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Trump decries special prosecutor probing Russian Federation links

19 May 2017

"If your implication is that the White House wants this, I think that's wrong", said Senate judiciary chair Chuck Grassley Wednesday night.

Mr Robert Mueller, a highly respected former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) chief, was appointed by Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday - reportedly with only a half-hour's notice given to the White House.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Comey should still appear before congressional committees that have invited him to testify.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign - but I can only speak for myself - and the Russians". Trump said in a tweet.

"Graham said that the creation of the special counsel will likely hamper congressional probes". "This is the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in American history!"

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Despite the president's furious reaction, some fellow Republicans welcomed Mr Mueller's appointment and expressed hopes it would restore some composure to a capital plunged in chaos.

Graham said congressional committees and subcommittees will now find it hard to subpoena the records of somebody like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or to call former FBI Director James Comey to testify: "If I were Mr. Mueller, I would jealously guard the witness pool", Graham said.

"We'll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie", said Sen.

On Thursday, Rosenstein informed the Senate in a closed-door session about Trump's controversial decision to dump Comey. And I think it's a very, very negative thing.

The same pattern was in evidence when he fired FBI Director James Comey last week then used a television interview to suggest he acted out of frustration with the FBI's Russian Federation probe - even though his team spent several days saying the ousting of the bureau's director had nothing to do with that issue. Trump himself had already contradicted that explanation, telling interviewers earlier that he had already made a decision to dismiss Comey.

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He offered new justifications for his decision on Thursday, even while referring to the Rosenstein memo as "a very, very strong recommendation".

Mr Trump referred to Mr Comey's appearance at a recent Capitol Hill hearing, after which the Justice Department ended up having to amend part of his evidence regarding last year's probe of Hillary Clinton's email practices.

"That was a poor, poor performance", Trump said.

Instead of being a popular decision, the firing was met by a tsunami of criticism by Democrats because as FBI director, Comey oversaw the investigation of Russian meddling in the USA election and potential ties to Trump's campaign.

"There (were) no facts laid out as to why you would change that, but appointing a special counsel has created, I think, a dynamic for Congress that's going have to be leery of crossing into Mr. Mueller's lane because the possibility of a criminal investigation".

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Senate intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, noted that Senate investigators were still pursuing former national security adviser Michael Flynn, even though they do not yet know how Flynn will respond to their subpoena for documents. "I hope that we don't inadvertently trip up or damage the independent investigation of the special counsel", he said.