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    Russia probe a ‘witch hunt’? Moulton doesn’t think so

    Congressman Seth Moulton
    Keith Bedford/Globe Staff/file
    Congressman Seth Moulton

    President Trump took to Twitter to complain of a “witch hunt” Thursday, apparently in response to the appointment of a special counsel in the investigation of possible contacts between campaign aides and Russia.

    “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Trump wrote.

    Trump didn’t say it, but invoked reminders of the infamous Salem witch trials, in which about 200 people were accused of witchcraft in Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693, according to the Smithsonian. In the hysteria, 19 people were executed.

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    So does the investigation in Russian dealings compare with the witch trials? US Representative Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Salem, didn’t think so.

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    ”As the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false,” Moulton wrote.

    Moulton’s post scored support from Twitter users.

    “PACK YOUR BAGS, YOU’RE GOING VIRAL,” wrote one Twitter user responding to the tweet.

    “troll level: broomstick,” wrote another.

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    “If I was American, I’d move to Salem based solely on this tweet,” posted by a user from Ontario, Canada.

    Trump did not reply to the Democratic lawmaker, who has criticized the president in the past. During the 2016 race, Moulton called then-candidate Trump a “maniac” who was “trying to institutionalize racism against Muslims.”

    Following Trump’s airstrike against the regime in Syria, Moulton accused Trump of not caring enough to “let the victims of Assad find refuge & freedom here.”

    In a message Trump also posted Thursday morning, he appeared to try to redirect attention to the 2016 race.

    ”With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!” Trump wrote.

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    Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday announced he was appointing the special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation of contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign. Trump has denied any ties.

    John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.