President Donald Trump bemoaned what he called the “single greatest witch hunt” in political history Thursday, after the appointment of a special counsel to investigate any links between his 2016 campaign and Russia.
Hours after issuing a more muted official statement in coordination with aides, the President took to Twitter to portray himself as unfairly victimized by the probe.
His complaints contrasted sharply with the near universal welcome in Washington for Robert Mueller, the former FBI director picked for the special counsel post Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special (counsel) appointed,” Trump tweeted. “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”
The President’s tweets appear to signal a policy of resistance to Mueller’s investigation, that will now likely cast a shadow over the beleaguered White House for months if not years to come. His attacks may also represent an attempt to rally his fiercely loyal political base which embraced him precisely because he was an outsider willing to challenged the established centers of power in Washington.
The naming of Mueller represents a threat to the White House because he will be armed with sweeping powers, including the right to subpoena documents or interview the President as he builds a case centered on the question of whether anyone in Trump’s circle colluded with the Russians to influence the course of the election or committed any crimes.
The President’s adoption of the role of a victim has been a potent political weapon before and he has frequently used it to position himself against the Washington establishment, including the media which he uses as a foil in the absence of an easily identifiable political enemy, like Hillary Clinton.
SOURCE: Stephen Collinson, Eugene Scott and Dan Merica