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Special counsel pick could boost faith in Justice Dept.

19 May 2017

"Next question", Trump told a news conference in the White House, when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey to end the probe.Comey's dismissal last week set off a series of jarring developments that culminated on Wednesday in the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.They included media reports that Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on Islamic State with Russia's foreign minister. By several senators' accounts, he contradicted Trump's statements that Rosenstein's written criticism of FBI Director James Comey had been a factor in Comey's recent firing by the president.

Trump began the day by tweeting that he is the victim of "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history", a claim ignoring impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders. But when I made that decision, I actually thought that it would be a bipartisan decision.

Trump is leaving town Friday on his first foreign trip, and aides have been hopeful the journey will be a chance for the administration to get back on track after weeks of chaos and distractions. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Trump would be making a mistake to start a rhetorical war with the new investigator.

Mueller was appointed Federal Bureau of Investigation director in 2001 and led the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.

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The special prosecutor appointment comes after a week that saw Trump give classified information to Russian officials, fire FBI Director James Comey and have stories swirl about how Trump told Comey to lay off investigating former National Security Advisor Matt Flynn.

Rosenstein said the Mueller appointment was "necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome".

One striking piece of news emerged from Rosenstein's briefing: He told senators that he had already known Comey was getting fired even as he wrote the memo that Trump cited as a significant justification for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director's dismissal.

He offered new justifications for his decision Thursday, even while referring to the Rosenstein memo as "a very, very strong recommendation".

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"That was a poor, poor performance", Trump said. "And then on top of that, after the Wednesday performance by Director Comey, you had a person come and have to readjust the record, which many people have never seen before, because there were misstatements made".

The Justice Department said Mueller has resigned from his job at a private law firm to take the job of special counsel.

On a day of fast-moving developments, the House intelligence committee announced that it, too, had asked for documents, in this case from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department. Asked about possible obstruction of justice, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the special counsel would "follow the facts where ever they may lead" and that "it is premature to prejudge anything at this point".

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This launch is the latest in a long list of weapons tests carried out by the regime of Kim Jong-un, particularly since past year . The U.S., meanwhile, has condemned North Korea's continued nuclear and missile testing.