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Trump calls naming of special counsel move a 'witch hunt'

21 Mai 2017

Despite Mr Trump's declarations that there was no conspiracy, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the Russian Federation investigation now appears to be considered criminal.

At the same time, congressional committees are continuing their own investigations, leading to some turf warfare and sniping as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both sought to lay claim to testimony from Comey, while the House Oversight Committee also hoped to hear from the former director.

"I think this was a great move and he (Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein) picked the right guy", he told KTAR News 92.3 FM's Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Thursday.

Rosenstein, who Wednesday appointed a special counsel to investigate possible Russia-Trump campaign coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign, made his appearances before Congress as Trump was preparing to leave for his first foreign trip as president.

"I wrote it. I believe it".

Friday's report quotes Mr Trump calling ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey "crazy" and "a real nut job".

Asked at a press conference in the White House if he had asked Mr Comey to "back off" on an investigation into Flynn, as reported by the New York Times and other media outlets earlier this week, Mr Trump replied: "No, no".

The president also suggested that the investigation now being headed by Mueller was motivated by an attempt by Democrats to explain away "having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein faced questions by USA senators desperate for details about his appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump's associates and Russian Federation.

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

Earlier on Thursday, Trump had called the naming of Mueller as special prosecutor to head the investigation into his campaign's Russian Federation links a "witch hunt".

Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of MA echoed that sentiment, saying there was "considerable frustration" and that "he refused to answer a lot of questions".

"I think it shows division, and it shows that we're not together as a country", he continued.

He offered new justifications for his decision Thursday, even while referring to the Rosenstein memo as "a very, very strong recommendation".

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment of a special counsel, a prosecutor with wide authority to investigate Russia's interference and other potential crimes uncovered. However, at a combative news conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Mueller, who will have wide-ranging powers, said simply: "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability".

Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous".

At least one GOP lawmaker used the session to voice the view, embraced by Trump, that the entire investigation is a "witch hunt" against the president, according to two fellow Republicans who attended.

Trump calls naming of special counsel move a 'witch hunt'