Lindsey Graham: Trump-Russia investigation has evolved into a 'criminal investigation'

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Sen. Marco Rubio commented on President Trump's statement that the situation is a "witch hunt" as well saying, "He's entitled to his opinion but 'we are a nation of laws'". Trump did not specify what he meant by illegal acts. Rod Rosenstein, the fiercely independent deputy attorney general, made this move without the blessing of his boss, Jeff Sessions.

In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russian Federation.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Trump shot down allegations that his campaign had ties to "any foreign entity" and said that he looks forward to "this matter concluding quickly".

Rosenstein gave the impression that recently-appointed special counsel Robert Mueller was treating the investigation as a criminal matter, Graham explained. The counsel is not required to consult with or keep informed the Justice Department on the course of the probe. The FBI's counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the USA intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude. Democratic president Barack Obama extended Mueller's 10-year term by an additional two years.

Mr Comey succeeded him, having been appointed by Mr Obama.

In a statement, Rosenstein said he chose to hand off the high-profile investigation to an independent investigator, "in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome".

Mueller's appointment aims to quell the wave of criticism that Trump and his administration have faced since Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week in the middle of the FBI's intensifying investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

First reactions from Congress were mainly positive.

"As far as I'm concerned, every investigation conducted by the Department of Justice is an independent investigation", he said. "Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted".

And not a moment too soon, Democrats said.

The President's tweets appear to signal a policy of resistance to Mueller's investigation, that will now likely cast a shadow over the beleaguered White House for months if not years to come. And he's urged not only his supporters, but also the FBI, to focus more on the leaks about the investigation that have deepened questions about possible Russian Federation connections. It has calmed the rising demands from Democrats for an independent inquiry. "You can't let them get you down, you can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams".

"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", he said. "And the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face".

That claim has been denied by both Washington and Moscow, with Russian President Vladimir Putin offering on Wednesday to release the records of the meeting, while accusing the United States of developing "political schizophrenia".

In a written statement, Mr Trump insisted again that there were no nefarious ties between his presidential election campaign and Russian Federation.

Trump has denied the conversation took place.

A key issue Mueller may have to tackle is whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice, an offence that could be used in any effort in the Republican-led Congress to impeach him and remove him from office.

McCaskill, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., later added to the intrigue when they disclosed that, in a private meeting with senators, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, told them Trump was determined to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey before Rosenstein wrote a memo critical of Comey.

Mueller ultimately answers to Rosenstein (he can not be fired by Trump) but will operate outside traditional chains of command at the DOJ. "Additionally, the ongoing investigations by the both the Senate and House must continue".

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.

That being said, no one expects him to pull punches in the probe. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov.

On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters after the briefing that Rosenstein did find Comey's actions "inappropriate" with regard to the Clinton probe.

His advice to the president: "Stay disciplined, stay focused and deliver on the world stage".