It is also noteworthy in light of recent events surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey that the special counsel in the course of his probe can also investigate federal crimes such as "obstruction of justice" and "intimidation of witnesses".
Senators met with Robert Mueller, who was named special counsel in an investigation involving Russia's meddling in the election of President Donald Trump, on Thursday.
"I hope that we don't inadvertently trip up or damage the independent investigation of the special counsel", he said.
As an independent prosecutor, Mueller will have very wide authority with respect to Russian involvement in the campaign and obstruction of justice.
The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday as a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations that Russian Federation and Donald Trump's campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 presidential election, giving Mueller sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered in the probe.
The former Federal Bureau of Investigation director has a broad mandate that could encompass any questionable actions of President Donald Trump's associates and possibly even the circumstances of last week's abrupt firing of James Comey.More news: Labour reaches highest rating yet in latest General Election poll
President Trump added that there was never a special counsel appointed for illegal acts that took place during Hillary Clinton's campaign or the Obama Administration.
This week, news reports alleged that Trump had previously tried to pressure Comey into backing off inquiries into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
After announcing Comey's firing, the White House publicly released a memo from Rosenstein saying Comey was sacked in large part because of his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state.
"That's the bottom line. folks don't see the Russian Federation investigation or Bob Mueller news as directly impacting their life", MSNBC Reporter Garrett Haake said about the voters.
USA intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the election in favour of Mr Trump.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump called Comey weeks after he took office on January 20 and asked him when federal authorities were going to say Trump was not under investigation.More news: Merkley Agrees NAFTA Needs Renegotiated, But Wary Of Trump Administration
Q. What will Mueller do as special counsel?
But Rosenstein's decision prompted further outrage from Trump. Danforth ultimately produced a 150-page report clearing then-Attorney General Janet Reno and other top government officials of any responsibility.
Mueller, a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, was confirmed as FBI director days before the September 11, 2001, attacks that would ultimately shape his tenure.
Comey succeeded him, appointed by Obama.
The White House has disputed Comey's account of his February conversation with Trump concerning Flynn but has not offered specifics. During Thursday's meeting, it led at least one senator to believe the probe has now turned into a criminal investigation. This recent development even led some Republicans to ask for a special prosecutor for the first time, as seen on Wednesday morning, when IL representative Adam Kinzinger told CNN, "It is time we look at the idea of an independent commission or special prosecutor". Several congressional Republicans said Wednesday that if Trump did suggest that Comey "let this go" regarding Flynn's Russian contacts, it was probably just a joke, light banter. Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was seen as the front-runner.More news: Trump Wants Michael Flynn Back in White House
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