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Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry is 'greatest witch hunt' in history, says Trump

19 May 2017

Trump did not specify what he meant by illegal acts.

The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

Once again, Trump's tweets on Thursday saw him stake out a radical departure from the official White House line on an important issue, a habit that has repeatedly undermined his press operation in recent days, and made it even more hard for his administration to move on from a string of self-imposed crises.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday disparaged the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign's links to Russian interests in last year's presidential election, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

His appointment, by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was a striking shift for the Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly insistent calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor.

Politicians from both parties sought to question him about Mr Trump's firing last week of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, which was followed by news that Mr Trump had shared secrets with the Russians and tried to stop Mr Comey from investigating former presidential adviser Michael Flynn.

With the 2018 Congressional mid-term elections fast approaching, maybe of Trump's erstwhile allies face a hard campaign dominated by questions about the president's conduct and with few legislative victories to fall back on.

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But Mr Trump, after issuing a measured statement when the news first broke on Wednesday evening, allowed his resentment to burst forth on Thursday in angry morning tweets.

"And he said that ever since, the President had been trying to be chummy in a fashion that Comey felt was created to absorb him into Trump's world - to make him part of the team".

He said he respected the special counsel appointment but also said it "hurts our country terribly".

Rosenstein was on Capitol Hill this afternoon and faced tough questions from senators about the events that led up to FBI Director James Comey's termination and his decision to appoint a special counsel.

As for Mueller, he's been promised the resources he needs to follow leads in the investigation and that includes the resources of the FBI.

Reactions from Congress to Mueller's appointment were mainly positive, even though Republicans had dismissed an independent outside investigation as unnecessary and duplicative of what congressional committees already are doing.

A self-described friend of Comey's wrote in a public blog post on Thursday that Comey had told him that he had rebuffed a Trump request for loyalty by promising only honesty.

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"The problem is all this stuff here at home is going to follow him overseas", said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

His advice to the president: "Stay disciplined, stay focused and deliver on the world stage".

"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.

On Tuesday, Trump repeatedly mispronounced the name of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Erdogan stood beside him.

Over the last two weeks, Trump's official schedule was relatively light as aides made time for him to cram on geopolitics for a trip that will take him from the complexities of the Middle East to summit meetings with skeptical-to-hostile leaders in Europe. Allen said the briefings could get quite precise: "this is what you will see, what they will say, what you might discuss, what you need to know".

The tweets fly in the face of the statement issued on Wednesday night which had appeared as an attempt by Trump's staff to tamp down the raging political storm over Russian Federation which has resulted in Trump's worst week in office so far.

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