Former Acting Deputy Attorney General and FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to serve as special counsel charged with investigating Russian interference in last year's election and anything connected to Russia's actions - including unfounded allegations of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia.
Lawmakers were still picking through the fallout of Wednesday's stunning announcement by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that he appointed Mueller to direct the special investigation into ties between Trump aides and Russian Federation.
Trump began the day by tweeting that he is the victim of "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", a claim ignoring impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders.
Up through Mueller's appointment, the prevailing GOP line was that the congressional investigations alone would be sufficient to reach the truth.
Last week, the president's tweets were seen as potential criminal acts.
"I would nearly agree with Mr. Trump's assertion that this is somewhat of a political witch hunt", Pearl said. Later, though, Trump told NBC News that he would have fired Comey "regardless" and was thinking of the "Russia thing" when he did so.
The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he was supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.
That's according to several United States senators who met with Rosenstein Thursday afternoon in a secure room in the Capitol basement. "I look forward to reviewing the findings of Mueller and the findings by the various House and Senate committees investigating these issues".
A White House official and an outside adviser said Trump on Monday blasted communications director Mike Dubke because of the stream of negative headlines about his presidency.
"There is mounting evidence of obstruction of justice", Blumenthal said, avoiding a specific question as to whether he was referring to President Trump or the firing of Comey.
To emphasize the independence of his decision, Rosenstein did not notify White House Counsel Donald McGahn of the appointment until 5:30 p.m., the same time Justice Department officials were briefing reporters and 30 minutes before the news became public.
The naming of Mueller represents a threat to the White House because he will be armed with sweeping powers, including the right to subpoena documents or interview the President as he builds a case centered on the question of whether anyone in Trump's circle colluded with the Russians to influence the course of the election or committed any crimes.
President Donald Trump says a special prosecutor for an investigation into Russia's involvement in the election hurts our country. On one hand, if Mueller declares Trump has an involvement, they can not accuse him of a frame-up.
"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to writing his memo", Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill told reporters after the briefing.
"I think that's an open question", said Democratic Senator Chris Coons of DE when asked whether Comey would appear before Congress, adding that it remained to be seen "how ongoing congressional investigations will be coordinated with the special counsel".
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