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Trump decries special prosecutor probing Russian Federation links
19 May 2017, 10:46 | Jan Cross
Neither, for that matter, did President Trump's firing of Comey, which the president linked to his frustration with the amount of time devoted to that investigation, to the exclusion of an investigation into illegal leaks of classified information. Mueller was appointed under another statute that had been used only once before to investigate allegations of government wrongdoing in the deadly raid of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas.
"No. No. Next question", Trump told a news conference in the White House, when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey to end the probe.
Since Comey's firing on May 9, the calls for Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel intensified, especially from Democratic lawmakers who believed he could no longer be impartial in the Russian Federation investigation, given his role in the firing.
Early in the day, a seething Trump took to Twitter to blast the appointment, which shook Washington and sent world stock markets tumbling.
Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, named Mueller amid mounting pressure in Congress for an independent investigation beyond existing FBI and congressional probes into the Russian Federation issue.
Republicans on Capitol Hill hoped the same, reasoning the appointment of a special counsel could free them to work on a major tax overhaul and other matters without constant distractions.
"The entire thing has been a witch hunt", Trump said during a press conference in the East Room of the White House.
"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!" "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" added Trump.
Though the details of Rosenstein's Senate address aren't publicly available, Vice reported several Senators' responses after the meeting.
Trump Denies Comey Allegations, Collusion with Russia
Trump said that Comey "was very unpopular with most people" and said that he was expecting more widespread praise for the firing. Those comments appear to contradict information Rosenstein told senators during a briefing on Thursday.
United States intelligence suspects that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a sweeping campaign to tilt the vote in the Republican's favor.
After the Senate briefing was announced Monday by a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that he hoped senators on both sides of the aisle would "use this opportunity to seek the full truth" about Comey's firing.
McCaskill emerged from the closed door briefing to confirm what Rosenstein said.
Why Mr Rosenstein felt compelled to write the memo remains unknown. He's departing having fervently denied that his campaign had collaborated with Russian Federation or that he'd tried to kill an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe of the issue - and claiming to be the most hounded president in history. "According to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, "[Rosenstein] said over and over again that Mueller is going to draw the scope of this investigation, that Mueller is going to have the resources, that Mueller is not going to be interfered with by him or the Department of Justice". This could potentially delay or defer the investigations that five different Senate and House committees are pursuing.
Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Trump May 8, when the president asked them to put into writing their thoughts on Comey.
"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", he said.
He said he respected the special counsel appointment but also said it "hurts our country terribly".
President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election, tweeting that it is "the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in American history!"
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