Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Trump calls naming of special counsel move a 'witch hunt'

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Justice Department's appointment of former FBI Chief Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel in the investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election "will confirm" that "there was no collusion" between the Trump campaign and "any foreign entity".

Rosenstein, who was appointed USA attorney by President George W. Bush and held the job for the entire Obama administration, didn't immediately embrace the idea of a special counsel while facing persistent questions from Democratic senators at his confirmation hearing.

In announcing the appointment of a special counselor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he determined the move was "in the public interest".

WASHINGTON (AP) - Brimming with resentment, President Donald Trump fervently denied on Thursday that his campaign had collaborated with Russian Federation or that he'd tried to kill an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of the issue, contending that "even my enemies" recognize his innocence and declaring himself the most unfairly hounded president in history.

But senators present at a closed-door meeting with Mr Rosenstein say the deputy attorney general knew about Mr Comey's impending dismissal the day before he wrote the memo.

Beyond allegedly asking Comey to quit his investigation into Flynn - who has been a central focus of the FBI's investigation into contacts between Trump associates and Russia - Trump said in an interview with NBC last week that he considered the "Russia thing with Trump and Russia' when he made a decision to fire Comey". "We still would like to hear from (former FBI Director James) Comey, we still believe that his public appearance in an open session, and if needed, a closed session, is the right next step for him".

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Under the law, Mueller will have authority to choose his own staff and request his own budget from the Justice Department. The House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Intelligence committees have already requested any Comey memos.

"He appointed Mueller because he was cognizant enough to understand whether or not he thought he could be fair in the investigation was irrelevant", said Steven Silverman, a Baltimore attorney who has known Rosenstein for years.

Rosenstein had faced criticism as the author of a memo that preceded Comey's firing.

White House communications staff initially said the President made a decision to fire Mr Comey after receiving recommendations from both Mr Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The special counsel is also authorized to prosecute any crimes unearthed by the investigation.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a request documented in a memo written by the former FBI director.

Trump said in a statement after the Justice Department announcement he looked forward to a quick resolution.

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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Comey should still appear before congressional committees that have invited him to testify. He further claimed to have fired Mr Comey after deciding that the basis of the FBI's investigation into his possible ties to Russian Federation was a "made-up story".

Trump's spokesman, Sean Spicer, said others being interviewed were acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating and former senior FBI official Richard McFeely.

Mueller, a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, was confirmed as FBI director days before the September 11, 2001, attacks that would ultimately shape his tenure.

A key issue Mueller may have to tackle is whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice, an offense that could be used in any effort in Congress to impeach him and remove him from office. "You can't let them get you down, you can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams". Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov. He is required to tell Congress when the probe concludes, but publicly revealing anything beyond that is up to Rosenstein's discretion.

Trump is preparing to leave town Friday on his first foreign trip, and aides have been hopeful the journey will be a chance for the administration to get back on track after weeks of chaos and distractions.

Burr told reporters Thursday about the response from Flynn's lawyer.

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Attorney who received the contempt certification against Holder did-it might have to fall back on its inherent contempt authority. That same day, Flynn told friends, "I just got a message from the president to stay strong", Yahoo News reports .

The plan was eventually approved by the Trump administration, but not until after Flynn had been fired.

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