Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment but Democrats and even many Republicans have generally welcomed it.

In Rosenstein’s meetings with lawmakers, he reiterated the scathing critique laid out in his memo concerning Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, including Comey’s July news conference announcing that the FBI would not recommend charges.

“It explicitly usurped the role of the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and the entire Department of Justice,” Rosenstein said of that public announcement. “It violated deeply engrained rules and traditions; and it guaranteed that some people would accuse the FBI of interfering in the election.”

Rosenstein said that he and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had “discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI” in one of their first meetings, and that he believed Comey had damaged the credibility of the bureau and the Justice Department through the Clinton case.

He denied media reports from last week that Comey had asked him for additional resources for his investigation before Trump fired him.

Trump, combative and complaining, fell short Thursday in trying to resolve investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Asked point-blank Thursday if he’d done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no — and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: “I think it’s totally ridiculous. Everybody thinks so.”

The appointment of the special counsel indicates other believe that’s still open to question.
“We’ll get rid of the smoke and see where the actual issues lie,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. “I do think that the special prosecutor provides a sense of calm and confidence perhaps for the American people, which is incredibly important.”

Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development “helps assure people and the Justice Department that they’re going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we’ve called for all along.”

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