“I LOOK FORWARD TO THIS MATTER CONCLUDING QUICKLY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 18, 2017) — On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted his responses to the appointment by the Department of Justice of a “special counsel” to oversee the ongoing FBI investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
On Wednesday evening, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III would lead the investigation begun by his fired predecessor, James B. Comey, last summer.
Following the announcement, Trump released the following statement:
As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.
CBS News reported that their White House reporter, Margaret Brennan, “was told by a White House official that the president’s response as ‘measured’ when he was informed of the appointment of the special counsel. Brennan pointed out that this would be an uncharacteristic response for Mr. Trump, and the official agreed and suggested that the last couple of days have worn on the president.”
Brennan gave a live televised report under the caption, “White House Works to Contain Fallout.”
On May 9, the Trump administration announced that Comey had been terminated based on a letter Rosenstein had written faulting Comey’s handling of an investigation into whether or not crimes were committed by Hillary Clinton and her aides in sending classified information to various parties both inside and outside of government.
In an interview which aired in full two days later, Trump told NBC News’s Lester Holt that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s position on the matter.
During sworn testimony to Congress on March 20, Comey confirmed the existence of the Russia investigation but on May 3 would not confirm or deny whether or not the FBI was looking into the sources of intelligence leaks, including the name of Trump’s first national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret).
Flynn was forced to resign on February 13.
It appears that Trump was dissatisfied with Comey’s response to Trump’s request to identify and prosecute the leakers.
To Trump’s surprise, reaction to Comey’s dismissal from Democrats who had said they lost confidence in Comey last year was condemnatory, with some claiming that Trump overstepped his authority and was ushering in a “constitutional crisis” amid calls for impeachment.
In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton fired his FBI director, William R. Sessions, which did not initiate calls for Clinton’s impeachment as it has with Trump. Clinton was later impeached by the House of Representatives for other reasons but not removed from office by the Senate.
Trump’s first tweet on Thursday, issued before 8:00 AM EDT, indicated his apparent perception that corruption during the Obama years, including Hillary Clinton’s seeking of the presidency as his opponent, did not result in the appointment of a special counsel.
Approximately 13 minutes later, Trump reiterated an earlier claim that the investigation involving him is a “witch hunt,” referring to allegations that he or any of his campaign aides may have had inappropriate dealings with Russian government operatives in the months leading up to the November election.
In his own letter of dismissal given to Comey on May 9, Trump stated that Comey had told him “on three separate occasions” that he personally was not under investigation in the Russia probe.
Some Democrats have attempted to characterize Trump’s presidency as “illegitimate” based on claims that there was “Russian meddling” in the election. During the primary season, many in the mainstream media guffawed at the idea that Trump could win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency, and polls from the same sources had widely reported that Clinton would win handily.
Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper has testified that although he believes the Russian government insinuated itself into the U.S. selection process, “they did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort.”
The suggestion that “Deep State” operatives within the intelligence community are working with the mainstream press to derail Trump’s presidency has received support from former Democrat Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), both of whom were guests on the “Hannity” show on Wednesday night.
For his part, Kucinich stated that regardless of who is in the White House, the leaking of classified information by disgruntled members of the intelligence community to the press is harmful to the Republic and the American way of life.
On Thursday morning, reaction to Mueller’s appointment appeared to be positive from both Republicans and Democrats.
Following Comey’s departure, the White House immediately began assembling names of persons to interview, and a nominee could be announced prior to Trump’s departure for the Middle East and Europe on Friday.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media, and particularly Yahoo! News, continues to push the narrative that Trump’s associates “had multiple Russian contacts” during the campaign, citing, like other news organizations, “current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges.”