Trump claims witch hunt, says he's most hounded leader ever

Trump claims witch hunt, says he's most hounded leader ever

He remained in his Federal Bureau of Investigation post under Democratic President Barack Obama, who took the unprecedented step of keeping him on as Federal Bureau of Investigation director for two years beyond the customary 10 year term.

A day after appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the independent probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared behind closed doors before the full Senate.

Mueller was named as special counsel on Wednesday, one day after a report surfaced that Trump had requested ex-FBI Director James Comey end any investigations involving National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation. 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.

"We need to let this process play out", he said.

"I think that opportunity has been lost, maybe for the greater good, but there are a lot of people in that room who were shocked that when a special counsel has been appointed, that Congress has limitations on what we can do".

The White House initially said that letter prompted Trump to fire Comey, but Trump later said he had already chose to dismiss him and was thinking of "this Russian Federation thing". You couldn't have picked a better man to do the job, and I think most people in that meeting are generally okay with the idea of a special counsel.

He added: "The entire thing has been a witch hunt".

"If you can't control yourself, just tell me where to send the flowers", he added.

Trump said he was about to name a replacement for Comey, another effort to settle the waters.

Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development "helps assure people and the Justice Department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along". He tweeted: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!". And he prepared for meetings with Trump meticulously, concerned that the businessman president who has no previous political experience in Washington or with the law would push against legal and ethical guardrails.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!"

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 by take-off time.

"I think that's an open question", said Democratic Senator Chris Coons of DE when asked whether Comey would appear before Congress, adding that it remained to be seen "how ongoing congressional investigations will be coordinated with the special counsel". Marco Rubio: "Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism".

His appointment raises the stakes dramatically on the long-simmering allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election and had connections with members of the Trump campaign.

Republicans on Capitol Hill hoped the same, reasoning that the appointment of a special counsel could free them to work on a major tax overhaul - and other matters - without constant distractions. "I am confident he will serve with integrity and professionalism, and will conduct a thorough and fair investigation".

"It's clear that his governing agenda is being sidelined because of the unremitting chaos, the unrelenting chaos that is a fundamental part of Donald Trump and, therefore, a fundamental part of the Trump presidency", said former George W. Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner.

"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to his removal", said Sen.

Harriger said a special counsel is usually brought it when the DOJ's response might not be viewed as reliable by the public.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr indicated at one point that Flynn was resisting the committee's document subpoenas, but later clarified that he hadn't actually heard from Flynn's lawyer to that effect and he would welcome "their willingness to cooperate".

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