Deputy attorney general says Mueller probe not a ‘witch hunt’

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday said that the special counsel’s investigation is not a “witch hunt,” words often used by President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE to describe the probe into allegations of potential collusion between his campaign and Moscow. 

Rosenstein defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation amid fierce questioning from Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee concerning the ongoing probe. 

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“I don’t know exactly what the president meant by that, congressman. The special counsel’s investigation is not a witch hunt,” Rosenstein said in response to Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHouse panel approves controversial changes to Violence Against Women Act Business groups urge Congress to combat LGBTQ discrimination in workplace Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger MORE (D-R.I.). 

Still, he stopped short of saying that his statement signaled his disagreement with the president. 

Trump has repeatedly taken to Twitter to describe allegations of potential collusion as a partisan “witch hunt” against him. 

“I do not know what the president meant by that, congressman, I can only answer for myself,” Rosenstein said on Wednesday.

Mueller, who has a broad mandate in his investigation, has already unveiled charges against former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, as well as former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts.