Trump has consistently rejected any suggestion of collusion between his camp and Moscow as "fake news" and complained in a speech on Wednesday that he had been treated "more unfairly" than any United States leader in history during his fledgling presidency. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.
Michael Flynn, who was sacked as national security advisor, reportedly told Trump's transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation into whether he secretly worked as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign.
Despite initially opposing the appointment of an independent counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the development "helps assure people and the justice department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along".
Burr, chairman of the Senate panel, said of Flynn and his refusal to comply, "We'll figure out on Gen. Flynn what the next step, if any, is".
"Americans are just getting really exhausted of this". It immediately escalated the legal stakes - and the potential political damage - for a president who has tried to dismiss the matter as partisan witch hunt and a "hoax". "I have made no such determination", Rosenstein continued.
The appointment of the special counsel indicates other believe that's still open to question.
"A special prosecutor is the first step, but it can not be the last. Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor.
A written memo showing the US President tried to influence an investigation into ties between his campaign team and Russian Federation, is likely to surface.
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"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", Trump said in a statement.
But he expressed more resentment Thursday in his tweets.
Mr Trump posited that the naming of a special counsel "also happens to be a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won". He gave no examples.
Pressure to place the Russia probe in independent hands intensified this week following reports that Trump pressured Comey to reel back the Russia investigation as it pertained to Michael Flynn, the national security advisor who was sacked over concerns about his Russian contacts.
Mueller is a former federal prosecutor with an unblemished reputation and has worked with Comey.
Comey succeeded him, appointed by Obama. Asked about Trump's tweets, she said the president should "get some thick skin".
Republicans have largely stood behind Trump in the first months of his presidency as the FBI and congressional investigations into Russia's election meddling intensified. Comey was sacked on May 9.
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