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#[1]publisher [2]alternate Breaking News * [3]45 * [4]Congress * [5]Security * [6]The Nine * [7]Trumpmerica * [8]State * * * ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________ Inside an embattled Trump's most consequential evening of turmoil yet By [9]Kevin Liptak, [10]Jeff Zeleny, [11]Sara Murray and [12]Jim Acosta, CNN Updated 2158 GMT (0558 HKT) May 18, 2017 Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. ____________________ Special counsel to lead Russia investigation Special counsel to lead Russia investigation JUST WATCHED Special counsel to lead Russia investigation Replay [13]More Videos ... MUST WATCH Special counsel to lead Russia investigation 02:14 Story highlights * Trump fired Comey last week * "Don't give in," he told Coast Guard graduates. "Don't back down" Washington (CNN)No one inside the West Wing had to ask how the President's mood was on Wednesday afternoon as aides awaited his return from [14]delivering the commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. A speech, once intended to offer encouragement and inspiration, became laced with grievances in the hours before the remarks were delivered. "No politician in history -- and I say this with great surety -- has been treated worse or more unfairly," President Donald Trump told graduating ensigns, before projecting an entrenched battle to come. [15]Comey prepped responses ahead of Trump discussions "Don't give in," he said. "Don't back down." Read More Hours later, his words appeared to gain new meaning. [16]Trump to graduates: 'No politician in history... has been treated worse' Trump to graduates: 'No politician in history... has been treated worse' [17]Trump to graduates: 'No politician in history... has been treated worse' Trump and his aides received less than an hour's notice Wednesday before the [18]Justice Department announced it was bringing in Robert Mueller, an ex-FBI director, as a special counsel to take over the investigation into Russia's election meddling. It was the third straight day this week that brought deeply damaging news to an increasingly beleaguered commander-in-chief. When he learned of the development, Trump himself was in the middle of interviewing candidates for the FBI director post, which is vacant because he fired the last person leading the Russia probe. A half-dozen advisers -- led by his White House counsel, who first informed him of the decision -- crowded into the Oval Office to plot a response. [19][LINK] It was a blindside that will substantially escalate the investigation into the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia. It's also another reminder to an increasingly besieged President of the limitations on his own power, even within the executive branch. "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," Trump declared in a crisp, 57-word statement released 80 minutes after news emerged of the Justice Department's decision, which aides say he dictated from the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly," said Trump, who continued his FBI interviews even as news of the special prosecutor became public. "In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country." The White House Wednesday night was aiming for a measured response to Mueller's appointment and ended the night relatively pleased at the muted approach they believed the President put forward. But that clearly dissipated by Thursday morning. "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special (counsel) appointed!" the President [20]complained on Twitter. [21]He added, "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" Democrats and the 'I' word Democrats and the 'I' word Democrats and the 'I' word JUST WATCHED Democrats and the 'I' word Replay [22]More Videos ... MUST WATCH Democrats and the 'I' word 01:55 Containing the fallout As the President was meeting with four finalists for the suddenly vacant FBI post Wednesday, some aides hoped a quick decision could help turn the corner on another week that had already become one of the toughest of his nascent presidency. Those hopes were dashed by news of the special prosecutor, which was ordered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a letter Wednesday. [23]Now it's up to the special counsel Now it's up to the special counsel [24]Now it's up to the special counsel As the President held brief conversations with the FBI contenders, word reached the White House counsel's office on the second floor of the West Wing that the order had been signed. The President wasn't asked. He was told. "It's still sinking in," one administration official said, describing an air of uncertainty in the West Wing. "We were told about it. Not asked about it." The surprise announcement frustrated Trump, according to his aides, who have now spent the past three evenings seeking to contain the fallout from a series of rapid-pace headlines that further complicate the ties between the President and Russia. Inside the West Wing, staffers again clambered for a response. Only two days ago, press secretary Sean Spicer insisted there was no use for a special counsel. "There's, frankly, no need for a special prosecutor," he told reporters Monday. The terse statement Wednesday was issued under the President's name, the only comment of the evening. Trump and his chief of staff Reince Priebus gathered staff to bolster the mood, according to one senior White House official. "Let them do their thing and we will do ours," one official said in describing the message in the meeting. "We're all in this together." [25]Rosenstein faces Senate day after upending political world Rosenstein faces Senate day after upending political world [26]Rosenstein faces Senate day after upending political world But elsewhere, signs of fresh chaos were emerging. Advisers planning Trump's first foreign trip, which begins Friday, canceled scheduled briefings on the matter to avoid having reporters milling about the West Wing. Vice President Mike Pence roared away in his motorcade. