Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Robert Mueller named special prosecutor in Trump FBI Russia Probe

Robert Mueller named special prosecutor in Trump FBI Russia Probe

Leaders from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence invited Mr. Comey and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to testify again, both publicly and behind closed doors.

Rosenstein told lawmakers he didn't want to infringe on newly appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, whom Rosenstein named this week to lead the probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation. "What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command".

"There isn't any judicial review of impeachment decisions, so Congress just needs to be satisfied that Trump committed high crimes or misdemeanors", Jens David Ohlin, a law professor and associate dean at Cornell Law School told AFP.

"I would hope that the people here (in Congress) will believe if a special prosecutor tells them that there's no indication that the Russians have done anything here, that they will finally open their eyes, and say, 'There's no there, there'".

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The White House originally portrayed Comey's dismissal as its response to a memo by Rosenstein criticizing the way Comey handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Unlike Comey, who Trump charged was a "showboat" and a "grandstander", Mueller typically shied away from making comments to reporters and routinely refused to discuss ongoing investigations.

Earlier in the day, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster denied Trump had caused a "lapse in national security", saying it was "wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary to advance the security of the American people".

Mueller was Comey's immediate predecessor at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which he led from 2001 to 2013 under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Democrats and some of the President's fellow Republicans had demanded an independent probe of whether Russian Federation tried to sway the outcome of November's election in favor of Mr. Trump and against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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The appointment seemed meant to quell mounting questions about the Justice Department's ability to independently oversee the investigation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he welcomes Mueller as special counsel and said the House Intelligence Committee's investigation would also continue.

According to the Times, the White House has declined to comment on whether transition officials were aware of the Flynn investigation before Trump's inauguration.

In a statement after the Justice Department announcement, Trump said he looked forward to a quick resolution of the matter. "I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein". Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called the selection "excellent". That fact could expose Mueller to possible conflict of interest charges, said Kathleen Clark, who specializes in legal and government ethics and teaches at Washington University Law School in St. Louis.

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Allegations that Trump interfered with an FBI investigation stemmed from a New York Times report Tuesday that Comey had documentation of a February conversation between him and Trump in which the president urged Comey to discontinue the investigation of Flynn. But, he said, "You can not let them get you down".

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