Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rosenstein: Special Counsel Will Ensure Thorough Russia Investigation


Trump's Thursday-morning tweets generated, even for his 30 million-follower Twitter account, swift and vigorous reaction - particularly, in the wake of the Wednesday appointment of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller to oversee an independent probe into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Trump's claim that the "witch hunt" to which he contends he's been subjected is historic in magnitude.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel has been welcomed by politicians from both sides.

Flynn's contacts with Russians during the campaign, as well as his work for the Turkish government, are under investigation.

"He's a pillar of rectitude", Ledgett said of Mueller.

In the statement as released by the White House, Trump said, "a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly".

On Wednesday, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The special counsel is also authorised to prosecute any crimes unearthed by the investigation.

His mandate extends beyond any specific Trump-Russia connection to cover "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

The FBI and Congress are looking into potential links between Mr Trump's campaign team and Russian Federation.

A key issue Mueller may have to tackle is whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice, an offence that could be used in any effort in the Republican-led Congress to impeach him and remove him from office. A former federal prosecutor who served under presidential administrations of both parties and became director days before the attacks, Mueller was so valued that President Barack Obama asked him to stay on two years longer than his 10-year term.

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The ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen.

The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee says his panel has not received a response from Michael Flynn's lawyer - correcting his earlier statement that Flynn would not comply with a subpoena.

The US president stands accused of seeking to stall the politically-explosive probe following his shock dismissal of FBI chief James Comey, and allegations that he asked Comey to drop his investigation of a former aide.

The statute says the attorney general - Rosenstein in this case because Sessions has recused himself - should "give great weight to the views of the special counsel", and inform the Judiciary committees in the House and Senate if he decides something should not be pursued. A senior administration official described Trump's reaction to Mueller's appointment as "measured". In addition, Comey wrote a memo detailing Trump's comments to him in February saying "I hope you can let this go", referring to the Flynn probe, a source who saw the memo said on Tuesday. The White House denied that account. However, Trump later lashed out at the appointment of the special counsel in a series of tweets.

Richard Ledgett, former deputy director of the National Security Agency, said in an interview in Washington that Mueller's appointment would help restore the intelligence community's confidence amid turmoil over the investigations.

The Justice Department said Mueller has resigned from his job at a private law firm, WilmerHale, to take the job.

Another partner, Reginald Brown, is representing Paul Manafort. Among the things being investigated are possible links between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.

Special counsels are appointed to avoid potential conflicts of interest in Justice Department investigations.

In the job, Mueller will have all the same powers as a US attorney, though he will still ultimately report to Rosenstein. He will request a budget that includes personnel.

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