Flynn, Manafort Key Targets of FBI Investigation

Television network crews begin their evening news broadcast from the driveway outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington Wednesday

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A special counsel is now in place on the Russian Federation investigation, and the president calls it part of the greatest witch hunt in history.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", he wrote on Twitter.

He went on to speak about "illegal acts" that took place during Hillary Clinton's campaign and throughout the Obama administration, noting that there was "never a special council (sic) appointed".

He misstated the record on jobs and a violent national gang as well as on the matter that prompted the Justice Department a day earlier to appoint a special counsel with wide-ranging powers to investigate the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Rosenstein named Mueller, 72, who was FBI director during the 9/11 attacks, to the position Wednesday amid the fallout from Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last week.

Rosenstein's memo outlining Comey's sins during the Clinton email case was used by White House officials as the main reason for the FBI Director's dismissal - indeed, until Trump gave that interview to NBC's Lester Holt, White House spokesmen were hiding behind Rosenstein's good reputation, something that reportedly caused the Deputy Attorney General's blood to boil. "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly", Trump said in a statement.

Trump will find it much harder to distance himself from Flynn, especially in light of the revelation that he tried to get Comey to drop the investigation into him even after he was sacked by the White House.

"The general consensus is it was a good decision to pick a special counsel", said South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, saying most lawmakers have "a lot of confidence in Mr. Mueller", who ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 12 years. "I welcome this development and am glad that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein did the right thing by appointing a special counsel".

The President also suggested that the investigation that will now be led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller was also motivated by an attempt to tarnish his election victory previous year.

Comey Thought He Could Handle Trump's Interference
The Justice Department appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, to lead the investigation into Russian meddling on Wednesday. Lawmakers said Rosenstein was careful in his wording, in part because of the potential scope of Mueller's probe. "No, no.

House investigators said they were plowing full speed ahead with their own inquiry - one source noted that the appointment of a special counsel didn't matter much because Comey had not been providing House investigators much access to begin with.

Mueller can choose whether to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation.

-Speaking of the MS-13 gang presence in the USA: "A terrible, awful large group of gangs that have been let into our country over a fairly short period of time".

Q. Who will work for the special counsel, and what sort of budget will Mueller have?

Trump's on-the-record statement about Mueller's appointment was read by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. "When I made that decision I actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such awful thing about Director Comey".

The next major event was the news that Trump had asked Comey during a meeting in the Oval Office to drop the investigation of Michael T. Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser. Given his background having served under Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, Mueller is probably the one individual who could generate the kind of bipartisan trust in Washington that this process demands.

Politicians from both parties cheered the move, saying Mueller can restore confidence in the investigation, whatever the findings.

The Wednesday decision to name former FBI Director Robert Mueller, an apolitical outsider, to oversee the case seemed meant to restore public faith in an independent Justice Department following a series of headache-inducing headlines.

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