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Special Counsel Part of Biggest 'Witch Hunt' in US History
20 May 2017, 08:12 | Jan Cross
President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation as Congress confronted an apparent setback in its own probes: A lawyer for Michael Flynn said the fired national security adviser would not provide documents for an intelligence panel's inquiry.
"I think it in one sense it is bad news for Trump and it is good news for people who want a robust investigation because Mueller is definitely a straight shooter and he has a good reputation as an FBI director", said Jens David Ohlin, a Cornell University law professor.
"And we have very important things to be doing right now, whether it's trade deals, whether it's military, whether it's stopping nuclear - all of the things that we discussed today". "But the takeaway I had is that everything he said is that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation".
"If you are a member of the Trump White House, you have to be sweating bullets at this point", Whalen said.
Trump has denied any links to Moscow, but the appointment of a special counsel dramatically raises the stakes in a crisis threatening to paralyze his presidency.
The Justice Department's decision to put Mueller in charge of the investigation comes as the White House was already reeling from a series of self-inflicted controversies.
Muellers broad mandate gives him not only oversight of the Russian Federation probe, but also any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. That would surely include Trumps firing last week of FBI Director James Comey. Demands intensified from Democrats on Capitol Hill for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel or prosecutor to oversee the case.
"It's still sinking in", one administration official said, describing an air of uncertainty in the West Wing. "Not asked about it". Since the Ethics in Government Act's expiration in 1999, theoretically an attorney general could fire a special counsel, though the mechanism for doing so is wholly untested, and likely politically impractical. "We've discussed this before", Spicer told reporters. I have made no such determination.
Robert Mueller's appointment follows President Donald Trump's shock sacking of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, who had previously been looking into the claims. Manafort is Trump's former campaign chairman, and has been an important focus of the United States investigation of Trump's associates and Russian Federation.
The appointment could be seen as a signal from Rosenstein.
Comey made it there first, but as Mueller rushed to the hospital he called Ashcroft's security detail and ordered them to prevent the top Bush officials from kicking Comey out of the room.
"Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt", he said, insisting there had been "no collusion" between his campaign and Russian Federation.
He is also authorised to prosecute federal crimes arising from his investigation.
"What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command".
We also contacted the office of Representative Liz Cheney who reportedly took down an earlier Instagram post praising the President's firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
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The Twitter messages were a departure from the more measured tone of a formal statement issued Wednesday night by the White House. Others are already considering leaving, and allies due to join the administration say they are holding off.
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