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US Justice Dept appoints Mueller to investigate Trump-Russia ties

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US Justice Dept appoints Mueller to investigate Trump-Russia ties

Days after US President Donald Trump sacked FBI director James Comey, the US Justice Department has appointed longtime FBI Director Robert Mueller, as the lead investigator into alleged Russian ties to Trump campaign.

Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and he is a widely-respected figure who headed the FBI for the decade after the September 11, 2001, attacks – to take over the FBI’s probe on Wednesday of “Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters”.

“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,” Rosenstein said in a statement.

Trump also faces accusations of seeking to stall the politically explosive probe following his shock dismissal of Comey, and faces allegations he asked the former FBI director to drop his investigation of a former aide.

Read also: White House denies report that Trump shared classified info with Russia

Recall that after sacking Comey on the recommendation of top US justice officials, Trump later described him as a “showboat” and a “grandstander”.

He said Comey who had been leading an FBI investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election was no longer able to effectively lead the law-enforcement agency.

Comey had been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his investigation into whether Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state during Barack Obama’s first term as president compromised national security.

 

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