Pence hires Cullen for Russia probe

Vice President Mike Pence and Rep. Kristi Noem 6/13/17

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, U.S., May 9.

Cullen also served as the attorney general of Virginia and as a US attorney under President George H.W. Bush.

The vice president's communications director, Jarrod Agen, said in a statement, "I can confirm that the Vice President has retained Richard Cullen of McGuire Woods to assist him in responding to inquiries by the special counsel". The law firm referred questions back to the vice president's office. "There is no evidence of collusion between our campaign and any Russian officials".

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow interfered in last year's presidential campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor.

Pence picked the attorney earlier this week, following a several-week selection process that included interviews with several possible choices, an aide told the newspaper.

He praised U.S. President Donald Trump's tough stance against illegal immigration, saying it was responsible for a more than 70 percent drop in illegal crossings of the U.S. -Mexico border since the beginning of his administration in January.

The news of Cullen's hiring was first reported by the Washington Post. Trump lashed out at that report at various times on Thursday through his Twitter feed, even recalling language from the campaign to criticize Hillary Clinton as "Crooked H".




Pence, who after the election served as head of Trump's White House transition team, has stood by Trump's assertion that there are no ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

Cullen previously served as attorney general of Virginia.

The new allegations against Trump centre on his own admission that he fired Comey because of the Russian Federation investigation, and suggestions he asked several top intelligence officials for their help altering the direction of the inquiry.

The president denies doing anything wrong and has called the investigations a "witch hunt".

An examination of possible obstruction of justice charges was "unavoidable" given testimony by Comey, although the issue may not become the main focus of the probe, the source said.

Scrutiny of the president's actions has intensified since he fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey last month.

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