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Senator: Trump Russia investigation appears to be criminal investigation

19 May 2017

The US president's defiant Twitter remarks were in contrast to his initial reaction to the appointment of former FBI chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation.

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.

However, fellow Republicans expressed hopes the move would restore some calm to a capital plunged into chaos.

The White House counsel was notified after the special counsel order was signed and soon before it was publicly announced.

But calmness seemed far off.

President Donald Trump speaks at a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in the East Room at the White House on Thursday.

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Asked outright whether he had asked Comey - as reported - to drop the investigation into the Moscow connections of his sacked national security advisor, Michael Flynn, Trump fired back: "No".

Moreover, unlike other enemies Trump has railed against - even some within his own party - Mueller will be harder to defeat in a pure political or public relations context.

A number of times previously, Mr Trump has likened the investigation into potential collusion between his campaign and the Russian government to a witch hunt.

Faso declined, however, to comment on President Donald Trump saying he's the victim of a "witch hunt" or about calls by some Democrats in Congress for Trump to be impeached.

"Appointing a special counsel is not sufficient, Zeidenberg says".

That kind of autonomy is what should be expected from the Justice Department, but given the president's steamrolling of norms and firing of Comey, Americans had good reason to worry about the integrity of any Russian Federation investigation.

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Mueller III's appointment as special counsel may actually be good news for this administration.

"We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us", the President said. 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".

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters gathered outside the briefing room that Rosenstein had "acknowledged that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo", despite the White House initially insisting that Trump fired Comey on Rosenstein's recommendation. In the memo Rosenstein criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

"Next question", Mr. Trump said. "And then on top of that, after the Wednesday performance by Director Comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before, because there were misstatements made".

Democrats and Republicans welcomed it. President Trump? "I said, 'There's no place I'd rather be'".

Trump sent shockwaves across Washington last week by unceremoniously sacking his FBI director - a virtually unprecedented move that came as James Comey was heading an investigation into Team Trump's links to Russian Federation.

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The congressional affairs and communications offices should similarly divorce themselves from whatever inquiries intersect with those of the special counsel and ongoing investigations on Capitol Hill. Rosenstein's "got the power to do it and you have to accept it and it doesn't matter what we think". 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.