With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
Last night, the Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller, a man who is considered to have unimpeachable integrity and credentials, as a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
As David Graham wrote last night: “The Justice Department made the announcement Wednesday at 6 p.m., following 10 days of political chaos and scandal that has shaken the already fragile administration of President Donald Trump. The decision follows a growing demand among Democrats and some Republicans for an outside authority to take over the Russia probe, after Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, which Trump acknowledged was driven in part by frustration with the FBI’s examination of Russia.”
The White House was reportedly given little advance notice of Mueller’s appointment. A statement attributed to Trump shortly afterward said: “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.” What a difference 12 hours make.
In his response this morning, the president repeated a sentiment he used Wednesday when addressing the Coast Guard Academy.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” he said. “No politician in history—and I say this with great surety—has been treated worse or more unfairly.” His remarks on Twitter this morning called it “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”—though the individuals targeted by the McCarthy-era hearings would probably contest that claim.
Trump, in this tweets this morning, also alleges illegal actions “that took place in the “Clinton campaign & Obama Administration,” without specifying what they were, complaining “there was never a special councel [sic] appointed” for those alleged acts. There were scandals during the Obama administration, of course: the IRS’s apparent targeting of conservative groups; the Benghazi scandal, the Fast and the Furious gun controversy, and the one over backlogs at VA hospitals. All of these were investigated by Republican-controlled congressional panels, but found no direct links to the White House. The investigation of the Benghazi scandal did, however, lead to the discovery of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, a revelation that contributed to her loss in the presidential election.
Trump’s remarks are defensive, but his comments to the Coast Guard on Wednesday may provide a clue to what his course of action is: “You will find that things are not always fair,” he said. “You have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight.”