Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump says probe will prove no collusion

Why would a Special Counsel be needed?

As special prosecutor, Mueller will have all the same powers as a USA attorney, though he will still ultimately report to Rosenstein.

Next question: Will the Congressional investigations continue in parallel to Mueller's?

Of course, the unimpeachability of Mueller's reputation - and the likelihood that his investigation and its findings will be seen by the bulk of the country as non-partisan - is also what makes this such a huge gamble for the Trump administration. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.

Special counsels like the one named Wednesday (May 17) to oversee the probe into Russia's alleged election interference are rare super sleuths with more power and independence than regular American investigators.

The code of federal regulations provides that the attorney general will appoint a special counsel when the attorney general "determines that criminal investigation is warranted and that an investigation by the Justice Department would present a conflict of interest "or other extraordinary circumstance" and that 'under the circumstances it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside special counsel".

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel comes amid a fraught week for the Trump administration. Still, he is not subject to the day-to-day supervision of the Justice Department. It was exercised only once before, in 1999, when then-Attorney General appointed Former Missouri Sen Jack Danforth investigation into FBI handling of government raid on Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the appointment was consistent with his goal of ensuring that "thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead". He also said "it is obvious" that some people want to harm Trump.

Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, called the appointment a "good decision".

She adds that "a special prosecutor is the first step, but it can not be the last".

Referencing a similar sentiment from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Crowley praised Mueller.

Controversial new US ambassador arrives in Israel
The Trump administration quickly disavowed the statement, but stopped short of saying the Western Wall belonged to Israel. Israel considers Jerusalem to be its eternal capital and wants all foreign countries to place their embassies there.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), while still calling for an independent commission, acknowledged that Mueller's appointment may have "taken some of the pressure off" Republicans to get on board.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller on the eve of what was expected to be a contentious meeting with members of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. "Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted".

Republicans, frustrated by the president's relentless parade of problems, largely sought to cool the heated climate with assurances they would get to the bottom of scandals.

Congressman Erik Paulson of Minnesota tweeted "This is a step forward in restoring public confidence to look in to this matter".

Mueller's service of presidents from both parties undoubtedly contributed to his selection as special counsel during an intense political crisis.

The White House counsel was notified after the special counsel order was signed and soon before it was publicly announced.

Both of the explosive revelations - that the president pressed his FBI director to drop a federal investigation before later firing him, and that he disclosed classified information to senior Russian officials - came from anonymous sources, and the White House was quick to denounce the leaks and deny any impropriety.

Standing in solidarity with him that day was the deputy attorney general, who rushed to the attorney general's hospital bed to stop Bush aides from pressuring him into approving the spying methods.

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from NY, told reporters that he was "fine" with the decision, but thought it was unnecessary.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of OR tweeted, "This is a victory for all Americans who believe in the integrity of the rule of law".

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