Trump assails 'witch hunt' after naming of special counsel

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Washington, May 19 US President Donald Trump has said that he respects the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign's alleged involvement with Russian Federation in the 2016 presidential polls but termed the whole issue as a "witch hunt" against him.

Thursday's meeting wasn't the first time Trump has privately addressed TV anchors and reporters.

"He did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo", McCaskill said. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, after the briefing.

The House Intelligence Committee requested documents from the Justice Department and FBI about the bureau's investigation and any records related to Comey's dismissal.

Two days later, in a May 11 interview with NBC, Trump contradicted his own spokesmen and said he'd made a decision to fire Comey "regardless of the recommendation" of Rosenstein.

Durbin and other Democrats complained, however, that Rosenstein refused to answer many of their questions and did so by citing the seriousness of the investigation.

The White House was already reeling from the allegation that Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation, the revelation that the president may have inadvertently passed sensitive intelligence to two top Russian officials in the Oval Office and a suggestion he made that he might be secretly recording his conversations.

After Comey's firing, Rosenstein initially drew the ire of Democrats on Capitol Hill, but he seemed to have regained some good faith after his appointment of Mueller, a move Democrats had been almost unanimous in supporting.

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"I applaud the Trump Administration for taking this important step that the previous administration repeatedly declined to do in other matters, ensuring an independent and thorough investigation is conducted to unearth all the facts. I hope Former FBI Director Robert Mueller can be looked at as unbiased and his finding respected by all involved". "We've discussed this before", Spicer said.

Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development "helps assure people and the Justice Department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along".

But Rosenstein contradicted the White House's original explanation, according to some Democratic senators. "So I think the biggest legal change seems to be that Mr. Mueller is going to proceed forward with the idea that this as criminal investigation instead of a counter intelligence investigation".

Most members of both parties, however, left the briefing saying they didn't learn much new.

"[Rosenstein] said over and over again that Mueller is going to draw the scope of this investigation, that Mueller is going to have the resources, that Mueller is not going to be interfered with by him or the Department of Justice", said Democratic Sen.

"We still have questions and we'll be outlining those in the days ahead", Casey said.

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. Our investigation is a counterintelligence one.

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