Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

RI Delegation Applauds Selection Of Independent Counsel For Russia Probe

RI Delegation Applauds Selection Of Independent Counsel For Russia Probe

Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Christopher Murphy of CT backed up Durbin's account of the briefing.

The motivation and timing of Rosenstein's three-page memo has been scrutinized because the White House offered inconsistent explanations for it. "However, I believe that we still need an independent commission to conduct a truly independent investigation in light of the president's actions to pressure James Comey to end the FBI's examination of Michael Flynn".

And finally, on Wednesday, Rosenstein appointed a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, to lead the investigation.

Trump has denied the conversation took place.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the number-two Republican in the Senate and a member of its Intelligence committee, said after the briefing that he told Rosenstein he was anxious about the committees stepping on the FBI's toes.

The announcement of a special counsel apparently took the White House by surprise, with Mr Trump only being informed of it after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had signed the order.

Even Republicans who had said they were opposed to the creation of a new investigator signaled support of the move. Sen.

Those concerns were fuelled by the shock sacking of Mueller´s successor as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, and by allegations that Trump previously pressured Comey over the probe. We trust Mueller to find the truth.

"Well I respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt", he said, insisting there had been "no collusion" between his campaign and Russian Federation.

Senators also asked Rosenstein about the administration's decision to fire Comey.

In announcing the appointment of a special counsel, Mr Rosenstein cited the "unusual circumstances" of the ongoing FBI Russia investigation.

But Graham said that Mueller's appointment now shifts the FBI probe into a higher gear, and is likely to hamper the House and Senate intelligence committees' investigations into Russian electoral interference.

"I don't think that there's a necessary need at this point to add that", Sanders said. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham shared, "It was a counterintelligence investigation before now".

"He is widely respected in Congress, across the political spectrum", Leahy said. Some hope that Mueller's well-won reputation for integrity and independence will lead to a final conclusion that will settle the matter.

BENNETT: Well, we know from some reporting that Rosenstein wasn't happy about having to shoulder the blame for Comey's firing when the White House initially used his memo as a pretext for it. "The acting attorney general has the authority to appoint a special counsel and has done so".

"I think that opportunity has been lost, maybe for the greater good, but there are a lot of people in that room who were shocked that when a special counsel has been appointed, that Congress has limitations on what we can do". Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he is determined to press forward with public hearings.

"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to his removal", said Sen.

"I haven't seen any evidence of actual collusion".

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