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Russia probe: Trump cries victim of 'greatest witch hunt' in American history

Russia probe: Trump cries victim of 'greatest witch hunt' in American history

At this point, the White House can not risk being made to look as though it is slow-walking or spinning oversight or investigations - not when Democrats, aided by the mainstream media, claim the president has somehow obstructed justice.

Asked whether he had had such a conversation with Comey, Trump denied it flatly: "No".

With the 2018 Congressional mid-term elections fast approaching, maybe of Trump's erstwhile allies face a hard campaign dominated by questions about the president's conduct and with few legislative victories to fall back on.

Wednesday's appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate potential collusion between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign drew a restrained initial response - followed by angry tweets - from Trump and cautious approval from Florida members of Congress.

President Trump has insisted he is not the one under investigation, but that could easily change.

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".

He added: "The entire thing has been a witch hunt. Zero", he told the news conference, standing alongside Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

He did not offer any evidence of such acts in his reference to former Democratic President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

He slammed the Justice Department's decision Thursday morning by tweeting - "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history". Democrats rejected Mr Trump's characterisation.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar responded, "This is a truth hunt".

But it's also worth wondering whether the stock market has another positive going for it - the prospect that the nation's straight-laced vice president, Mike Pence, could take over for Donald Trump.

Grown-ups brawl at high school graduation in Tennessee
This is the shocking moment a brawl breaks out between parents at a high school graduation ceremony - in a row over a seat. It's unclear if anyone was arrested, but the altercation ended with one woman in handcuffs.

Flynn and other advisers to Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race, Reuters reported on Thursday. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was part of the Trump campaign, recused himself from involvement after it became clear that he did not tell the entire truth during his confirmation hearing about his contacts with Russian Federation.

The senator said counterintelligence investigations, such as the ones being conducted by Congress, do not need a special prosecutor, but "a criminal investigation might". 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.

"He answered a lot of questions but declined to answer a lot, as well", Durbin said.

"You know the biggest problem for Republicans is not the firing of James Comey", Feehery said.

-On his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey: "I actually thought when I made that decision - and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein".

Senator Claire McCaskill said Rosenstein testified that he knew Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo.

In another Twitter post Thursday, Trump said: "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!" It cited two people briefed on the call.

Around the same time that Trump was preparing for his press conference, Rosenstein reportedly told the full Senate that Trump had already made a decision to fire Comey before Trump asked him to submit a memo that would amount to reasoning.

A key issue Mueller may have to tackle is whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice, an offense that could be used in any effort in the Republican-led Congress to impeach him and remove him from office.

"I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead", said Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.


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