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Ex-FBI Director Mueller to lead Trump-Russia investigation

19 Mai 2017

The president's latest tweet storm follows the Justice Department's announcement that it had appointed a special prosecutor, former FBI Director William Mueller, who is generally respected by both political parties, to investigate whether Trump aides were involved in what the United States intelligence community has identified as an attempt by Russian Federation to sway the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favour. But that changed on Wednesday evening when Rosenstein announced that he had appointed another former FBI director, Robert Mueller, to conduct an independent investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 campaign.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said Rosenstein told senators that he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his letter accusing him of missteps as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, including his handling of an election-year probe into Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Repeating his assertion that Comey "was very unpopular with most people", Trump said he was dismissed over inaccurate testimony delivered before Congress as well as his faulty decision making during the presidential campaign.

"The political reason on the Democratic side is obvious: It's to namely keep this issue going and to keep it ideally going into the 2018 elections and, even more, into the presidential elections of 2020", he said.

Some have also invited Comey to testify.

Numerous senators leaving the hearing were reluctant to speak about what had been said. Sen. But some details did emerge. He also told network anchors at the White House on Thursday that appointing a special counsel "hurts the country".

The appointment of a special counsel comes after weeks of revelations surrounding Trump and his associates involving multiple contacts with Russian officials and their proxies, and an alleged attempt by Trump himself to influence former FBI Director Comey to drop the FBI's active investigation into these ties.

"(Rosenstein) did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo", McCaskill said.

The session itself underscored the historic nature of what is taking place. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who was taken ill while running Wednesday, was absent.

Adding to the drama, Comey apparently kept exacting notes and memos describing his private meetings with Trump, evidence that could prove crucial if Mueller's investigation determines there was an effort by the White House - or Trump himself - to obstruct Comey's Russian Federation investigation.

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For many of these lawmakers, the potential for a conservative primary opponent is greater than any threat from a Democrat. Risch insisted the "real story" is leaks coming out of the administration.

Rosenstein was due to brief USA senators later on Thursday.

Chances that such a commission, or a special committee, will be created have dimmed enormously thanks to the Mueller appointment. Graham, for one, predicted it would slow those probes.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn and Queens) said Mueller's appointment was an important step in the right direction. "Mr. Mueller will tell us what we can get and what we can't".

"Public access to what happened is going to be very limited now because of special counsel", said Sen.

His argument: Congressional interviews and hearings could inadvertently harm or complicate the criminal investigation.

"There needs to be a relationship with that investigation where they can say with confidence, 'This really is a problem for us, ' or 'Hey, we'd rather you didn't do it, but it's not a problem, ' " Blunt said.

On Thursday, after a briefing with Rosenstein on Capitol Hill, Sen.

"Sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for, because when you get it, all of a sudden you can't get answers to things because now it's an active investigation", he said.

Johnson said his biggest concern was that the special counsel's probe would be "never ending".

"We don't want to do anything to get in the way", said Texas Republican John Cornyn, who serves as majority whip. "When I made that decision I actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such bad thing about Director Comey".

Ex-FBI Director Mueller to lead Trump-Russia investigation