Trump calls Russia probe a 'witch hunt'

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

Mueller was appointed Wednesday by Rosenstein, who had faced criticism as the author of a memo that preceded Comey's firing.

Voters in North Carolina urged Democrats to give President Donald Trump a chance to enact his agenda Thursday, asserting that there were more important things to worry about than the investigation into his campaign's ties to the Russian leadership. "I am on a fact-finding mission", he said on CNN.

Trump said in a statement on Wednesday night that "a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity".

It was announced Wednesday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller would be the special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's election and any possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation.

Trump has cast himself throughout the Russian Federation investigation as an aggrieved president who is being mistreated by the media. It is also noteworthy in light of recent events surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey that the special counsel in the course of his probe can also investigate federal crimes such as "obstruction of justice" and "intimidation of witnesses".

"The real risk here is interference by the White House or by [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions' appointees, not some issue involving Wilmer Hale", he added.

Mueller was at the helm of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 12 years, between 2001 and 2013.

If Mueller is registered today as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, it is not clear.

Moments before Trump weighed in on Twitter, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin welcomed the special counsel investigation and said it was important to get facts in the Russian Federation probe. A senior administration official described Trump's reaction to Mueller's appointment as "measured".

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He said Rosenstein didn't tell lawmakers who told him to write the memo with the rationale for ousting Comey. The Trump White House has been besieged by Russia-related controversies on several fronts.

Durbin said Trump's actions - including the decision to fire Comey and his "incessant" provocative posts on Twitter - have done more harm than any enemy, real or perceived, could. The idea is that Mueller's investigation should be independent, and it likely will be.

"The deputy attorney general made a decision to appoint a special counsel and one of the results of that [is] the ability of Congress to call people who may be witnesses in an investigation conducted by Mr. Mueller is going to severely restrict what we can do". Gohmert told Fox News. And President Richard Nixon resigned after a damning investigation by a select committee, before he could be impeached.

The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman who garners deep bipartisan respect, was a striking shift for Trump's Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly loud calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor. That firm is also home to Jamie Gorelick, who has represented Trump's daughter, Ivanka. "The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice".

No less a commentator than Russia's Vladimir Putin called the dramatic charges swirling around Trump evidence of "political schizophrenia spreading in the U.S". He can maintain the same investigators in place, or request new or additional staff including from outside the department. Whatever the reason, Rosenstein would have to inform Mueller in writing.

Burr told reporters Thursday about the response from Flynn's lawyer.

A similar appointment came in 2003 when the Bush Justice Department turned to Patrick Fitzgerald, then the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Comey succeeded him, appointed by Obama.

Q. What are a special counsel's powers?

Other reports by GizPress

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