Investigation will prove lack of links with Russian Federation

Alvin Kelly
May 18, 2017

A former FBI chief was tasked on Wednesday with leading a beefed-up investigation into whether Donald Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favor. He is entitled to a budget, can request new or additional staff and will have the same authority as high-ranking Justice Department lawyers, including the ability to prosecute any crimes he uncovers. Trump fired the man leading the investigation at the FBI, former director James Comey, last week. White House intern Monica Lewinsky's relationship with Bill Clinton was found out during an unrelated investigation of the president in 1998 by a special counsel.

After the announcement, Trump insisted anew that there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.

"A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity, " he declared.

"Based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command", Rosenstein said in a statement.

A former FBI chief was tasked Wednesday with leading a beefed-up investigation into whether Donald Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favour.

The Mueller appointment increases the pressure on Trump and his associates.

Mueller left Wilmer Hale this week but faces a Justice Department ethics requirement that could bar him for a year from investigating anyone represented by his former firm. Asked if he trusted Comey or Trump, Amash replied: "I think it's pretty clear I have confidence in Director Comey".

Then-FBI director Robert Mueller speaks during an interview at FBI headquarters in Washington on August 21, 2013. The FBI's counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the U.S. intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude. He also served former President Barack Obama's administration for a long time.

George Terwilliger III, who has known Mueller since both were assistant US attorneys three decades ago, said that "if a special counsel had to be appointed, I think Bob is a terrific choice".

Republicans largely stood behind Trump in the first months of his presidency as FBI and congressional investigations into Russia's election meddling intensified. That appointment was made by Comey, then the deputy attorney general.

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Mr Trump has repeatedly slammed the FBI and congressional investigations as a "hoax" and blamed disgruntled officials at intelligence agencies for leaking information related to the probes.

In a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Tuesday, the Republican chairman of a House oversight committee, Jason Chaffetz, set a May 24 deadline for the FBI to produce all relevant material relating to any communications between Comey and Trump. "Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted".

Unimpressed, Rep. Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on a key House oversight panel, said, "Speaker Ryan has shown he has zero, zero, zero appetite for any investigation of Donald Trump".

The White House disputed Comey's account of the February conversation concerning Flynn, but did not offer specifics.

Some past independent investigations have stretched for years. Those pledges had helped fuel a record-setting post-election rally on Wall Street.

-Top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide any Comey memos and asked the White House to turn over any audio recordings that might exist of conversations with the now-fired director. Several members of Congress said that if Trump did suggest that Comey "let this go" regarding Flynn's Russian contacts, it was probably just a joke, light banter.

The White House counsel was notified after the special counsel order was signed and soon before it was publicly announced. Comey said he called his chief of staff to get his people to the hospital, and that his second call was to the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

The Comey memo caused alarm on Capitol Hill and raised questions about whether Trump attempted to interfere with a federal investigation, something that might constitute obstruction of justice and could potentially be invoked in an attempt to impeach Trump.

When the Bush administration tried to proceed with the extension, Comey, Mueller and other Justice Department officials threatened to resign - forcing Bush to change the program.

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