Trump tells Russians Comey was a 'nut job'

Claudine Rigal
Mai 20, 2017

"I think at this point, we are 24-hours into him shifting the responsibility to Muller, and he is very comfortable allowing Mueller to take the investigation as far, as deep and as wide as necessary to discern all the information to draw a conclusion". 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.

Many who had been asking for an independent voice in the matter applauded the move and Trump himself reportedly had a measured reaction at first.

The appointment of the special counsel indicates other believe that's still open to question.

Since Comey's firing on May 9, the calls for Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel have intensified, especially from Democratic lawmakers who believe he can longer be impartial in the Russian Federation investigation, given his role in the firing. Joe Lieberman was among his top choices.

Trump undercut that timeline in an interview last week, but in a news conference on Thursday, he said he relied on Rosenstein's recommendation to make his decision. Comey was sacked on May 9.

Did he in fact collude with Russian Federation in his campaign to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton?

"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion", he replied.

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians - zero".

Trump began the day by tweeting that he is the victim of "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", a claim ignoring impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders.

Though many believe the special counsel will conduct a proper probe, some say there's still a need for more outside review. Nixon fired Cox in what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, which was called to the minds of many observers following Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Now we're supposed to believe - again, with no hard evidence, this time from a New York Times report - that, one day after his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned on February 14, President Trump obstructed justice by asking Comey to find a way to drop the FBI's investigation into Flynn's ties with the Russians. Despite the president's furious reaction, some fellow Republicans welcomed Mueller's appointment and expressed hopes it would restore some composure to a capital plunged in chaos.

"We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us", the President said.

And yet, on May 3, Comey himself told the Senate under oath that he had not been politically pressured to halt any investigation.

In the remarks, Rosenstein said he learned a day before Comey's firing that Trump wanted to dismiss him.

A July 5, 2016 press conference in which Comey sharply criticized Clinton's behavior but exonerated her of any legal wrong-doing was "profoundly wrong and unfair", Rosenstein told Congress, to both the Department of Justice, which Comey had not notified before holding the press conference, and to Clinton.

"Everybody thinks so", Trump said when asked about the appointment. "Because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such awful things about Director Comey". Trump attached both documents to his letter informing Comey of his removal.

On a day of fast-moving developments, the House intelligence committee announced that it, too, had asked for documents, in this case from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department.

"The Congress has a broader oversight responsibility than just whether crimes have been committed", Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said during a round-table meeting with Reuters.

"There needs to be a relationship with that investigation where they can say with confidence, 'This really is a problem for us, ' or 'Hey, we'd rather you didn't do it, but it's not a problem, ' " Blunt said.

The president's tweets and comments to the TV anchors drew little reaction from fellow Republicans, who instead joined Democrats in heaping praise on Mr Mueller.

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