The Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including questions about contact between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates.
Trump's Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced the news Wednesday.
From The New York Times:
"I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter," Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement. "My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination."
While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney.
Mr. Mueller is expected to announce his resignation from the law firm WilmerHale.
PHOTO: Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst