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

Trump says he did not ask Comey to end investigation


Mueller was named as special counsel on Wednesday, one day after a report surfaced that Trump had requested ex-FBI Director James Comey end any investigations involving National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Cato's Pilon said Mueller's investigation would determine whether the facts in the investigation warranted prosecution.

Ryan went on to say that he agrees with the decision to appoint a special counsel.

Trump's alleged pressure on Comey - denied by the White House - has exposed the President to accusations of obstructing justice. "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly".

The day after the Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to the congressional investigations into Democrats' claims of Russian interference in United States elections, Trump said he respected the decision, but added: "I think that divides the country".

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His remarks to TV news anchors came one day after Trump launched his Pity Party at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement speech, after learning Rosenstein had named former Mueller special counsel for the Russian Federation investigation. "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". He has served presidents of both political parties and, after taking the director job days before the September 11 attacks, oversaw the FBI's terrorism-fighting efforts over the next decade.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat, said there was "no better person who could be asked to perform this function". Facing persistent questions from Democratic senators at his confirmation hearing, Rosenstein would not commit to an appointment, saying all investigations conducted by the Justice Department are by definition "independent investigations".

It marks at least the third time in just over a week that Trump has either contradicted or muddled a statement from his White House.

Chances that such a commission, or a special committee, will be created have dimmed enormously thanks to the Mueller appointment. The official said there was widespread agreement among staff that the appointment of Mueller provides Trump and his aides with the opportunity to "commit ourselves to doubling down on the agenda".

"This is a truth hunt", said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said Rosenstein would be questioned about a letter he wrote accusing Comey of missteps as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, including his handling of an election-year probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

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The leaders of the House Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway and Rep. Adam Schiff, announced Thursday that they sent a formal request to the FBI seeking records of Comey's discussions with Trump.

The White House disputed Comey's account of the February conversation concerning Flynn, but did not offer specifics.

The President's comment may also conflict with a sound legal strategy, given that he could eventually be called upon to testify to Mueller's probe.

The Justice Department said Mueller has resigned from his job at a private law firm, WilmerHale, to take the job. That firm is also home to Jamie Gorelick, who has represented Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Manafort is Trump's former campaign chairman, and has been an important focus of the USA investigation of Trump's associates and Russian Federation. "A special prosecutor can not take the place of a truly independent outside commission that is completely free from the Trump administration's meddling". "As Mueller oversees an investigation of past crimes, we need a bipartisan-appointed, independent commission to investigate what happened, make a credible public report, and come up with reforms to prevent future crimes". Still, he is not subject to the day-to-day supervision of the Justice Department.

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