Lawmakers fret over impact of special counsel on congressional Russian Federation probes

Vincent Carr
May 19, 2017

"I find it hard to subpoena records of somebody, like Mr. Flynn, who may be subject to a criminal investigation because he has a right not to incriminate himself", he told reporters.

Even as he erupted anew, fellow Republicans expressed hopes the move would restore some calm to a capital plunged into chaos.

"The takeaway I have is that everything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation", the South Carolina Republican told reporters after a classified briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Trump's terse denial followed reports by Reuters and other media about a memo written by Comey alleging that Trump made the request to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russian Federation in February.

The session capped an extraordinary 10 days in the capital that began with Comey's abrupt dismissal May 9 and included an odd Oval Office meeting between Trump and two Russian officials, allegations that the president had shared sensitive officials with those officials and word that Comey had documented Trump's efforts to persuade him to drop the case against Flynn in private memos. "I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things", he said.

He leapt to make the point again at a joint news conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, describing the development as a distraction.

"There are a lot of people that are talking about impeachment".

Mr Wolf told Larry Williams his former boss is quiet but solid, and exactly who should be leading the investigation.

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.

The remarks echo sentiments conveyed by Trump in a pair of tweets Thursday morning.

"The entire thing has been a witch hunt", he declared, echoing one of the tweets he'd sent out just after dawn: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Trump is clearly hoping to change the negative news flow when he heads off this weekend for a nine-day foreign trip where he will meet with dozens of Muslim heads of state, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians, Pope Francis, and leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries and the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

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"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!" he added later, without providing examples.

So far, no evidence of collusion has been presented, but the question has consumed the first four months of Trump's presidency and spurred multiple crises that have left the White House shell-shocked.

"As to Mr. Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, coming before the committee, if I were Mr. Mueller I would jealously guard the witness pool".

Now Mueller will have almost unfettered access to witnesses and information, and the ability to bring criminal charges.

"This was a very good first step". Chuck Shumer, D-New York.

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".

"Congress's ability to conduct investigations of all things Russian Federation has been severely limited, probably in an inappropriate fashion", said Graham, CNN reported.

Congressional Probes While Mueller takes over the Justice Department investigation, probes in Congress were proceeding as well.

Justice Department officials said Mueller would likely conduct his investigation nearly entirely independent of Congress.

With a special counsel, Congress loses authority in its role in the investigation.

It later emerged that Comey had made notes of his meetings with Trump, who reportedly asked him to quash an investigation into Flynn's contacts with foreign governments.

Other reports by BadHub

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