The move to appoint Robert S. Mueller III was done by Deputy. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein , who was in charge of the investigation, without the knowledge or consent of the Attorney General Sessions or Donald Trump….
The action comes after several days of increased pressure for an ‘independent’ investigation became apparent with former FBI Director being fired by Trump who is reported to have asked Comey directly if he was the subject of any of the probes …..Then asked Comey to make the Flynn investigation ‘go away’ and also threatened Comey before firing him just before meeting with Russian officials in the Oval office of the White House without American media in the room, but with Russian Media there…
The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s 118-day-old presidency.
The decision, by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came after a cascade of damaging developments for Mr. Trump in recent days, including his abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the subsequent disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.
Mr. Rosenstein, who wrote a memo that the White House initially cited as the rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal, had been under escalating pressure from Democrats, and even some Republicans, to appoint a special counsel.
By appointing Mr. Mueller, a former federal prosecutor with an unblemished reputation who once stood up to President George W. Bush on the legality of his domestic wiretapping program, Mr. Rosenstein could alleviate questions about the government’s capacity to investigate the swirl of questions surrounding the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement that he concluded that “it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter.”
“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Mr. Rosenstein added. “I have made no such determination.”
In a statement, Mr. Trump said, “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
Mr. Rosenstein’s announcement came on a day when Republican lawmakers joined calls for Mr. Comey to testify publicly, with some committee chairmen requesting he appear before their panels and share more information about his encounters with Mr. Trump. Lawmakers also asked the F.B.I. to turn over the memo that Mr. Comey is said to have written that suggested the president asked him to quash the investigation into Mr. Flynn.
While Mr. Mueller remains answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he will have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney.
As a special counsel, Mr. Mueller can choose whether to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation as it goes forward. He is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” according to Mr. Rosenstein’s order naming him to the post, as well as other matters that “may arise directly from the investigation.” He is also empowered to press criminal charges, and he can request additional resources subject to the review of an assistant attorney general.
Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were notified only after Mr. Rosenstein signed the order on Wednesday afternoon….
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