President Donald Trump's nominee for FBI director said Wednesday that the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Kremlin is not a "witch hunt."
During his Senate FBI confirmation hearing, former Bush administration Justice Department senior official Christopher Wray responded to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) regarding the efforts of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel to investigate the Russia-related claims.
"Do you believe, in light of the Don Jr. email and other allegations, that this whole thing about the Trump campaign and Russia's a witch hunt? Is that a fair description of what we're all dealing with in America?" Graham asked.
Wray responded by saying, "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt."
Graham: Is the Russia probe a witch hunt?
Wray: “I do not consider [former] Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt” https://t.co/wSPwQG0Cac
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 12, 2017
Graham was referring to an email Donald Trump Jr. sent to publicist Rob Goldstone last year, in which he seemingly indicated he would be willing to accept help from Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during his father's bid to defeat then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
In the email, dated June 3, 2016, Goldstone wrote to Trump Jr., "The crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."
"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote.
Trump Jr. replied, "If it's what you say I love it, especially later in the summer."
The shocking revelation came as Mueller leads an investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia. Trump Jr.'s email is the most damning evidence to date for those alleging the Trump campaign engaged in illegal activity, although it does not, in and of itself, prove that a crime was committed.
For months, Trump has demonized the Russia investigation, calling it "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
The president took to Twitter as recently as Wednesday morning, where he once again disparaged the investigation.
The tweet came just hours after Trump Jr. told Fox News host Sean Hannity that his meeting with the Russian lawyer was "a nothing." "I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame," Trump Jr. told Hannity.
The president praised Trump Jr. for his performance in the Hannity interview.
"My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!" the president tweeted Wednesday.
(H/T: The Hill)