Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Trump assails 'witch hunt' after naming of special counsel


Originally, the Trump White House claimed that Comey was sacked based on a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Sen.

Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Christopher Murphy of CT backed up Durbin's account of the briefing.

In a briefing with news anchors, Trump said the probe - to be led by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller - "hurts our country terribly".

On Thursday morning, Trump blasted Mueller's appointment, writing on Twitter that he has been the victim of the "greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" In the past 10 days, the president abruptly made a decision to fire his FBI director and then acknowledged that it was due, in part, to his objections to the Russian Federation investigation. During a White House press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Trump seemed to soften his tone a bit regarding the investigation.

Trump later acknowledged that he had chose to fire Comey regardless of their recommendation because of what he called "the Russian Federation thing". Neronha said variety of previous jobs makes him uniquely qualified head the investigation.

Asked whether it was the "right move" or a "witch hunt" for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to have named a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election and possible Trump campaign collusion, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he can only speak for himself.

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"Believe me, there's no collusion", Trump said.

2 Democrat in the Senate, said Rosenstein told lawmakers at a closed briefing that he learned of President Trump's decision to fire Comey "and then he wrote his memo with his rationale" for the president's action.

In the last few days, reports have surfaced that Comey kept memos of their conversations, including one in which he pressured Comey to drop an investigation into his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. "Mueller can request additional resources, make his own calls about where to point the investigation, and in general can operate in some sense more autonomously than an ordinary U.S. attorney because of the designation 'special counsel.'" Mueller's next step will be to create a budget for the investigation's resources together to be approved by Rosenstein in 60 days.

The announcement, the latest in the shock-a-day Washington saga, was made a day ahead of Rosenstein's scheduled closed-door appearance Thursday afternoon before the Senate.

"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to his removal", said Sen.

Mr Flynn, through his lawyer, had earlier asked for immunity from "unfair prosecution" in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the committee.

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Trump says, "we want to bring this country of ours together". "Zero", he said during the joint news conference at the White House. President Trump publicly denied for the first time that he had tried to pressure former FBI director James B.


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.

"No. No. Next question", Trump told a news conference in the White House, when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey to end the probe.

Zeidenberg was the assistant special counsel in the 2003 investigation into the leaking of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame, which ultimately lead to Vice President Dick Cheney's advisor Scooter Libby being convicted of obstruction of justice, among other counts.

She praised the appointment of Mueller, calling him "a professional" with "a boatload of integrity". His staff has said he'd been mulling it for a long time.

The White House pointed to Rosenstein's memo last week as justification for President Trump's abrupt decision to dismiss Comey.

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Trump abruptly fired Comey on Tuesday and later said Comey was a "showboat" and "grandstander" who was not doing a good job. However, Mr Trump later told NBC News he would have made the decision regardless of the advice he received.


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