The news that the Department of Justice has appointed a special counsel to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election came as a bombshell in Washington.
The White House was informed of the decision less than an hour before the news was publicly announced, and many in the FBI had no notice at all, sources told ABC News.
“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” President Donald Trump said in a statement. “I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
On the Hill, a number of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle praised the selection of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who also served as a U.S. attorney.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah — who earlier today invited ousted FBI Director James Comey to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on issues related to the “FBI’s independence” — lauded Mueller’s “impeccable credentials” and said he “should be widely accepted.”
Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 17, 2017
One of the first congressional Republicans to call for the appointment of a special prosecutor to address Russia’s alleged election meddling, California Rep. Darrell Issa said today, “It’s time to get to the bottom of this.”
“I’ve been pressing the DOJ to take this step for nearly 3 months because Americans deserve nothing less than the truth,” he added in a statement. “I have faith that Robert Mueller will provide the independence necessary to be sure this investigation is conducted with the trust and confidence of the American people.”
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is currently investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign said in a statement the announcement was “a good first step to get to the bottom of the many questions we have had about Russian interference in our election and possible ties to the president.”
“Bob … is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing,” Feinstein said.
Her Republican counterpart on the Judiciary Committee, chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, praised the Justice Department’s decision.
“I have a great deal of confidence Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and I respect his decision,” Grassley said. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously recused himself from the investigation, it was Rosenstein, not Sessions, who announced the special counsel. “At the end of the day, we need a public accounting of what went on to restore faith in government,” Grassley added.
The chair and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, which is also investigating…