Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Wednesday the appointment of a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Washington Post reports. Consenting to bipartisan demands for an independent investigation, the Department of Justice tapped Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to look into the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
"My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination," Rosenstein, who took over the Russia probe for the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, said in a statement. "What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command."
Calls for an independent investigation grew louder after reports of a partially transcribed, unclassified memo written by ousted FBI Director James Comey surfaced, alleging that President Donald Trump asked Comey, who was formally investigating former national security adviser Mike Flynn's communication with Russian officials, to end his probe.