Trump decries ‘witch hunt’ after special counsel appointed in Russia investigation

(ABC)– President Donald Trump is responding to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, calling the Russia probe the “single greatest witch hunt.”

Trump also suggested Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Obama administration had committed “illegal acts” and “there was never a special counsel appointed!”

It was announced Wednesday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller would be the special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s meddling in last year’s election and any possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

Related: Robert Mueller appointed Special counsel to oversee probe into Russia’s interference in 2016 election

The appointment of a special counsel comes during a tumultuous period for the White House: the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey and a memo reportedly written by Comey detailing a request Trump allegedly made to Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

The special counsel announcement was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who the White House initially credited for Trump’s firing of Comey. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any existing or future investigations related to Russia.

The White House had “absolutely no indication” the appointment was coming and was given a heads up less than an hour before it was publicly announced, according to a senior White House official.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Trump shot down allegations that his campaign had ties to “any foreign entity” and said that he looks forward to “this matter concluding quickly.”

“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,” the statement read.

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