Mueller heading investigation on Trump, Russia

Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington U.S. before his departure

Rosenstein's announcement followed more than a week of chaos emanating from the White House, starting with Comey's firing last Tuesday and continuing through the news Monday that Trump divulged classified information to Russian officials and Tuesday's stunning report that Trump asked Comey in a private meeting to stop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump went on to lament that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and electoral opponent, Hillary Clinton, were not similarly investigated by a special counsel.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!" Then, following weeks of pressure from Democrats and outside commentators, Rosenstein announced Wednesday evening he was appointing Mueller as special counsel heading up the department's probe.

Mueller, who was named by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to act as special counsel, has a reputation for being a competent straight shooter. He did not inform the White House about the appointment until after it had been made.

And they wanted the investigations already underway by the Intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate to keep going, a sentiment Republicans shared.

But President Trump had a different opinion, taking to Twitter to call the selection of a special counsel "The single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history".

Durbin and other Democrats complained, however, that Rosenstein refused to answer many of their questions and did so by citing the seriousness of the investigation. Far-right radio host Alex Jones warns of a plot by "deep-state" globalists to impeach Trump. "I have full confidence in former Director Mueller".

Attacking him could alienate Republican leaders in Washington and elsewhere. Trump badly needs their support during a crucial stage when many are weighing how and if to come to his defense and remain publicly behind him.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Mr Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., and Trump advisers, including Mr Flynn, Mr Trump's first national security adviser, three current and former officials said. Even if Trump's voters dislike him, he will have the power to compel testimony and demand documents as long as he remains on the job. Lindsey Graham said he believes the investigation has evolved into a criminal investigation. But long-term, Krauthammer believes it is problematic for Trump to have Mueller running the show.

The appointment won Rosenstein wide praise from Republicans and Democrats.

At this point, the various congressional committee probes should "take a back seat" to avoid interfering with Mueller's work, he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe".

That would make it harder to subpoena records of people who could be subjects of the investigation, he added. Before he leaves Washington, he is scheduled to appear at a joint news conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia Thursday afternoon.

Rosenstein was originally invited by the two Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democrat Chuck Schumer of NY, to explain Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Trump aides initially pointed to a memo written by Rosenstein that had been critical of a number of Comey actions prior to Trump coming into office.

In particular, Mr Trump referenced Mr Comey's "poor performance" at a Senate committee hearing the previous week, noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been forced to adjust the record. "But Donald Trump created many of these problems for himself".



Other news