Russian Federation probe: Trump cries victim of 'greatest witch hunt' in American history

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday appointed a special counsel to lead the FBI's Russian Federation investigation - one day after The Times reported that Trump had pressured James Comey, the FBI director whom Trump fired on May 9, to drop the bureau's probe into Flynn.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) says that former FBI Director James Comey could break his silence as soon as next week following his firing by President Trump.

Rosenstein's memo, which said Comey improperly spoke publicly about an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, was initially cited as the reason President Donald Trump fired Comey last week.

Rosenstein met with all US senators in one of the most protected rooms on Capitol Hill, "the SCIF", or a sensitive compartmented information facility. When Trump spotted Comey anyway, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director extended his hand so that they would only have a handshake, but the president pulled him in for a hug anyway.

Mr. Trump's position on the matter stands in direct contrast with the posture of nearly all lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, who have received Mr. Mueller's appointment favourably. Mr. Comey - who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and was wearing a dark blue suit that day - told Mr. Wittes that he tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room, in the hopes that Mr. Trump would not spot him and call him out.

With Trump only eight percent of the way through its term, his advisers spend their days swapping rumours of mass White House firings.

It later emerged that Comey had made notes of his meetings with Trump, who reportedly asked him to quash an investigation into Flynn's contacts with foreign governments.

The appointment of Mueller as special counsel will raise the intensity of the investigation and make it less vulnerable to political interference. "This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration".

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and who exactly made the decision. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed - as recently as Thursday - to the "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein. But he added, "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it". Rosenstein denounced that as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

Trump, at a combative and complaining press conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment. "And I think this shows a very divided country".

Normally, a special counsel like Mueller would answer to the Attorney General.

Rosenstein may have been asked about his decision to open an independent investigation, as well as the circumstances surrounding the memo he wrote about Comey. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers praised Rosenstein's appointment of Mueller to oversee the investigation of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election and possibly whether the president or anyone at the White House has interfered with the inquiry.