Trump decries 'single greatest witch hunt' in US history

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan said Thursday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller is a "great choice" to oversee a probe into possible links between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

Mueller was chosen Wednesday by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take over the Russian Federation investigation after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who had been conducting the probe.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!", Trump wrote.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!"

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

The comments mirrored a speech by Trump on Wednesday, before Mueller's appointment was announced, in which he said no politician in history "has been treated worse or more unfairly".

His complaints contrasted sharply with the near universal welcome in Washington for Robert Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director picked for the special counsel post Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Multiple news outlets reported Tuesday that prior to ousting Comey, Trump asked him to terminate an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The reports, based on a memo Comey wrote after their conversation, fueled allegations by Democrats that the Republican president may have been trying to obstruct the investigation.

Congressional investigators want to question Kushner, the president's son-in-law, about why he failed to disclose his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian business leaders on his security clearance forms.

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The U.S. intelligence community already has concluded that Moscow meddled in the election to help Trump claim the White House by hacking into the computer files of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

The committee is one of several on Capitol Hill investigating possible collusion between Russian Federation and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Interest was hardly limited to the U.S. 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". A selloff in USA stocks looked set to extend into its second day on Thursday.

Democratic senators had been prepared to press him to appoint a special prosecutor, and his decision defused their complaints, leading to praise instead.

Lawfare sees significance in the reference to Section 600.4 (a), a statute that authorizes special counsels to investigate only those things that are "within the scope of his or her jurisdiction".

Trump assembled his inner circle in the Oval Office - Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Preibus, economic adviser Gary Cohn, senior strategist Steve Bannon, and others - and gave them a pep talk, dictating the statement that was soon released. "I certainly hope there wasn't any but if there is there are going to be very serious consequences", Dent told CNN.

Mueller said in a statement tweeted by CBS News: "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability". "This won't be a witch hunt", he said on CNN.

The move followed a week in which the White House was thrown into uproar after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Richard Painter, the former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, said government attorneys are usually required to recuse themselves from cases involving clients of their former firms.

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