'Zero' Russia collusion; 'whole thing has been a witch hunt'

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 20, 2017

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly briefed senators on Mueller's appointment on Thursday, but refused to give a public statement.

Calls for a special investigation mounted after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week.

When the news broke this week that President Trump had passed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister at a White House meeting, administration officials said the story was "false". Comey has long arms so Comey said he pre-emptively reached out for a handshake and grabbed the president's hand. Joe Lieberman was among the finalists.

But calmness seemed far off.

Comey reportedly told Wittes that he spent the first two months of Trump's presidency trying to keep his distance from the White House and rejecting the thirsty advances of Trump, clearly desperate to form a personal relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion", he said.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself and the Russians, zero".

"Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt", he said, insisting there had been "no collusion" between his campaign and Russian Federation. "It's special", Trump said.

Trump's Monday tweet threatening former acting Attorney General Sally Yaters and Trump's Friday tweet threatening former FBI Director James Comey were both seen as possible criminal violations of witness tampering. He went on to sharply criticize the investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russian officials to influence the USA election.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment. He said Washington needs to get back to issues like creating jobs, health care - saying "we don't have health care in this country" - and his broad outline of a tax cut plan, which he promised would, if passed, be the "biggest tax cut in the history of our nation".

"I do think there is a serious problem with leakers inside the administration and holdovers who can't stand the president and will do anything they can to hurt him".

Mr Trump also criticised Mr Comey for his performance during a recent appearance before Congress, and said Mr Comey's replacement is "going to be outstanding".

Mr Trump himself had already contradicted that explanation, telling interviewers earlier he had already chose to dismiss Mr Comey.

He offered new justifications for his decision on Thursday, even while referring to the Rosenstein memo as "a very, very strong recommendation".

Given everything we know about and have seen of Donald Trump over the past almost two years as a candidate and now as a president, it seems not only highly plausible, but a near certainty, that Trump would do anything he pleased to discredit or, better yet, end the investigation into him and his allies. "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor. "And then on top of that, after the Wednesday performance by Director Comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before, because there were misstatements made".

"Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn't going to be a hug", Mr. Wittes said.

The release of portions of Comey's memos to the New York Times, which chronicle his interactions with Trump, has shaken portions of the president's Republican support in Congress and effectively prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

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

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