Photo: US President Donald Trump says no politician in history has been treated worse than him. (Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)
President Donald Trump has hit out at the appointment of a special counsel to lead the Russia probe as "the single greatest witch hunt" in US history, hours after he said he looked forward to a thorough investigation.
- Former FBI director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference in election
- Trump accuses Obama administration and Clinton campaign of illegal acts
- Russia's denies meddling in US election
Mr Trump said in a statement on Wednesday night (local time) that "a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity".
In a pair of Twitter posts on Thursday morning (local time), Mr Trump made clear he was unhappy with the latest development to roil his administration.
"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!" Mr Trump wrote, misspelling the word counsel as he referred to former president Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
The comments mirrored a speech by Mr Trump earlier this week, before Mr Mueller's appointment was announced, in which he said no politician in history "has been treated worse or more unfairly".
Russia has denied US intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Mr Trump's favour.
Mr Trump, a Republican, has long bristled at the notion that Russia played any role in his November election victory, and has denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
Democrats, Republicans welcome special counselThe appointment of a special counsel to take over the Russia probe was widely praised by Democrats and Mr Trump's fellow Republicans.
Republican representative Charlie Dent said there was no question the Russians meddled in the election.
"I believe that's why we're having this investigation — to find out if in fact there was collusion," Mr Dent told CNN.
"I certainly hope there wasn't any but if there is there are going to be very serious consequences."
Moments before Mr Trump weighed in on Twitter, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin welcomed the special counsel investigation and said it was important to get facts in the Russia probe.
"I am not on a witch hunt. I am on a fact-finding mission," he said on CNN.