Former FBI director James Comey. Trump fired Comey last week. It immediately escalated the legal stakes - and the potential political damage - for a president who has tried to dismiss the matter as partisan witch hunt and a "hoax".
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. He did not provide examples or evidence of any alleged "illegal acts".
The day after Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Trump's associates and Russian officials, he appeared before the Senate on Thursday afternoon to brief senators in a closed session.
Mr Rosenstein threatened to resign from the Justice Department because of the explanation that White House officials were giving reporters about the firing, said a person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.
The President's anger contrasted with a more measured written statement released by the White House on Wednesday evening, when Mr Trump declared that a thorough investigation would find "no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity". Neither process is likely to conclude quickly, Prof.
Mueller's broad mandate gives him not only oversight of the Russian Federation probe, but also over "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation". Trump went in for a hug when Comey was reportedly trying to only give Trump a handshake.
Mueller will fill a role independent of the normal channels of authority at the country's Department of Justice. The FBI's counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the US intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude. He was so valued that President Barack Obama asked him to stay on two years longer than his 10-year term.
Prior to being named national security adviser, Mr. Flynn told Trump transition officials he was already under federal scrutiny for secretly working as a lobbyist for Turkey, the New York Times reported late Wednesday.
Mr Rosenstein did not reveal any more significant details about the Comey firing, his decision to appoint a special counsel or the ongoing Russian Federation investigation during the unusual 90-minute closed briefing with most of the 100 senators, according to interviews with several senators afterward.
Lawmakers said Rosenstein was careful in his wording, in part because of the potential scope of Mueller's probe.
And earlier in the day, during a private lunch of television anchors at the White House, Trump said he believes the decision to appoint a special counsel "hurts our country terribly" and called it "a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election".
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First reactions from Congress were mainly positive. However the White House said at midday that there would be no announcement Friday.
"The takeaway I have is that everything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation", said Sen.
"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly", he said. "You can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams". I guess that's why we won.
It was emblematic of so many other dubious White House denials since he assumed office.
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.
Trump has denied the conversation took place. The new FBI director will face confirmation hearings, which will provide a fresh opportunity to maintain attention on the Russian Federation investigation.
Calls for a special investigation mounted after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week.
McCabe had other matters on his mind, too. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov.
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his group would probably "have a hard time finding a lane now", and that when it comes to his panel's probe, Mueller's appointment "probably well shuts it down".
His advice to the president: "Stay disciplined, stay focused and deliver on the world stage". Flynn was paid more than $500,000.
At the time, the president's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, flatly said the story was entirely untrue, but refused to take any questions. Turkey has long opposed USA forces working with Kurdish forces.