Trump denies asking Comey to drop probe, decries 'witch hunt'

Olive Rios
May 20, 2017

On Thursday, Trump denied trying to influence the investigation by sacking Comey.

In a briefing with reporters, Trump said the appointment "hurts our country terribly".

"I think it divides the country", he told a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history! "So, we want to get back and keep on the track that we're on, because the track that we're on is record-setting".

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.

The congressman said "Former Director Mueller is a well-respected law enforcement professional who served the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a dozen years under both the Democratic and Republican presidents".

GOP Rep. Mike Conaway, who is leading the House Intelligence committee's Russian Federation investigation, said Mueller's appointment would not affect their investigation either. Trump tweeted, though his misspelled tweet was soon replaced.

President Trump added that there was never a special counsel appointed for illegal acts that took place during Hillary Clinton's campaign or the Obama Administration.

Members of the Trump White House might need to lawyer up.

Mr Trump appointed Mr Flynn as his national security adviser weeks later despite the warning, but he was sacked after just 24 days.

Even Republicans who had said they were opposed to the creation of a new investigator signaled support of the move. Sen.

Mueller's broad mandate gives him not only oversight of the Russian Federation probe, but also over "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

Normally, a special counsel like Mueller would answer to the Attorney General.

"This was a very good first step".

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, the only Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee who opposed Rosenstein's confirmation last month, said Rosenstein ought to make the same points he made to the senators in a public setting. But Mr. Mueller can be trusted to take the investigation only where the facts lead and apply the law as required.

Despite the appointment, at least three congressional committees are continuing their investigations, leading to some turf warfare and sniping as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both sought to lay claim to testimony from Comey, while the House Oversight Committee also hoped to hear from the former director.

Congressional leaders have emphasized that House and Senate investigations will continue irregardless of other investigations. Sen.

"A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity", said the president.

"I think that's an open question", said Democratic Senator Chris Coons, when asked if Comey would appear before Congress, adding that it remains to be seen "how ongoing congressional investigations will be coordinated with the special counsel". He was sacked as national security adviser in February after it emerged he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Russia's ambassador to Washington in December.

Flynn, through his lawyer, had earlier asked for immunity from "unfair prosecution" in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the committee. It was not clear what caused the mix-up.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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