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President calls independent investigation into Russia ties a 'witch hunt'

20 Mai 2017

House Democrats are increasingly frustrated with Rod Rosenstein after the deputy attorney general briefed lawmakers Friday on the investigation into Russia's actions in the presidential election and possible ties to the Trump administration.

Senator Claire McCaskill said Rosenstein testified that he knew Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo. But Mueller's integrity is unquestioned.

The disclosure by the senators raises the possibility that Mr. Rosenstein could become a witness in the investigation being run by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, a respected former F.B.I. director who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The day after that seminar, on October 28, Comey disclosed to Congress that the bureau was continuing its investigation of Clinton's emails in light of new evidence. Some still wanted a clearer understanding of why, exactly, he wrote his memo, but reported that despite being asked numerous times in various ways, Rosenstein would not elaborate. And of course, as you well know, Trump later admitted that he was going to fire Comey regardless of what anyone said.

He also said he thought that Comey's firing would be bipartisan. Was he naive enough not to see that coming?

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.

The appointment of Mueller, who headed the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2001-2013, was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has authority over the Russian Federation probe due to the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself because of his role in the Trump campaign.

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders - along with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch - have been calling for an independent Department of Justice investigation for days, their voices part of a chorus composed mostly of Democratic lawmakers.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn generally favorable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well.

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Trump's tweets signal his White House - or at least the man in charge - will try to resist Mueller's investigation, meaning the shadow of that probe will now hang over a White House in need of a morale boost.

"The Intelligence Committee in the Senate has to continue its work, and it should continue full throttle ahead", Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the briefing.

Trump is leaving Friday for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, and aides had hoped the disarray at home would have been calmed if not resolved, allowing the White House to refocus and move ahead.

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 favor.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio also spoke to the press following Rosenstein's testimony but did not say much on Rosenstein's testimony. The White House later tried to pin Trump's decision on the memo Rosenstein authored after that meeting.

Trott says Rosenstein answered that he didn't want to interfere with the independent investigation that will now be run by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

The memo focuses on Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, particularly the FBI director's decision to divulge details to the public at various junctures.

Still, he said he believed that Comey "made his decisions in good faith".

President calls independent investigation into Russia ties a 'witch hunt'