by WorldTribune Staff, May 18, 2017
Lawmakers of both parties praised the appointment of former FBI chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the agency’s probe into alleged Trump-Russia collusion during the 2016 election.
It was left to the White House to point out that the Justice Department had failed to appoint special prosecutors to investigate multiple legal controversies that implicated Hillary Clinton and other members of the Obama Administration.
“I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country. And we have very important things to be doing right now,” President Donald Trump told CNBC. “We have to show unity if we’re going to do great things with respect to the rest of the world.”
Trump took to Twitter on May 18 to decry what he called “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician” in U.S. history.
In a separate tweet, Trump said “there was never a special counsel appointed” to investigate what he claimed were “illegal acts” carried out by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama.
On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he appointed Mueller not because he believes “crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” but that “a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome of the investigation.”
“The public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Rosenstein said.
Congressional leaders praised Rosenstein’s decision.
“I believe Mueller will be independent, he will be thorough, and he will be fair and he’s not going to be easily swayed,” said Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, which is also investigating the Russian matter.
Republican Jason Chaffez, chairman of the House Oversight panel, said Mueller was a “great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said: “This is a critical step and I’m glad Mr. Rosenstein took it. The past 48 hours have shown the lengths that the president and his administration will go to hinder and halt this investigation, so I will withhold judgment pending its progress. The eyes of the nation are on Mr. Mueller and his team. The special counsel will examine and prosecute any crimes that may have been committed, but this will not solve the bigger crisis of Russia’s cyberattack on our country — only an independent commission can do that.”
Meanwhile, the American Spectator’s Scott McKay posted on Facebook:
“I’m confused – There is nothing untoward about Bill Clinton meeting with Loretta Lynch on the tarmac while Lynch is investigating Hillary, and then Lynch dropping that investigation, but Trump telling Comey he wishes Comey would leave the Mike Flynn/Russia investigation alone AFTER Comey has said Flynn didn’t do anything wrong is somehow obstruction of justice? Forgive me if I think all this crap is overblown.”
Also on May 18, Reuters reported that Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials and others with links to the Kremlin in at least 18 calls and electronic messages during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race.
Reuters quoted its sources as saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far, “but the disclosure could increase the pressure on the president and his aides to provide a full account of exchanges with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties.”