20 May, 2017
The South Carolina Republican said he wasn't able to ask specifically if it was now a criminal probe "but the takeaway have is everything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may a criminal investigation".
President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism Thursday of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in last year's presidential election, telling ABC News" David Muir the action hurts the United States "terribly'. "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
Trump later revealed to NBC News that he thought of Comey as a "showboat" and "grandstander", and felt his inquiry was part of a "made-up story" - contradicting what his top aides had told reporters earlier in the week that the firing had nothing to do with Russian Federation. These calls reached a crescendo on Tuesday, May 16, when The New York Times revealed that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey had written a memo that said Trump had asked him to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.
In the meantime, the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue our investigation into Russia's attempts to influence elections. Ben Cardin, speaking to WBAL News Now Wednesday morning, who said both the special counsel and an independent commission (like the one established following the September 11 attacks) would be needed to give the public a full picture of what happened and how to keep it from happening again, in addition to the prosecution of criminal wrongdoing.
By Wednesday evening, a Republican source said that the move effectively shut down Congress' intense digging into Comey and his conversations with Trump.
Comey was then fired by Trump as the investigation continued.
In a statement about Mueller's appointment, President Trump 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 think it is time we do whatever is necessary that when this is over, we give the American people the confidence that justice, either way it goes, has been served". Rosenstein's "got the power to do it and you have to accept it and it doesn't matter what we think".