Trump decries 'witch hunt' after special counsel appointed in Russian Federation investigation

President Donald Trump warned that the special counsel investigation into alleged links between his 2016 campaign and Russia's election hacking "hurts our country" after earlier branding the probe the "single greatest witch hunt" in political history.

Trump was to hold a joint news conference with the president of Colombia later Thursday, before leaving Friday for his first foreign trip, to the Mideast and beyond, which aides hope can have the effect of refocusing a White House in disarray.

"Why no special counsel was appointed for what he called all of the illegal acts of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Obama administration", Trump said.

Rosenstein briefed US senators on Thursday, but made no public comments.

Senate Democrats demanded that Rosenstein appoint a special prosecutor, which was accomplished with Mueller's appointment.

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.

The Republican president decried the naming of a special counsel, by an official he himself appointed.

He is expected to discuss not only his appointment of an independent special counsel for the Russian Federation investigation but also his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Trump as well as allegations that Trump asked Comey to end a criminal investigation into ex- National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said on Thursday that Rosenstein knew Comey would be fired before writing the recommendation.

The news agency cites current and former United States officials familiar with the exchanges and says the interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional investigators. But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Comey should still appear before congressional committees that have invited him to testify.

The White House says an investigation will prove there was no collusion.

Trump cited displeasure with the FBI's Russian Federation probe as a factor in dismissing Comey.

During a press briefing Wednesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan shrugged off questions from reporters about whether the country would be better off with Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office.

Flynn's contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign, as well as his work for the Turkish government, are under investigation. Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the FBI's national security branch under Mueller, explained to CNN: "Every American who thinks that this is a moment of turmoil, whether they like the president or not, should breathe easy tonight: Robert Mueller is solid ground". He was sacked as national security adviser in February after it emerged he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations with Russia's ambassador to Washington in December.

He added that although he's "not a legal authority", but that "the intelligence committee will get the facts".

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