Trump lashes out at 'greatest witch-hunt in history'

Pauline Gross
May 20, 2017

The appointment of former FBI Chief Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, has generally been praised by both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. But he made clear it was not his intention for President Donald Trump and other White House officials to use the document to justify firing Comey, which is what they have done.

The White House initially said that letter prompted Trump to fire Comey, but Trump later said he had already chose to dismiss him and was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing".

The Justice Department on Friday released the text of Rosenstein's opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has named Robert Mueller, a former prosecutor who was Federal Bureau of Investigation director from 2001 to 2013, to investigate possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials seeking to meddle in last year's election, the Washington Post reports.

In a pair of morning Twitter posts and at a later news conference, the Republican president described calls by some on the left for his impeachment as "ridiculous" and said he had done nothing to warrant criminal charges. "He must ensure that this investigation is conducted without limits and without any political interference from the White House or Congressional Republicans".

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment but Democrats and even many Republicans have generally welcomed it. That question, which has been under investigation by the FBI, is now in the hands of someone who is widely considered to be among the top law enforcement agents in the nation. Let's even accept that the shifting explanations for each new revelation represent genuine confusion in a new administration and not clumsy collusion. "I don't think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today".

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and the Justice Department's involvement in that decision.

The developments were a blow to White House efforts to tamp down interest in the Russian Federation investigation as Trump and his staff boarded Air Force One for Saudi Arabia, first stop on his first foreign trip as president.

He was appointed under a rarely used statute that requires him to report the findings of his investigation to Rosenstein in a confidential report.

"I welcome his role at the Department of Justice", Ryan added.

"I wrote it. I believe it".

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Rosenstein was originally invited by the two Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democrat Chuck Schumer of NY, to explain Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein denounced that as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment.

While Trump has said the "facts" discussed included terrorism and airline flight safety, which he had an "absolute right" to discuss with Russia, Lavrov on Thursday was also asked to comment on the matter.

The appointment of the special counsel indicates other believe that's still open to question.

Rosenstein's announcement followed more than a week of chaos emanating from the White House, starting with Comey's firing last Tuesday and continuing through the news Monday that Trump divulged classified information to Russian officials and Tuesday's stunning report that Trump asked Comey in a private meeting to stop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March after acknowledging undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, leaving the matter in Rosenstein's hands.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump called Comey weeks after he took office on January 20 and asked him when federal authorities were going to say Trump was not under investigation.

But Rosenstein did not disclose further details about the memo he wrote, according to House members on Friday.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Mueller, who will have wide-ranging powers, said simply: "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability".

Other reports by GizPress

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