Senators: Rosenstein knew of Comey firing before memo

There was no word on what that record might entail, a question many were likely to raise in light of Trump's recent warning to Comey that he had "better hope" there were no tapes of a discussion they'd had.

That's why we're heartened by the U.S. Department of Justice decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations that Russian Federation and associates of Donald Trump's campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 election.

They included media reports that Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on Islamic State with Russia's foreign minister.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the appointment was consistent with his goal of ensuring that "thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead".

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill. walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017, to attend a briefing of the full Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein amid controversy over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

These meetings come as the President is seething over the Justice Department's decision to appoint a special counsel.

Trump is destroying President Trump one tweet at a time, with his loose lips and determination to run a vaudevillian presidency reminiscent of Colonel Mustard in a board game of Clue.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!"

But Thursday morning, Trump lashed out on Twitter, calling it the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

"This is a truth hunt", said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In less than two weeks, President Donald Trump has turned the most powerful position in the world into a buffet of scandals - of his own making.

Thursday's meeting wasn't the first time Trump has privately addressed TV anchors and reporters.

Trump has the option to fire the special counsel.

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"Director Comey was very unpopular with most people", Trump said Thursday at a White House news conference.

Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, named Mueller amid mounting pressure in Congress for an independent investigation beyond existing FBI and congressional probes into the Russian Federation issue.

"I think for months, well into 2018, we are going to see this administration hobbled by this investigation".

There was also concern among the senators that this new phase of the investigation would lead to a shroud of secrecy leaving them and the public in the dark.

"He appointed Mueller because he was cognizant enough to understand whether or not he thought he could be fair in the investigation was irrelevant", said Steve Silverman, a Baltimore attorney who has known Rosenstein for years.

"I think we'll have a more hard time getting information here for the intelligence committee", Republican Senator Ron Johnson said.

Mueller was appointed Wednesday by Rosenstein, who had faced criticism as the author of a memo that preceded Comey's firing.

"He also told me that Trump was perceptibly uncomfortable with this answer", wrote Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a critic of Trump.

"And he said that ever since, the President had been trying to be chummy in a fashion that Comey felt was created to absorb him into Trump's world - to make him part of the team".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein journeyed to the Capitol today to brief senators on the just-announced special counsel investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, but lawmakers said he offered little information about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

He also defended his decision to fire Comey last week, saying it was because of his poor performance and popularity. It cited two people briefed on the call. He served 12 years as Federal Bureau of Investigation director under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, taking the reins of the agency just a week before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

He's also 72, at the end of a life of stellar service to both Republican and Democratic presidents.

Days earlier, on May 10, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters "we don't think it's necessary" to appoint a special prosecutor.

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