May 19, 2017 - 11:44 AMT
Trump says he's victim of 'greatest witch hunt' in political history

President Donald Trump declared himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history Thursday, May 18, lashing out after a probe into his campaign ties with Russia was significantly strengthened, AFP reports.

On Wednesday, a high-powered special counsel was appointed to investigate events around the 2016 election -- a move that left the Republican billionaire seething, and sent world stock markets tumbling.

Hours after former FBI director Robert Mueller was tapped to take over the investigation, Trump took to Twitter in the early morning to scrub the White House's earlier, more measured, response.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" Trump wrote, his anger bubbling over.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!" he said, without providing evidence for those claims.

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, amid accusations from US intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a sweeping campaign to tilt the vote in the Republican's favor.

At the center of the political firestorm are Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn and his one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort, and their multiple undisclosed contacts with Russian officials during and after the vote.

So far, no evidence of collusion has been presented, but the question has consumed the first four months of Trump's presidency and spurred multiple crises that have left the White House shell-shocked.