Trump slams probe into him as "single greatest witch hunt"

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. takes questions from reporters at the Republican National Committee Headquarters in Washington Wednesday

What is a special counsel and what powers will Mueller yield?

The president's tweets drew little reaction from fellow Republicans, who instead joined Democrats in heaping praise on Mueller, a longtime respected lawman who served under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, preceding Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Rosenstein told senators that he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his letter, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said.

Republican Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Flynn's lawyer told the committee he would not honor the panel's subpoena seeking relevant documents.Russian Federation has denied US intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor. Washington was abuzz with speculation Thursday about his role, driven by a McClatchy report that as a Trump adviser Flynn had rejected an Obama administration Syria war plan that was opposed by Turkey, whose interests Flynn later acknowledged he'd been paid to represent. That language suggests Mueller could also explore whether the firing of Comey - who publicly revealed the investigation's existence to Congress in March - and a conversation Comey has said he had with the president weeks earlier represented efforts to obstruct or derail the FBI's work. Trump aides said he never tried to squelch the Flynn investigation nor made inappropriate disclosures to the Russians.

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

Asked if he pressured Comey to halt the Flynn probe, Trump said: "No, no".

During a speech at the Coast Guard Academy commencement Wednesday, an aggrieved Trump aired his mounting frustrations, declaring that "no politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly".

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead a federal investigation into allegations that Donald Trump's campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election that put him in the White House.

Trump strongly disagreed. The appointment, he said in a briefing with news anchors, "hurts our country terribly". However the White House said at midday that there would be no announcement Friday.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel has drawn generally favorable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well.

"We still have questions and we'll be outlining those in the days ahead", Casey said.

"There was considerable frustration in the room", said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a member of the Armed Services Committee. "I think this is a disaster for President Trump".

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".

Even so, Trump insisted that the memo factored into his decision.

Durbin and other lawmakers said Rosenstein did not indicate who in the Trump administration told him to write the memo with the rationale for ousting Comey. "My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination", he said.

"I don't think that there's a necessary need at this point to add that", Sanders said.

"They are content with innuendo because I believe that is all that they have", she shares. "This decision will help instill much needed public confidence in the investigation". Rosenstein denounced that as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

If he decides that something outside the scope of the letter appointing him needs investigating, he would have to ask for permission to expand his probe.

His appointment raises the stakes dramatically on the long-simmering allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election and had connections with members of the Trump campaign. However, at a combative news conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

"My decision (to appoint a special counsel) is not the finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted".

While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have removed themselves from the probe, the Justice Department will continue to have powers over Mueller.

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