Lawmakers praise special counsel appointed to oversee Russia investigation

"I have made no such determination", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement Wednesday, according to Reuters. "Multiple people, starting in February when I called for it, have said we needed this independent counsel, we needed the ability to know that we had a point of contact who had the resources". The firing of former FBI Director James Comey and release of a Comey memo stating that President Trump expressed hope the investigation into former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, could be dropped, finally tipped the scale.

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

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

"The Department of Justice should turn over a new leaf". He can maintain the same investigators in place, or request new or additional staff including from outside the department. "This includes assisting Congressional Committees as they gather information and specifically, the Department should immediately send documents Committees have been requesting since February pertaining to former National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation".

"With Mueller's appointment, the source told Bash that Rosenstein was effectively saying: "'You guys are on your own - and you're going to have this guy who has an impeccable reputation and impeccable experience... obviously in a bipartisan way to do this investigation'".

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat, said there was "no better person who could be asked to perform this function".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Mueller's appointment "confirms that the investigation into Russian intervention into our election will continue, as stated last week by Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe". 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. He also said "it is obvious" that some people want to harm Trump.

Trump in the dark: He was not aware that a special prosecutor would be named until less than an hour before the announcement, a White House official confirmed to Politico's Josh Dawsey. "The value an independent commission adds is you have a body that is truly independent of any political consideration".

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The memo, on the heels of Trump's abrupt firing of Comey last week, fueled accusations by lawmakers of possible obstruction of justice and calls for an independent prosecutor to oversee the FBI's ongoing counterintelligence probe into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the presidential campaign.

Under federal regulations, a special counsel appointed under these circumstances isn't subject to "day to day" supervision by any official at the Justice Department.

GOP House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Mueller "is a great selection".

Trump says In a written statement that he looks forward to "this matter concluding quickly". "He's highly regarded on both sides of the aisle". King says, "I'm anxious with all special counsels because there's no control over them and they can abuse their power".

The decision about whether to appoint a special prosecutor was Rosenstein's to make, not Attorney General Jeff Sessions'.

The White House was reportedly not aware of the special counsel appointment until shortly before it was made public on Wednesday.

Congressional committees sought public testimony from James Comey, whose firing as Federal Bureau of Investigation director last week triggered a political firestorm, as well as documents from the agency. Prior to leading the bureau, Mueller was the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California and served as an assistant attorney general in between stints in private practice.

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