- 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 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.
"Don't give in," he said. "Don't back down."
Hours later, his words appeared to gain new meaning.
Trump and his aides received less than an hour's notice Wednesday before the 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.
CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.