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Ex-FBI chief Mueller to head Trump-Russia probe

Ex-FBI chief Mueller to head Trump-Russia probe

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel Wednesday to oversee the investigation, which has focused on contacts between Trump's campaign associates and Russian officials. In this case, painting himself as the unfair target of an investigation that was widely applauded across the political spectrum may instead serve to highlight his isolation.

The meeting took on greater importance on Wednesday, when Rosenstein chose to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including coordination between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.

Other advisers joined the discussion, with a goal of presenting the President with a plan for outside legal counsel as the Russian Federation investigation enters a new and potentially perilous phase for the White House.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed", wrote Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told senators in a closed-door briefing on Thursday that he knew former FBI Director James Comey was going to be fired before he wrote a memo that justified the firing, multiple senators said after the briefing.

House investigators said they were plowing full speed ahead with their own inquiry - one source noted that the appointment of a special counsel didn't matter much because Comey had not been providing House investigators much access to begin with.

The Senate intelligence committee also asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to turn over any notes Comey might have made regarding discussions he had with White House or Justice Department officials about Russia's efforts to influence the election.

Mueller will have to propose a budget to the Justice Department within the next 60 days - and update it annually, for as long as the investigation runs.

Trump has consistently rejected any suggestion of collusion between his camp and Moscow as "fake news" and complained in a speech Wednesday that he had been treated "more unfairly" than any United States leader in history during his fledgling presidency.

Trump's complaints that he was being subjected to an unprecedented "witch hunt" ignored history, given that President Bill Clinton was investigated by an independent counsel, Ken Starr, in a probe that resulted in Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives. This recent development even led some Republicans to ask for a special prosecutor for the first time, as seen on Wednesday morning, when IL representative Adam Kinzinger told CNN, "It is time we look at the idea of an independent commission or special prosecutor".

At a press conference later on Thursday, Trump said, "I respect the move but the entire thing is a witch hunt".

Did he urge Comey at a February meeting to drop his probe of the Russian Federation connections of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn? "So one of the big losers in this decision is the public", because fewer people would be likely to testify in open congressional hearings. The others were former Connecticut Sen.

Essentially, a special counsel has the some powers as a regular federal prosecutor, with the difference being that he or she operates outside of the normal Justice Department hierarchy.

Another Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, said he had confidence that Mueller, who is widely respected among USA lawmakers, will follow the facts where they lead. Earlier this week, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that there was "no need" for such an appointment, adding: "You have two Senate committees that are looking into this, [and] the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting their own review".


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