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'Most hounded leader ever' - Donald Trump claims witch hunt over Russian Federation investigation

19 May 2017

Mueller was appointed to oversee the Russian Federation investigation less than a week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

A day after appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared behind closed doors before the full Senate.

A special counsel, by contrast, is an official appointed by the Justice Department and subject, like many other federal criminal investigators and prosecutors, to the Justice Department's supervision and control.

Justice Department announcement of a special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election for president, including questions about ties between Russia and President Trump and Trump associates, speaks to the strength of checks and balances within the federal government.

However, President Donald Trump is completely against the appointment of a special counsel. Tim Scott, R-S.C. "I do think that the special prosecutor provides a sense of calm and confidence perhaps for the American people, which is incredibly important". According to the AP, the president said it "shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not unified country" and is "a very, very negative thing".

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"The entire thing has been a witch hunt", he declared, echoing one of the tweets he'd sent out just after dawn: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" "If I were Mr. Mueller, I would jealously guard the witness pool". Some Democrats have lauded the appointment, seeing it as corroborating their allegations about collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to flip the election.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar responded, "This is a truth hunt".

"This was a very good first step".

And Senator John Cornyn, who had been considered a contender for FBI director but removed himself from the running, said he believes senators are taking the investigation "enormously seriously".

Most Republicans did not join their Democratic colleagues in calling for a special prosecutor, preferring to keep their faith in the congressional and career FBI investigators.

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Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, Republican 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".

First, it's crucial to distinguish between a "special counsel", such as this is, and an "independent counsel".

Meanwhile, Sen Richard Burr of North Carolina, who chairs the intelligence committee, created confusion on Capitol Hill by saying that a lawyer for Michael Flynn had told the panel Flynn would not be complying with the panel's subpoena for documents.

Did he urge Comey at a February meeting to drop his probe of the Russian Federation connections of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn? It was not clear what caused the mix-up.

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