Ex-FBI Director Heads Trump-Russia Inquiry

Mueller's appointment comes after Trump fired FBI director James Comey allegedly over his handling of the same investigation.

"He answered a lot of questions but declined to answer a lot, as well", Durbin said.

In a pair of morning tweets and at a later news conference, Trump described calls for his impeachment as "ridiculous" and said he had done nothing to warrant criminal charges.

But during the Senate meeting, Rosenstein revealed that he'd known the president was going to fire Comey before he'd even written his memo.

A senior US senator said on Friday that he expects Congress' investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 USA election to go ahead, even after the appointment of a special counsel, and said Congress has a broader mandate that extends to financial conflicts of interest.

President Trump has insisted he is not the one under investigation, but that could easily change.

In appointing a special counsel to investigate Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election - and the possible commission of crimes before, during and afterward - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acted prudently and for abundant, sound reasons.

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Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, named Mueller amid mounting pressure in Congress for an independent investigation beyond existing FBI and congressional probes into the Russian Federation issue. "So poor in fact that, I believe - and you'd have to ask him, because I don't like to speak for other people - but I believe that's why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter", Trump said.

It has been anything but.

The appointment won Rosenstein wide praise from Republicans and Democrats.

The White House initially said last week that a letter Rosenstein wrote accusing Comey of missteps as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, including his handling of an election-year probe into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, was what prompted Trump to fire Comey.

Numerous senators leaving the hearing were reluctant to speak about what had been said. Sen. AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.

Trump directly addressed the matter for the first time Thursday, flatly denying that he made such a request.

President Donald Trump, followed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos arrives for their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May, 18, 2017. However the White House said at midday that there would be no announcement Friday.

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Analysis: "You're fired" may backfire.

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and who exactly made the decision.

Zeidenberg was the assistant special counsel in the 2003 investigation into the leaking of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame, which ultimately lead to Vice President Dick Cheney's advisor Scooter Libby being convicted of obstruction of justice, among other counts.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller, the longest-serving FBI chief since J. Edgar Hoover, was named by Rosenstein to lead an investigation that has trained a sharp focus on Flynn and other former Trump advisers.

Trump categorically denied he asked Comey to drop his probe of Flynn, whom he fired on February 14 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence, about the extent of his conversations past year with Russia's ambassador. "And numerous questions he declined to answer came down to his concern of whether he might interfere with the investigation by Robert Mueller". Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Among the few people who openly expressed their disapproval was Trump himself.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump said: "As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity".

United States democracy 'under assault by Donald Trump' after James Comey firing
Oval Office tape recordings haven't been part of White House history since they helped undo Richard Nixon's administration. According to press reports, Pence was aware that Trump wanted to fire Comey the week before it happened.

Despite the appointment, at least three congressional committees are continuing their investigations, leading to some turf warfare and sniping as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both sought to lay claim to testimony from Comey, while the House Oversight Committee also hoped to hear from the former director.

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