FACT CHECK: Trump claims unearned exoneration on Russia

FACT CHECK: Trump claims unearned exoneration on Russia

In closed-door meetings with lawmakers on Thursday and Friday, Rosenstein said he wrote the memo after Trump told him one day before the May 9 firing that he wanted to dismiss Comey.

"Rod was very cautions about answering any of those questions because he said it is possible for the very creation of that Rosenstein memo to be a part of [newly named special prosecutor Robert Mueller's] investigation".

Rosenstein was originally invited by the two Senate leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democrat Chuck Schumer of NY, to explain Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

US 1st Dist. Rep. Rod Blum, reacted to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 election by defending Republican President Donald Trump and criticizing Democrats, the "mainstream media", and even his own party, for their role in hindering Trump's agenda.

The House Intelligence Committee requested more documents from the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation related to its Russia probe and announced that former CIA Director John Brennan would testify in public before the panel on Tuesday to answer questions about Russian involvement in the election.

"He did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo", McCaskill said.

The new headlines were a fresh indication that Trump would not be able to change the subject from what appears to be an intensifying investigation reaching toward the president and his inner circle.

He also said he thought that Comey's firing would be bipartisan.

Special counsels are appointed to avoid potential conflicts of interest in Justice Department investigations. The meeting itself was in a special constructed room beneath the Capitol created to prevent electronic eavesdropping.

The appointment won Rosenstein wide praise from Republicans and Democrats.

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The meeting, at which all senators were free to ask questions and make statements, had been expected to be contentious as anger flared over Comey's dismissal and Rosenstein's possible role in it.

Despite the appointment, at least three congressional committees are continuing their investigations, leading to some turf warfare and sniping as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both sought to lay claim to testimony from Comey, while the House Oversight Committee also hoped to hear from the former director.

Congressional investigators "will have to be very leery of crossing into Mr. Mueller's lane", he said. While working for Mueller, the staff will report to no one else.

"There should be no concern with that", said Sen. It follows weeks of questions about the Justice Department's independence from the White House and comes two months after Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself because of his own undisclosed Russian contacts during the campaign.

"How can you subpoena somebody to come to Congress when they're under criminal investigation?"

Justice Department officials said Mr Mueller would likely conduct his investigation nearly entirely independent of Congress.

Q. What are a special counsel's powers?

Q. What's the difference between a special counsel and a special prosecutor or an independent counsel?

"I want to see the Senate Intelligence Committee get to their conclusion, issue a report so we can start addressing the challenges facing this nation", he said. "It's going to take all hands on deck to get to the bottom of this".

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly that Sen Thom Tillis of North Carolina did not attend.

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