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Trump says special counsel 'divides the country'

19 Mai 2017

President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation as Congress confronted an apparent setback in its own probes: A lawyer for Michael Flynn said the fired national security adviser would not provide documents for an intelligence panel's inquiry.

He said it is "totally ridiculous" to think he's done anything that would amount to an impeachable offense.

The president claimed he was the target of the "greatest witch hunt" in United States political history and complained that the campaign against him was dividing the country.

The press conference is also the president's first public appearance after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be special counsel to investigate any ties between Russian Federation and The Trump campaign.

As the White House received the news Wednesday evening that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had chosen a special counsel, they issued a statement attributed to the president. Trump repeated that he felt the probe was akin to a "witch hunt" during the Thursday press conference.

The president on Thursday muddled his explanation for firing Comey last week, saying he ousted him because he was "very unpopular with most people". When Trump spotted Comey anyway, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director extended his hand so that they would only have a handshake, but the president pulled him in for a hug anyway. Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was seen as the front-runner.

Ryan said Congress needs to get the facts, but "it is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president".

According to the Times, Comey wrote in the February memo that Trump told him Flynn had done nothing wrong.

Some Republicans in U.S. Congress are beginning to distance themselves from President Donald Trump amid allegations that he shared intel with Russian Federation, sparking speculation that more Republican lawmakers may follow. "But Donald Trump created many of these problems for himself".

Mueller's appointment was not expected to affect the FBI or congressional investigations. The AP on Thursday reported that Flynn is not likely to comply with the subpoena, which could lead the Senate to vote on contempt of court charges. "It's special", he said.

But during the news conference, Trump contradicted both his own account and that of Rosenstein. The benchmark S&P 500 slumped 1.8 percent Wednesday, its worst day since Sept 9.

Stocks rebounded Thursday, with technology and bank shares resuming rallies as data reinforced optimism in the economy. These are questions we must ask, and the public has a right to the answers.

Bipartisan lawmakers had criticized Comey for his handling of investigations related to Trump and his electoral opponent Hillary Clinton. Now, The Daily Beast is reporting that despite Flynn's current legal quagmire, Trump would like to bring the general back to the White House.

The press conference was also one of Trump's last opportunities to speak on the record to the American media before his first trip overseas as president later this week. Yet US allies and some members of Congress have expressed alarm. He also is scheduled to have an audience with the Pope. One sent by email on Wednesday was titled "Sabotage".

Trump says special counsel 'divides the country'