President Donald Trump is under attack from the political elite and their pals in the mainstream media — and according to the president, their “witch hunt” is so nasty, it’s history-making.
Thursday morning, Trump tweeted the following —
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers, which Democrats are openly hoping it leads to Trump’s impeachment.
The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman with bipartisan respect, was a smart political move by Trump’s Justice Department, experts say.
It immediately escalated the legal stakes — and the potential political damage for Democrats if (and when) nothing is discovered.
Trump has begun ramping up, dismissing the matter as partisan witch hunt and a “hoax.”
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The White House released the following statement Wednesday —
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 appointed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
Mueller, a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, was confirmed as FBI director days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that would ultimately shape his tenure. The FBI’s counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the U.S. intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude.
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Mueller was appointed Wednesday by Rosenstein, who had faced criticism as the author of a memo that preceded Comey’s firing. Rosenstein said the appointment was “necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”
First reactions from Congress were mainly positive.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said the appointment was consistent with his goal of ensuring that “thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Mueller was a “great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”
Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and partisan congressional investigations as unfair and political theater, and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes. During a commencement address Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy, he slammed his critics.
“No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he said. “You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams … I guess that’s why we won. Adversity makes you stronger. Don’t give in, don’t back down … And the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face.”
The White House has disputed Comey’s account of his February conversation with Trump concerning Michael Flynn. Several congressional Republicans said Wednesday that if Trump did suggest that Comey “let this go” regarding Flynn’s Russian contacts, it was probably just a joke, light banter.
Comey has previously testified under oath that Trump did not ask him to drop any investigation —
— Jack Posobiec ???????? (@JackPosobiec) May 17, 2017
Both of the explosive allegations — that the president allegedly pressed his FBI director to drop a federal investigation before later firing him, and that he disclosed classified information to senior Russian officials — came from anonymous sources, and the White House was quick to denounce the leaks and deny any impropriety.
Trump aides have repeatedly stated that the president never tried to squelch the Flynn investigation nor made inappropriate disclosures to the Russians.
Indeed, supporters are quick to note that Flynn was hired and given security clearance by former President Barack Obama.
Separately, McClatchy News Service reported Wednesday that before Trump took office, Flynn had blocked an Obama administration military plan, opposed by Turkey, against the Islamic State group. Flynn had been paid more than $500,000 to advocate for Turkey’s interests while working for Obama.
McClatchy says Flynn declined to OK a request from Obama officials to approve a military operation involving the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, effectively delaying the operation. Turkey has long opposed U.S. forces working with Kurdish forces.
Despite the clear links, however, the mainstream media stayed silent on Obama’s ties to Russia for years.
The anti-terror plan, squelched by Flynn and Obama, was approved by the Trump administration last week, much to the anger of the Turkish dictator.
The Associated Press contributed to this article