Donald Trump has claimed he is victim of the “greatest witch hunt” in US history amid a probe of his team’s alleged links with Russia.
The US President hit back on Thursday after it was announced ex-FBI chief Robert Mueller will lead an investigation into possible ties between his election campaign staff and the Russian government.
Mr Mueller has been appointed a special counsel to examine Moscow’s alleged efforts to influence last year’s US election.
:: What is a special counsel?
A defiant Mr Trump used his Twitter account to suggest he is being unfairly treated.
He claimed “illegal acts” by his election rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign and his predecessor Barack Obama’s government had not been investigated by a special counsel.
Mr Trump wrote: “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!
He added: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
Mr Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday follows the shock sacking of FBI director James Comey, who had previously been investigating alleged links between the Trump team and Russian officials.
In an earlier statement released by the White House on the announcement of Mr Mueller’s appointment, Mr Trump had said: “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.
“I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.
“In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
The President used a speech to the US Coast Guard on Wednesday to claim “no politician in history… had been treated worse or more unfairly” than himself.
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Mr Mueller, whose appointment was announced by the Justice Department, will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he might uncover.
In a brief statement he said: “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
The New York Times reported this week that Mr Trump asked Mr Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ties to Russia.
The explosive report sparked calls for the President to be impeached.
Mr Flynn was forced to resign his post in February after claims he misled the White House about his contact with Russia.