Washington: Reacting to the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign's ties with Russia, US President Donald Trump said a thorough investigation will prove that no such collusion took place.
The Justice Department appointed former FBI chief Robert Mueller as the special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Russian interference in the last year's presidential elections.
"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. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly," Trump said in a statement. "In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."
Deputy attorney general Rod J Rosenstein said, "In my capacity as acting attorney general, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter."
"My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, 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," he said in a statement.
Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, Rosenstsein said a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. "Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly," he said.
"Special counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result," he added.
House speaker Paul Ryan said his priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead. "That is what we've been doing here in the House. The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice. The important ongoing bipartisan investigation in the House will also continue," Ryan said.
Cutting across party lines, top American lawmakers welcomed Mueller's choice for the investigation. "The appointment of former FBI director and respected lawyer Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation is a positive development and will provide some certainty for the American people that the investigation will proceed fairly and free of political influence," senator Richard Burr said, and Mark Warner, chairman and ranking member of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said.
Democratic Senatr Al Frankens said that appointing Mueller is an important step that will hopefully help restore the public trust and result in a thorough and comprehensive investigation. "We owe it to the American people to find out what happened, and I'm encouraged to see that the justice department has appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election," Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera said.
The decision by the US Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor underscores the serious nature of the allegations of impropriety and abuse of power by President Trump, Congressman Joe Crowley said.
"While this is an important step forward, we still need a bipartisan, independent commission to carry out a public investigation into Russia's interference in our election. The American people deserve answers," he said.
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Updated Date: May 18, 2017 06:51:18 IST