President Donald Trump said Thursday the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russia investigation "shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country."
"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country," Trump told television news anchors at a luncheon meeting at the White House.
"We have very important things to be doing right now – whether it's trade deals, whether it's military, whether it's stopping nuclear – all of the things that we discussed today.
"I think this shows a very divided country."
Trump's on-the-record statement about Mueller's appointment was read by Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
Blitzer then added Trump said the appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "happens to be a pure excuse for the Democrats, having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way.
"That's all this is.
"I think it shows division," Trump said. "It shows that we're not together as a country – and I think it's a very, very negative thing.
"Hopefully, this can go quickly because we have to show unity if we're going to do great things with respect to the rest of the world."
Rosenstein named Mueller, 72, who was FBI director during the 9/11 attacks, to the position Wednesday amid the fallout from Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last week.
In a statement, Mueller said "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability."
President Trump slammed the appointment earlier Thursday on Twitter as "the single greatest witch-hunt of a politician in American history."
Trump reiterated his positon at a White House news conference with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos.
"I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch-hunt," the president told reporters. "There is no collusion between myself and my campaign."
When questioned whether he had asked Comey to end his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn the day after he fired him in February for his Russian contacts, Trump responded, "No."
"No," he said again. "Next question."
President Trump also ripped any idea his actions since taking office might be impeachable.
"I think it is totally ridiculous," he said. "Everybody thinks so.
"I can only tell you, there was no collusion – and everybody, even my enemies have said there is no collusion."
Mueller's selection was widely praised by both Republicans and Democrats – and author and FBI expert Ronald Kessler told Newsmax on Wednesday he is a "man of high integrity" who would not "put up with any impediments" to his Russian investigation.
"All sides admire Mueller as a straight-shooter, as someone who has turned the FBI into a very powerful anti-terrorism force after 9/11," Kessler told Newsmax. "The reason why we haven't had a major successful terrorist attack is because of the changes that Mueller made in the FBI to protect us."
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