President Trump falsely claimed that the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference is illegal and that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia, on top of false claims that he had made previously.
The illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime. There was never Collusion with Russia, except by the Clinton campaign, so the 17 Angry Democrats are looking at anything they can find. Very unfair and BAD for the country. ALSO, not allowed under the LAW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2018
President Trump repeated his false claim that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference is a “witch hunt”. The investigation is legitimate, since eight people pleaded guilty to charges and are cooperating with the investigation, and 25 Russian nationals and three Russian entities were accused of tampering with the 2016 election in favor of Trump. In addition, Trump repeated his false claim that the special counsel investigation is being overseen by “17 angry Democrats”. Three of the seventeen attorneys working on the investigation are registered without a party affiliation, plus one of those three was reported to be previously registered as a Republican at age 18. MIC News covered these false claims in detail yesterday.
President Trump’s statement that the special counsel investigation is illegal is false. Due to the fact that, in 2017, President Trump had fired former FBI director James Comey, and because Attorney General Jeff sessions recused himself from investigations into Russian interference due to the fact that he was involved in the 2016 Trump campaign, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein became acting Attorney General for matters related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. As acting Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein was legally permitted to appoint a special counsel.
This is permitted under special counsel regulations, which were enacted by Attorney General Janet Reno in 1999. These regulations came after the expiration of the expiration of the independent counsel authority, which was enacted by Congress in the Ethics of Government Act in 1978, and were reauthorized by Congress in 1983, 1987, 1994, and expired in 1999. The current regulations are in effect in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 28, Chapter IV, Section 600. These regulations detail the legal process by which the Attorney General, or Acting Attorney General when the Attorney General is recused, can appoint a special counsel.
“The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and that investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and that under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.”
Donald Trump also repeated his claim that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia, which stems from his 2017 quote of Fox News revealing that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign paid the Washington, D.C. based research and strategic based intelligence firm, Fusion GPS, to gather opposition research on Mr. Trump.
“Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President.” @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
Fusion GPS hired the former head of the Russia desk at the British Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Neither the DNC nor the Clinton campaign were aware of Christopher Steele’s involvement, and Mr. Steele was unaware who had paid for the research. This research ultimately led to the compilation of the Trump-Russia dossier, which Mr. Steele turned over to the U.S. Justice Department due to his concern that Russia may have compromising material against Donald Trump. It is common for politicians to pay for opposition research on their opponents, and it is not illegal.
In fact, Fusion GPS was originally funded by a conservative journalism website, The Free Beacon, which in turn was primarily funded by a Republican donor named Paul Singer. After Donald Trump won the Republican primary and became the Republican candidate for President of the United States, The Free Beacon and Mr. Singer ceased funding Fusion GPS for opposition research against Donald Trump, at which point the second phase of opposition research by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. As both the Republican and Democratic rivals of Donald Trump hired an American firm and were not aware of the identity of the person the firm hired to conduct opposition research, neither could be considered as being guilty of collusion with Russia.
The photograph in the header was taken by a photographer for Getty Images.