Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Trump assails 'witch hunt' after naming of special counsel

Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 02:06

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 370 points recording its worst day since September a year ago, following news that Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to "let go" an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

In a letter to FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, Mr Chaffetz cited a report from the "New York Times" stating that Mr Comey's memo "describes a conversation in which the president referenced the FBI investigation. and said to Comey, 'I hope you can let this go.' " He asked the FBI to provide "all memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings" related to Mr Comey's communication with Mr Trump.

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Rosenstein was briefing the Senate about his decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent Trump-Russia probe.

WASHINGTON-U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election, tweeting Thursday that it is "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Trump later told news anchors at the White House that Mueller's appointment was a "very, very negative thing", adding: "I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country".

Trump continued to assert that there was "no collusion", between his campaign and Russian Federation.

The president's tweets and comments to the TV anchors drew little reaction from fellow Republicans, who instead joined Democrats in heaping praise on Mueller, a longtime respected lawman who served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, preceding Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Not quite everybody. While Trump tweeted and voiced his indignation at the White House, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed an independent special counsel to lead a heightened federal Trump-Russia investigation the day before, briefed the entire Senate behind closed doors at the Capitol.

"This was a very good first step. Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said Thursday on the Senate floor. Flynn, through his lawyer, had earlier asked for immunity from "unfair prosecution" in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the committee.

But he expressed more resentment Thursday in his tweets.

Asked about possible obstruction of justice, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the special counsel would "follow the facts where ever they may lead" and that "it is premature to prejudge anything at this point".

Russian Federation has denied U.S. intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favour. By several senators' accounts, he contradicted Trump's statements that Rosenstein's written criticism of FBI Director James Comey had been a factor in Comey's recent firing by the president.

Trump is preparing to leave town Friday on his first foreign trip, and aides have been hopeful the journey will be a chance for the administration to get back on track after weeks of chaos and distractions.

Republicans have largely stood behind Trump in the first months of his presidency as the FBI and congressional investigations into Russia's election meddling intensified.

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