Trump claims ‘witch hunt’ after special counsel named

Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump denounced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s ties with Russia Thursday, repeatedly calling it an unprecedented “witch hunt” that “hurts our country terribly.” Even as he erupted anew, fellow Republicans expressed hopes the move would restore some calm to a capital plunged into chaos.

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. Lawmakers of both parties sought to question him about Trump’s firing last week of FBI Director James Comey, which was followed by news that Trump had shared secrets with the Russians and tried to stop Comey from investigating former presidential adviser Michael Flynn.

“We’ll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. “I do think that the special prosecutor provides a sense of calm and confidence perhaps for the American people, which is incredibly important.”

Trump strongly disagreed. The appointment, he said in a briefing with news anchors, “hurts our country terribly.”

He said it “shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not unified country” and is “a very, very negative thing.”

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.

“Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt,” he said, insisting there had been “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

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

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that former FBI director Robert Mueller has been given sweeping power to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, including potential links between Moscow and Trump campaign associates.

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.”

 

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