President Trump fired off a series of tweets in which he called the investigation into his campaign’s links with Russia “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” He posted, “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!” His furious response overturned the White House’s spin effort, which claimed that he was reacting calmly to the announcement of a special counsel. A New York Times report published early Thursday described an account of Trump’s initial response to the news. Just 30 minutes before the rest of the world knew, the White House was informed the Justice Department would be appointing a special counsel—with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said to be one of the only advisers who wanted to put up a fight. According to the Times, Kushner, who had urged Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey, suggested a “counterattack” after the announcement. When Trump was informed at 5:35 p.m., and his team, including Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Communications Director Michael Dubke, Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, longtime aide Hope Hicks, Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon were all summoned to his office, the Times reports. Nearly everyone, except Kushner, suggested that Trump take a conciliatory stance and publicly accept Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s decision. In the end, the White House released a statement declaring the president’s innocence and its hope for a quick investigation.
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