Trump decries 'witch-hunt' after special counsel picked for probe

19 Mai, 2017, 23:03 | Author: Claudine Rigal

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will be at front of a special council tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In a briefing with news anchors, Trump said the probe - to be led by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller - "hurts our country terribly". You might remember President Trump fired the last head of the investigation and previous FBI director James Comey on May 9.

"I think it's totally ridiculous, everybody thinks so", the President said about the investigation into Russian meddling, and whether it had ties to any Trump associates.

"We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us", the President said. "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". However, US media reported that a top Republican on that panel said it had been advised that Mr Flynn would not honour a subpoena to appear before the committee for questioning.

"I think it divides the country; I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things", the President added.

He leapt to make the point again at a joint news conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, describing the development as a distraction.

"I'm fine with whatever people want to do", he added. "But we have to go back to running this country really, really well".

And after Rosenstein's appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel, Graham announced that the probe has fundamentally changed in nature.

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Trump later said in an interview with NBC News last week that he had chose to fire Comey "regardless of the recommendation" from the Justice Department.

But Trump, after issuing a measured statement when the news first broke yesterday, allowed his resentment to burst forth overnight in angry morning tweets. "This is the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in American history!"

Trump is leaving today for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, which aides hope can have the effect of refocusing a White House in disarray.

Now Mueller will have almost unfettered access to witnesses and information, and the ability to bring criminal charges.

Russian Federation has been at the heart of Trump's recent string of controversies, but Putin's government has repeatedly brushed off the suggestion that it has had any role to play in the drama.

Democratic senators had been prepared to press Rosenstein to take the step of appointing a special prosecutor, but were left praising him instead before his closed-door briefing began. "I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead". Congressional investigators have been seeking Comey's memos on his meeting with Trump, as well as documents from the Justice Department related to his firing. They are appointed when an investigation by a USA attorney would present a conflict of interest or "under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter", says the law allowing for special counsels.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said, "It's now considered a criminal investigation and Congress's ability to conduct investigations of all things Russian Federation has been severely limited - probably in an appropriate way". It was not clear what caused the mix-up.

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