Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

USA names special counsel for Russian Federation probe

Early reaction from Congress was generally positive to the appointment of Mueller.

In the job, Mueller will have all the same powers as a US attorney, though he will still ultimately report to Rosenstein.

The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including its alleged ties to Trump " s presidential campaign.

A former FBI chief was tasked Wednesday with leading a beefed-up investigation into whether Donald Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favor.

Defending Trump's actions, officials played down the importance and secrecy of the information, which had been supplied by Israel under an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation.

President Trump said in a statement that there was no collusion between his campaign and "any foreign entity".

The Hill noted the Department of Justice appointment came the same day House Democrats moved forward on legislation to create an independent outside commission - similar to the panel that investigated the 9/11 attacks - to look into Russia-Trump ties. "In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country".

Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, Rosenstsein said a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. The White House received a heads-up less than an hour before the news broke at 6 p.m. ET.

"I think it was the right thing to do and I believe they saw it as the right thing to do otherwise they're going to have a fight and it's not worth the fight", Feinstein said.

The White House has grown suspicious about the volume and timing of the seemingly never-ending stream of leaks about the president, said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to reflect on the feeling inside the West Wing. "This clears that up and has a person whose reputation is as good as it gets and he'll be very good".

"We're reporting from the White House tonight because of the rapidly developing investigation into whether the President tried to shut down an FBI investigation of his administration", announced Anchor Scott Pelley to kick off CBS Evening News.

In response to calls for a special prosecutor for the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a former FBI director as special counsel.

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The firm represents Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who have taken on White House jobs. "Not asked about it".

She adds that "a special prosecutor is the first step, but it can not be the last". That meant that the whole mechanism for establishing an independent special prosecutor went away. The reports cited a memo said to have been written by Comey documenting Trump's request. I said, you know, Bob you have to learn how to emote a little bit.

Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into the Russian activity and possible connections to associates of President Donald Trump, says his committee will "continue to proceed forward" and the panel's job hasn't changed.

Republicans have largely stood behind Trump as the FBI and congressional investigations into Russia's election meddling intensified.

The appointment seemed meant to quell mounting questions about the Justice Department's ability to independently oversee the investigation.

Given the politically explosive context, Mueller's appointment was widely welcomed across the political spectrum.

While Mr Mueller is technically still part of the justice department and ultimately reports to Mr Trump, his stature is such that he is unlikely to be cowed by the president.

Comey said Mueller had told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents not to let anyone remove Comey from Ashcroft's hospital room "under any circumstances". It began in 2004, when Comey refused to reauthorize an NSA spying program.

A similar appointment came in 2003 when the Bush Justice Department turned to Patrick Fitzgerald, then the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer.

It wasn't just the decision to appoint a special counsel that raised eyebrows.

Senators plan to question Rosenstein about Comey's firing when the deputy attorney general testifies Thursday in a closed hearing.

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