MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Staffers described President Donald Trump as “measured” when he found out former FBI Director Robert Muelller had been appointed as a special counsel to look into possible Trump campaign ties with Russia. By Thursday morning, his response was a little less so.
President Trump took to Twitter to slam the Justice Department’s decision to appoint Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump campaign ties with Russia. He tweeted: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
Later on Thursday, the president told TV anchors on the record, “I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided.”
“I’m sure he’s going to try to say it’s a partisan effort but I don’t think Mueller’s going to be viewed as a partisan guy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped the former FBI chief saying, “I determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”
“I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead,” said Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Rosenstein was on Capitol Hill this afternoon and faced tough questions from senators about the events that led up to FBI Director James Comey’s termination and his decision to appoint a special counsel.
Following Rosenstein’s testimony, a number of Senators came out to take about what happened in the closed-door meeting.
“It was a counter-intelligence investigation before now. It seems to me now to be a criminal investigation,” said Senator Graham.
Senator Claire McCaskill said Rosenstein testified that he knew Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also spoke to the press following Rosenstein’s testimony but did not say much on Rosenstein’s testimony.
“I can’t comment on the Justice Department’s efforts. It’s now in the hands of the special counsel,” said Rubio.
Congress will continue to carry out their own investigations.
“The Congressional efforts that Chairman Burr and I are leading, we’re going to redouble our efforts because we still have to get our job done as well,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).
They’ve requested Comey hand over the memo he wrote which claims President Trump asked him to back off the investigation into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. They’re asking him to come back to Capitol Hill to testify.
The Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Trump campaign ties with Russia announced Thursday that Michael Flynn’s attorney has informed the committee the fired Naitonal Security Adviser does not plan to honor a committee subpoena issued calling for him to turn over documents related to his contacts with Russians.
As for Mueller, he’s been promised the resources he needs to follow leads in the investigation and that includes the resources of the FBI. He also has broad authority to chase the leads wherever they may go.
On another note, President Trump met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House Thursday afternoon. He is expected to speak to the press following the meeting.