Intel panels: House, Senate Russia probes to proceed

Intel panels: House, Senate Russia probes to proceed
© Greg Nash

The House and Senate Intelligence committees say their probes of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election will continue despite the appointment of a special counsel for the matter.

“The appointment of a special counsel is not a substitute for a vigorous investigation in Congress and the House Intelligence Committee will take steps to ensure our investigations do not conflict and ensure the success of both efforts,” Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffTHE MEMO: Trump reignites race firestorm House Democrat slams Trump's 'erratic and fiery belligerence' on North Korea Schiff: Russia probe 'moving into new phase' with grand jury MORE (D-Calif.), the panel’s ranking member, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will continue its own investigation and to the extent any deconfliction is required, we will engage with [former FBI] Director [Robert] Mueller and our expectation is that he will engage with the Committee as well,” Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate chairman hopes to wrap up Russia investigation this year Lawmakers seek to interview Trump secretary in Russia probe Senate Dem wants closer look at Russia's fake news operation on Facebook MORE (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark WarnerTrump declares 'racism is evil' after firestorm How the New South became a swing region How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing MORE (D-Va.) said in a joint statement.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday said that the Justice Department has appointed Mueller as special counsel for its Russia investigation.

Rosenstein added that Mueller, a former prosecutor who served a 12-year term helming the FBI, has accepted the role.

“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 the matter,” he said in a statement.

“My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Rosenstein added. “I have made no such determination.”

“What I have determined is that 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.”

Democrats have clamored for a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Trump said Wednesday that a federal investigation into the matter will find “no collusion” between his bid and “any foreign entity.”