Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump claims 'witch hunt'; GOP puts hope in special counsel


"I believe it hurts our country terribly because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump said in his first public remarks about the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to probe the Russian controversy.

"He learned the president's decision to fire him and then he wrote his memo with his rationale", Durbin said.

It's telling that the White House was only told about the appointment of the special counsel after the order was already signed, said Robert W. Murray, managing director for Dentons Canada. In a tweet earlier Thursday, Trump said "this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician" in USA history.

The White House initially said last week that a letter Rosenstein wrote accusing Comey of missteps as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, including his handling of an election-year probe into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, was what prompted Trump to fire Comey.

Trump spoke at a meeting with top news anchors at the White House. "And I think it's a very negative thing", Trump continued, repeating himself. "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said Thursday on the Senate floor.

White House knew sacked adviser was under investigation
The person who described the Comey memo to the AP was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Flynn is one of the subjects of the FBI investigation.


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".

A former FBI chief was tasked Wednesday with leading a beefed-up investigation into whether Donald Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favour.

After the Senate briefing was announced Monday by a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that he hoped senators on both sides of the aisle would "use this opportunity to seek the full truth" about Comey's firing.

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he is supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.

"If there is no evidence found on any of the claims that are being made and Mr. Trump and his campaign are completely exonerated, it would take somebody with Mr. Mueller's credibility to be able to make that claim", said Murray.

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Trump himself, in a statement right after the appointment late Wednesday, said merely, "A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity". Several congressional Republicans said Wednesday that if Trump did suggest that Comey "let this go" regarding Flynn's Russian contacts, it was probably just a joke, light banter.

Mueller was appointed Wednesday by Rosenstein, who had faced criticism as the author of a memo that preceded Comey's firing.

Senate intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, noted that Senate investigators were still pursuing former national security adviser Michael Flynn, even though they do not yet know how Flynn will respond to their subpoena for documents.

The universal praise for Mueller means that whatever comes of the investigation will likely be deemed credible and true by both parties.

Trump interviews 4 candidates to post of FBI director
The president has suggested he hopes to name Comey's successor before he departs Friday for his first overseas trip as president. Joe Lieberman testifies on behalf of David Friedman in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 16.


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