Trump calls special counsel Russia probe 'greatest witch hunt' in U.S. history

  • 05/18/2017
  • Doina Chiacu and Patricia Zengerle
  • Reuters
President Donald Trump on Thursday assailed the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt" in U.S. history and a move that "hurts our country terribly."

Trump also said he was close to selecting a new FBI director to replace James Comey, who he fired last week, and that former senator and one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman was among the top candidates.

Trump's defiant comments stood in contrast to his measured statement on Wednesday night after former FBI chief Robert Mueller was named as special counsel, in which he said "a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller after a succession of jarring developments that brought to a boil questions over Russia's alleged meddling in the election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

They included Trump's firing of Comey, reports that Trump had previously pressured Comey to end a probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump discussing sensitive information on Islamic State with Russia's foreign minister.
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