Trump calls Russian investigation 'witch hunt'

Posted at 4:06 PM, May 17, 2017

President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at the appointment of a special counsel -- made by his own Justice Department -- to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with his campaign.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special (counsel) appointed," he tweeted.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history," he added.

Trump had been silent on Twitter about the Russia controversy in the wake of the bombshell reports that he asked former FBI Director James Comey to back off the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel Wednesday to oversee the investigation, which has focused on contacts between Trump's campaign associates and Russian officials. The move aimed to quell the wave of criticism facing the Trump administration since the President fired Comey last week as the investigation intensified.

As special counsel, Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters," according to the Justice Department order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed.

Trump first responded Wednesday in a crisp, 57-word statement saying a "thorough investigation will confirm what we already know -- there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity," adding that he looked forward to a speedy resolution to the probe.

The White House Wednesday night was aiming for a measured response to Mueller's appointment and ended the night relatively pleased at the muted approach they believed the President put forward.

But that clearly dissipated by Thursday morning.

Trump's tweets Thursday echoed comments he made the day before at the United States Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremony, when he claimed that "no politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."