Trump decries special counsel’s appointment as ‘single greatest witch-hunt’ in US history
WASHINGTON (TIP): Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been appointed as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible collusion between President Donald Trump‘s campaign and Moscow.
The decision by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller, 72, as special counsel came on Wednesday, May 17, following a week of turmoil for the White House after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading a federal probe into the matter.
Rosenstein said he had taken the decision “to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” including “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
President Donald Trump on Thursday, May18, decried the appointment of a special counsel to lead the Russia probe as “the single greatest witch-hunt” in US history, hours after he said he looked forward to a thorough investigation.
In the face of rising pressure from Capitol Hill, the US Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
Trump said in a statement on Wednesday night that “a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.” In a pair of Twitter posts on Thursday morning, Trump made clear he was unhappy with the latest development to roil his administration. “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!” Trump wrote, misspelling the word counsel as he referred to former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
The comments mirrored a speech by Trump on Wednesday, before Mueller’s appointment was announced, in which he said no politician in history “has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, Rosenstsein said a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. “Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,” he added.
Mueller served as FBI director for 12 years after his nomination by President George W Bush in 2001. Cutting across party lines, top American lawmakers welcomed Mueller’s appointment for the investigation.
“The appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia 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.
Democratic Senator from Minnesota Al Franken said appointing Mueller is an important step that will help restore the public trust and result in a thorough and comprehensive investigation.
Mueller, a no-nonsense man Known by some as “Bobby Three Sticks” because of his full name – Robert Mueller III, the former FBI director is famous for his no-nonsense style and independence in high-profile government investigations.