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Former FBI Director Mueller to lead Trump-Russia probe

18 May 2017

As special counsel, Mueller will have all the same powers as a USA attorney, though he will still ultimately report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

President Donald Trump lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election, tweeting Thursday that it is "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

The move followed a week in which the White House was thrown into uproar after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

In his new role as special counsel, Mueller will have wide latitude to take the investigation wherever he thinks it should go and can use the full range of Justice Department investigative tools, said Jack Sharman, an attorney who served as special counsel during a probe into the Whitewater real-estate investments of President Bill Clinton in 1995.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday requesting that it turn over all documents and recordings that detail communications between Comey and Trump.

Mueller may be able to obtain a waiver from the Justice Department's ethics officers or recuse himself from investigating certain individuals, leaving those inquiries to a deputy.

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The White House vigorously denied it all.

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

The White House has grown suspicious about the volume and timing of the seemingly never-ending stream of leaks about the president, said one senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to reflect on the feeling inside the West Wing. That language suggests Mueller could also explore whether the firing of Comey - who publicly revealed the investigation's existence to Congress in March - and a conversation Comey has said he had with the president weeks earlier represented efforts to obstruct or derail the FBI's work. While working for Mueller, the staff will report to no one else.

"It's all the pressures of life in the White House with this weight hanging over you that could bring untold trauma at any point", she said.

In the wake of his firing, there have been media reports that Trump had asked Comey in February to end an FBI investigation into the president's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Another partner, Reginald Brown, is representing Paul Manafort.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russian Federation and Donald Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

No, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions's deputy, Rod Rosenstein, could.

In Georgia's hotly-contested 6th District race, Republican Karen Handel on Thursday applauded the Justice Department's decision. He can maintain the same investigators in place, or request new or additional staff including from outside the department.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller under a statute used in 1999, when John C. Danforth was appointed to investigate allegations of government wrongdoing in the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Bharara went on become a U.S. attorney, and was sacked by Trump.

A similar appointment came in 2003 when the Bush Justice Department turned to Patrick Fitzgerald, then the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer.

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