Trump had said Thursday he was "very close" to naming a replacement and that former Connecticut Sen.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner, along with Trump's policy adviser, Stephen Miller, a former aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were in the small cluster of aides with Trump at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, during the May 5 weekend when he talked in earnest about firing Comey, according to two people briefed on the discussions.
He said both Republicans and Democrats both applauded when he responded to a question about the ability of Mueller to decide the contours of the investigation.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told members of Congress that his memo to President Trump detailing concerns about James Comey's actions as Federal Bureau of Investigation director was "not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination" of Comey.
He later reposted the same tweet, after correcting his misspelling of the word "counsel".
"Look at the way I've been treated lately, especially by the media".
Asked point-blank Thursday if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous".
Separately from the probe now run by Mueller, Flynn is being investigated by the Pentagon's top watchdog for his foreign payments.
Rosenstein said he first learned of Trump's intent to remove Comey on May 8.
With the Justice Department throwing a bombshell on Thursday by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation and U.S lawmakers lining up their own hearings and probes, the President is said to have convened his legal team, including his long-time attorney from New York Michael Cohen, to discuss how to face the challenges.
"I wrote it", Rosenstein said. "I find it hard to subpoena records of somebody, like Mr. Flynn, who may be subject to a criminal investigation because he has a right not to incriminate himself", he told reporters.
Warning that leaks were undermining national security, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said: "By grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".
The appointment of Mueller as special counsel will raise the intensity of the investigation and make it less vulnerable to political interference. The nation has never had an administration so embattled so early in its term.
"If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is Isis's ultimate trophy", Trump said, "the pope can have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened".
Trump now enters a new phase in which the focus of press coverage will sharpen. Robert Mueller has a sterling reputation in Washington, DC. Senators also said after the opening briefing that Rosenstein revealed he knew Comey was going to be removed before penning the Comey memo.
The latest report was published just as Mr Trump took off on a flight to the Middle East for the first leg of his first foreign tour as president. The date has not yet been scheduled, but is expected to take place next month.
- Google I/O 2017: Top 5 things Google will launch soon
- Jewish Israelis less certain of Trump's support for their state
- CNN's Chris Cuomo: Trump's Clear Intent To Influence Russian Investigation
- Iranians vote in hard-fought presidential election
- LeBron, Love help Cavs rout Celtics 117-104 in Game 1
- Destiny 2 Zavala Story Trailer Released, Watch Here
- Google's New Initiative is to Optimize Android for Low-End Devices
- Still running Windows XP? Here's what to do about WannaCrypt ransomware
- Obamacare a Win-Win for Poorer Adults
- Military solution to DPRK nuclear issue would be "tragic": United States defense chief