Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development "helps assure people and the Justice Department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along".
Staffers described President Donald Trump as "measured" when he found out former FBI Director Robert Muelller had been appointed as a special counsel to look into possible Trump campaign ties with Russian Federation.
Asked whether it was the "right move" or a "witch hunt" for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to have named a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election and possible Trump campaign collusion, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he can only speak for himself. He tweeted: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped the former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief saying, "I determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome". "I faced great pressure because of Russian Federation".
Following Rosenstein's testimony, a number of Senators came out to take about what happened in the closed-door meeting.
Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous".
"It was a counter-intelligence investigation before now. It seems to me now to be a criminal investigation", said Senator Graham.
A key issue Mueller may have to tackle is whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice, an offence that could be used in any effort in Congress to impeach him and remove him from office.
Congress will continue to carry out their own investigations. "I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things". Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he is determined to press forward with public hearings. They're asking him to come back to Capitol Hill to testify.
Did he urge Comey at a February meeting to drop his probe of the Russian Federation connections of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn?
Mueller is the man Rosenstein tapped Wednesday to head the U.S. Justice Department's investigation into whether anyone on Trump's campaign colluded with Russian operatives who sought to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
In March, for example, the White House disclosed that Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.
Some congressional Republicans have also suggested that Mueller's appointment would lead to changes in Congress' investigation.
Wyden said he would "go to the mat" to be sure congressional investigators get what they need.