Trump slams Comey, once more dismisses Russian Federation probe as "witch hunt"

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

The announcement was made by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

After the White House put out a subdued statement on Wednesday night about former FBI Director Robert Mueller being named special counsel, Trump publicly vented on Thursday morning about the new probe.

"We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us", the President said. Rosenstein's "got the power to do it and you have to accept it and it doesn't matter what we think".

Congressional investigators "will have to be very leery of crossing into Mr. Mueller's lane", he said.

"I think it divides the country; I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things", the President added. "Zero", he said at a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"Well, I respect the move but the entire thing has been a witch hunt", Trump said when asked about the investigation.

"We don't want to do anything to get in the way", said Texas Republican John Cornyn, who serves as majority whip. "But we have to go back to running this country really, really well".

Asked if he thought he had done anything to warrant criminal charges or impeachment as some on the left have demanded, the Republican president replied: "I think it's totally ridiculous".

Politicians on both sides of the aisle, at least publicly, are celebrating the appointment of the artist formerly known as FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counselor to head up the Justice Department's investigation into what role, if any, Donald Trump might have had in Russia's interference with the presidential election.

Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development "helps assure people and the Justice Department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along". By several senators' accounts, he contradicted Trump's statements that Rosenstein's written criticism of FBI Director James Comey had been a factor in Comey's recent firing by the president.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", he wrote on Twitter.

In addition to complaining he was being abused in unprecedented ways, he took aim anew at his presidential rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying she never faced a special counsel despite "all the illegal acts that took place" in her campaign.

Trump is leaving today for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, which aides hope can have the effect of refocusing a White House in disarray.

Reactions from Congress to Mueller's appointment were mainly positive, even though Republicans had dismissed an independent outside investigation as unnecessary and duplicative of what congressional committees already are doing.

Mueller will have almost unfettered access to witnesses and information, and the ability to bring criminal charges.

His appointment raises the stakes dramatically on the long-simmering allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election and had connections with members of the Trump campaign.

" There's frankly no need for a special prosecutor".

"This was a very good first step. Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor. "I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead".

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said a lawyer for Flynn, a key figure in the Trump-Russia investigations, had told the intelligence committee that Flynn would not comply with the panel's subpoena for personal documents related to the committee's own probe.

The House intelligence committee announced that it had asked for documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department.

Graham said Rosenstein did not explain why the investigation had changed.

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