Trump labels Russian Federation inquiry 'witch hunt'

Elias Hubbard
May 19, 2017

"I have made no such determination", Rosenstein said.

His comment on Twitter came after former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller was appointed a special counsel with sweeping powers to head the probe.

Graham's statement is also a dramatic about-face for the senator.

Trump was to hold a joint news conference with the president of Colombia later Thursday, before leaving Friday for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, which aides hope can have the effect of refocusing a White House in disarray.

A special counsel has the powers of a United States attorney, according to the BBC.

By Wednesday, White House officials had backed off blaming Rosenstein for the firing and the next day Trump contradicted his own officials and told NBC News that the decision to fire Comey was his alone and he was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing with Trump" when he made it. Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was seen as the front-runner.

"President Trump again is demonstrating his contempt for the rule of law", he said.

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.

"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!" In addition to his investigatory and prosecutorial abilities with relation to the interference in the election, as set out by Rosenstein, Mueller is also granted the capacity to pursue crimes committed in the course of his probe.

"Sometimes it seems hard to find public officials who are respected and trusted by all sides", said Ryan Hurl, instructor of political science at the University of Toronto.

"We'll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie", said Sen. "In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country".

In a series of early morning tweets, Trump complained that he was being singled out in a way Democrats had not been.

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

Rod Rosenstein probably had to negotiate over the language in the infamous memo used as pretext for FBI Director James Comey's ouster.

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

A similar appointment came in 2003 when the Bush Justice Department turned to Patrick Fitzgerald, then the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Pressure to place the Russia probe in independent hands intensified this week following reports that Trump pressured Comey to reel back the Russia investigation as it pertained to Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who was sacked over concerns about his Russian contacts.

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he was supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.

"The appointment of former FBI director and respected lawyer Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russian Federation investigation is a positive development and will provide some certainty for the American people that the investigation will proceed fairly and free of political influence", Senator Richard Burr said and Mark Warner, chairman and ranking member of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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