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's senior counselor who had been scheduled for an appearance on Fox News, abruptly canceled. "It does seem a little chaotic over there, I gotta be honest with you," said her would-be interviewer Tucker Carlson, a frank admission from a host who regularly defends the administration. Into the night, the White House struggled to contain its frustration. Senior advisers told junior aides to focus on their work and compartmentalize the latest round of drama, which now the West Wing has even less control over. The President and those around him saw again Wednesday night the limits of his own executive authority, a feeling presidents before him have bemoaned and he has witnessed multiple times in his four months in office. One aide described the mood in two words: "Chaotically dark." Trump: No politician has been treated worse Trump: No politician has been treated worse Trump: No politician has been treated worse JUST WATCHED Trump: No politician has been treated worse Replay [27]More Videos ... MUST WATCH Trump: No politician has been treated worse 00:48 'Enjoy your life' As for the President, his foul mood has only persisted, even as he approaches the major endurance test of an eight-day foreign swing to five countries. People close to Trump say he remains angry and frustrated with his staff. Rumors of a shakeup -- which have shadowed the White House since the day Trump took office -- only increased in volume as the barrage of bad news continued. [28]Surprise, relief dominate Capitol Hill after special counsel named for Russia investigation Surprise, relief dominate Capitol Hill after special counsel named for Russia investigation [29]Surprise, relief dominate Capitol Hill after special counsel named for Russia investigation Trump continues to strain the patience and emotions of his underlings, who find themselves struggling to understand the impulsive and often self-damaging behavior of their boss. The frustrations extend beyond the White House. One senior GOP source -- who has been in regular contact with Rosenstein, who helped execute the Comey firing, but Wednesday signed the order naming a special counsel -- said the deputy attorney general had become angry and exasperated with the Trump White House over their handling of the Comey matter. Rosenstein, who was so upset after last week's proceedings that he was "talking about packing his bags," is throwing Trump "overboard" with this special counsel, the source suggested. Meanwhile, at the White House, staffers say they're exhausted after a week of arrows. "It's just been three days straight of these 5:45 pm announcements," one aide said. [30]What is a special counsel and how much power do they have? What is a special counsel and how much power do they have? [31]What is a special counsel and how much power do they have? Trump has sought to mask any strain during his increasingly rare public appearances. He emerged from his White House residence with a smile early Wednesday, blissfully ignoring reporters who shouted questions at him as he made his way across a sun-drenched South Lawn toward the Marine One helicopter. Flying to Connecticut to deliver his first commencement address to a US military academy -- a yearly tradition all presidents generally fulfill -- Trump was accompanied by a collection of aides he's openly considering firing. His remarks, which wavered between doses of inspiration for the young graduates and angry screeds on his rivals, previewed a coming battle. "You have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight," he declared, before ending his remarks with advice he likely wishes he could take himself. "Enjoy your life," he said. CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report. * ____________________ * * * * * * * * * * [32]45 * [33]Congress * [34]Security * [35]The Nine * [36]Trumpmerica * [37]State * * * © 2017 Cable News Network. [38]Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. [39]Terms of service | [40]Privacy guidelines Quantcast [INLINE] References Visible links 1. https://plus.google.com/+cnn/posts 2. android-app://com.cnn.mobile.android.phone/http/www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/trump-mueller-white-house-turmoil/index.html 3. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/president-donald-trump-45 4. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/congress-capitol-hill 5. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/us-security 6. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/supreme-court-nine 7. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/trumpmerica 8. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/state-cnn-politics-magazine 9. http://edition.cnn.com/profiles/kevin-liptak-profile 10. http://edition.cnn.com/profiles/jeff-zeleny-profile 11. http://edition.cnn.com/profiles/sara-murray 12. http://edition.cnn.com/profiles/jim-acosta-profile 13. http://edition.cnn.com/videos 14. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/trump-coast-guard-speech/index.html 15. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/comey-trump-oval-office-responses/index.html 16. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/trump-coast-guard-speech/index.html 17. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/trump-coast-guard-speech/index.html 18. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/special-counsel-robert-mueller/index.html 19. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/politics/trump-russia-connections/ 20. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/865169927644340224 21. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/865173176854204416 22. http://edition.cnn.com/videos 23. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/18/politics/donald-trump-robert-mueller-democracy/index.html 24. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/18/politics/donald-trump-robert-mueller-democracy/index.html 25. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/18/politics/rod-rosenstein-senate-briefing/index.html 26. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/18/politics/rod-rosenstein-senate-briefing/index.html 27. http://edition.cnn.com/videos 28. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/congress-reaction-special-counsel/index.html 29. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/congress-reaction-special-counsel/index.html 30. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/what-is-a-special-counsel/index.html 31. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/what-is-a-special-counsel/index.html 32. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/president-donald-trump-45 33. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/congress-capitol-hill 34. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/us-security 35. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/supreme-court-nine 36. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/trumpmerica 37. http://edition.cnn.com/specials/politics/state-cnn-politics-magazine 38. http://www.turner.com/ 39. http://edition.cnn.com/terms 40. http://edition.cnn.com/privacy Hidden links: 42. http://edition.cnn.com/ 43. http://edition.cnn.com/politics 44. http://facebook.com/cnnpolitics 45. http://twitter.com/cnnpolitics 46. http://instagram.com/cnnpolitics 47. javascript:void(0); 48. javascript:void(0); 49. javascript:void(0); 50. http://edition.cnn.com/ 51. http://edition.cnn.com/politics 52. http://facebook.com/cnnpolitics 53. http://twitter.com/cnnpolitics 54. http://instagram.com/cnnpolitics

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