Trump claims ‘witch hunt’; GOP puts hope in special counsel


The US Department of Justice has named Robert Mueller, a former head of the FBI, as special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with Donald Trump’s team.

Sen. Marco Rubio commented on President Trump’s statement that the situation is a “witch hunt” as well saying, “He’s entitled to his opinion but ‘we are a nation of laws'”.

Also via Twitter, Trump accused former president Barack Obama and his 2016 rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, of unspecified “illegal acts”.

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.

A day after appointing former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller to lead the independent probe, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appeared behind closed doors before the full Senate.

The pressure for an outside review heightened a day later, when the New York Times reported that Trump had asked the FBI Director, James Comey, to halt an investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, over his contacts with Russian officials. In fact, sources tell that Trump was very unhappy when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself of the investigation, giving Trump less control of the matter.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Trump shot down allegations that his campaign had ties to “any foreign entity” and said that he looks forward to “this matter concluding quickly”.

Trump later said in an interview with NBC News last week that he had chose to fire Comey “regardless of the recommendation” from the Justice Department.

The announcement was made by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, underscored that with Mueller’s appointment, the investigation will now move into a new, potentially less partisan phase that could be much more damaging to Trump.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump called Comey weeks after he took office on January 20 and asked him when federal authorities were going to say Trump was not under investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein explained that his decision to appoint a special counsel was “not the finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecutions is warrant”. “But now, with Mueller being chosen and the GOP backing the Justice Department decision, Trump is truly going to be held to the standards of justice”.

“I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country”, Trump said at a luncheon with a group of television news anchors.

“If I were Mr. Mueller I would jealously guard the witness pool”, Graham said.

The decision follows Trump’s abrupt dismissal of the FBI Director James Comey last week. “And numerous questions he declined to answer came down to his concern of whether he might interfere with the investigation by Robert Mueller”.

Comey succeeded him, appointed by Obama.

Mueller is relatively immune from the many vagaries of President Trump. But GOP lawmakers have grown increasingly anxious since Trump fired Comey, who had been leading the bureau’s probe – and after Comey associates said he had notes from a meeting in which Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into the Russian Federation ties of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. But Rosenstein was politically stampeded into naming Mueller as special counsel by what could turn out to be an entirely spurious news report.

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