker unions that had sued to block Mr Trump‘s use of his executive authority in this area applauded the outcome.

“President Trump‘s illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country, who keep our federal government running every single day,” said J David Cox Sr, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest of the federal worker unions.

Mr Cox‘s organisation, which represents about 700,000 of the approximately two million federal workers, was first to challenge the executive orders.

The executive orders, which were issued by the White House in May, covered collective bargaining rights, grievance procedures and use of “official time”.

Andrew Bremberg, the president‘s domestic policy adviser, said at the time that the orders would “promote more efficient government” by overhauling civil service rules to make it easier to remove under-performing employees.

Departments and agencies were directed to engage in tougher negotiations over collective-bargaining agreements and to conclude talks in under a year to limit the expense of “drawn-out bargaining”.

Contracts were to be renegotiated to limit the amount of time authorised employees could spend on union business during official work hours, known as ‘official time‘.

Lobbying and pursuing grievances on taxpayer-funded union time were to be curtailed and the orders also aimed to streamline the amount of time needed to terminate a federal worker for poor performance or misconduct.

The process currently takes between six months and a year and can last longer if the employee appeals the dismissal.

The unions argued that the executive orders were illegal because federal law requires the government and federal employee unions to negotiate over such changes.

The judge agreed, ruling that Mr Trump had overstepped his authority. It is unclear whether the administration plans to appeal. (London Independent)

Independent News Service