Rosenstein: Special Counsel Will Ensure Thorough Russia Investigation

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

The public interest, he said, "requires me to place this investigation into the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command".

Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous".

Trump decried the appointment of the special counsel as "the single greatest witch-hunt" in United States history.

Trump is reacting to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation after he fired FBI Director James Comey.

In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.

But Mueller's investigation joins ongoing probes of Russian influence by House and Senate committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which Sen.

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. The Republican senator John McCain said that Trump's troubles had reached "Watergate size and scale".

Coming out of that briefing, lawmakers said Rosenstein revealed that President Trump's decision preceded his letter. After the briefing, California Democrat Kamala Harris was asked if Rosenstein's integrity was compromised by writing the memo after he knew Comey would be fired.

Staffers described President Donald Trump as "measured" when he found out former FBI Director Robert Muelller had been appointed as a special counsel to look into possible Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation. "Mueller can request additional resources, make his own calls about where to point the investigation, and in general can operate in some sense more autonomously than an ordinary U.S. attorney because of the designation 'special counsel.'" Mueller's next step will be to create a budget for the investigation's resources together to be approved by Rosenstein in 60 days. One difference, however: Special counsels get to choose whether they inform the Justice Department what they're up to.

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Trump responded by once again denying any links to Moscow, but the appointment of a special counsel with sweeping powers dramatically raises the stakes in a crisis threatening to paralyse his presidency.

The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director has a broad mandate that could encompass any questionable actions of President Donald Trump's associates and possibly even the circumstances of last week's abrupt firing of James Comey.

"If I were Mr. Mueller I would jealously guard the witness pool", Graham said. "Should be widely accepted".

Congress will continue to carry out their own investigations.

Comey's successor He said he would announce Mr Comey's successor "very soon".

"I think it divides the country", he told a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"It is hard to see a friend of yours being in the middle of that", said Jan Paul Miller, a St. Louis attorney who worked with Rosenstein when both were assistant USA attorneys in Maryland.

There was no word on what that record might entail, a question many were likely to raise in light of Trump's recent warning to Comey that he had "better hope" there were no tapes of a discussion they'd had. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Other reports by GizPress

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