Russia is now a criminal matter, senators say after 'sobering' briefing

Russian Federation has denied United States intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Mr Trump's favour. Additionally, he said he got the impression from the briefing that Rosenstein believed there are criminal elements to it.

"He did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to writing his memo", Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri told reporters after leaving the all-senators meeting with Rosenstein.

Democratic lawmakers for weeks have been calling for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to head the investigation, particularly since Trump abruptly fired former FBI chief James Comey last week in the middle of the agency's probe into Russia's involvement in the U.S. elections and the Kremlin's links with the mogul's presidential campaign.

Rosenstein fielded questions in the closed session for more than an hour, but many senators left the briefing unsatisfied.

Sanders called the appointment of Mueller "a positive step", adding he was "hopeful" that Mueller would allow the investigation to continue unimpeded.

Moments before Mr Trump weighed in on Twitter, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin welcomed the special counsel investigation and said it was important to get facts in the Russian Federation probe.

The appointment won Rosenstein wide praise from Republicans and Democrats.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that when Trump and Comey met earlier in the White House, the president brought up the investigation into former Trump national security advisor Michael T. Flynn, who had resigned over his work for Turkey.

"I determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome", he said.

Basquiat painting fetches record $110.5M at New York auction
The auction followed Phillips evening sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art which concluded shortly before the Sotheby's event kicked off.

"Congress has been pretty much sidelined. It's special", Trump said.

The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he is supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.

"Robert Mueller is a widely respected law enforcement professional, and I trust that under his leadership the investigation will be conducted in an independent and expeditious manner", Corker said. On one hand, if Mueller declares Trump has an involvement, they can not accuse him of a frame-up. That's something that, perhaps inadvertently, Graham nodded to.

Democrats disagree. Virginia Sen. "Nothing really has changed".

A combination photo shows (from left) US President Donald Trump, White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

But Trump nearly immediately undermined that explanation in an interview with NBC News, saying, "Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey".

The president has repeatedly denied any collusion took place, and he did so again Thursday. "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor. "Because he is a man of great integrity and experience", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

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