Deputy AG to brief Senate on Mueller nod; Trump unhappy with move

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said after a closed-door Senate meeting on Thursday that the federal investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives now appears to be a criminal investigation.

Investigations already underway in the Senate Intelligence Committee and House Intelligence Committee and other panels will progress.

The White House counsel was notified after the special counsel order was signed and soon before it was publicly announced.

"What does that mean for the Congress?"

The president repeated his belief that the controversy over the interference and possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign was baseless. It also asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to give the committee any notes Comey might have made regarding discussions he had with White House or Justice Department officials about Russia's efforts to influence the election.

Friends and former colleagues say it's been tough to see him in such a hard spot, especially when they consider him upright, impartial and an unlikely political pawn.

Trump is responding to the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead a probe of allegations that Trump's campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was expected to brief the U.S. Senate Thursday on his appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election - a move decried by President Donald Trump.

"(Reporter question off camera): "Did you at any time urge former FBI Director James Comey, in any way, shape or form, to close or to back down the investigation into Michael Flynn.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Kislyak and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

Trump heard about Mueller's appointment from his White House lawyer Don McGahn about 25 minutes before it was made public, the senior White House official said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said Mueller, who served as Federal Bureau of Investigation director from 2001 to 2013 during both Republican and Democratic administrations, was the right choice for the job.

Senate Democrats demanded that Rosenstein appoint a special prosecutor, which was accomplished with Mueller's appointment.

Robert Mueller is from New York City.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the committee, and Democratic Sen.

There was confusion during the day surrounding Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser who has emerged as a central figure because of his own ties to Russian Federation, which led to his dismissal early on in the Trump administration.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee who is a co-sponsor of a bill that would create an independent commission to handle the investigation, likewise praised the decision on Wednesday evening.

"Former Director Mueller is a respected public servant of the highest integrity. Director Mueller will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department".

She added that "a special prosecutor is the first step, but it can not be the last. Should be widely accepted". "Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute", Chaffetz told Fox News.

"I am not acquainted with any of Donald Trump's close associates, therefore no such conversation could have taken place", he said in an email to Reuters.

At least one GOP lawmaker used the session to voice the view, embraced by Trump, that the entire investigation is a "witch hunt" against the president, according to two fellow Republicans who attended. He has served presidents of both political parties and, after taking the director job days before the September 11 attacks, oversaw the FBI's terrorism-fighting efforts over the next decade.

  • Zachary Reyes