President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted the appointment of Robert Mueller to be the special prosecutor overseeing the investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election, calling the probe “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”
He also accused former President Barack Obama’s administration and the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of committing “illegal acts,” complaining that his campaign will now face the scrutiny of a special prosecutor while neither his predecessor nor 2016 opponent never have.
“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!” the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning, without elaborating further on the illegal acts he accused the Clinton campaign and Obama administration of committing.
The two posts struck a more combative tone for Trump, who was more conciliatory in a statement released by the White House Wednesday night.
“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,” the Wednesday-night statement from the White House, credited to Trump, said. “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.”
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday night that former FBI director Mueller will lead an independent investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in last year’s presidential campaign as well as into the possibility of collusion between the Kremlin and Trump associates. The White House had regularly objected to the idea of a special prosecutor, characterizing such an appointment as unnecessary.
With the White House battling multiple scandals — including Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, his alleged leak of highly classified material to Russian officials, and reports he pressured Comey to drop an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn — Trump and his allies have adopted a mentality of unfairly being under siege.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, appearing Thursday morning on CNBC, said that “we have to just get on with it, get this over. It’s a side show. But what the media forgets in the midst of this side show of media frenzy, the president is running the country.”
And Trump’s aides, both current and former, have come to the president’s defense, as have family members working outside the White House.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s combative first campaign manager who maintains close ties to the White House and recently left the lobbying firm he helped found shortly after last year’s election, said Wednesday on Fox News that “I can tell you firsthand because I was on the campaign for a long time: Never, ever, ever did I ever see anybody have contact with any agent of any foreign government, Russia or anybody else.”
White House social media director Dan Scavino chimed in too, citing Lewandowski’s remarks in a post to Twitter, adding that he, too, “was there from the very beginning, and never, ever, ever….did I see either!” Eric Trump, the president’s son who took over leadership of the family business when his father took office, tacked on his own tweet, linking back to Scavino’s and writing that “I was too! This entire thing is a witch hunt propagated by a failed political campaign.”
Even before Mueller’s appointment, Trump was already griping about his perceived unfair treatment, telling graduates of the Coast Guard Academy at their commencement ceremony on Wednesday that “no politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
He implored the new graduates to take a lesson from his fledgling presidency.
“Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted,” Trump said. “You have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never ever, ever give up.”