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 SchiffSchiff: Obama's delayed response to Russian interference 'a very serious mistake' Sunday shows preview: Senate healthcare debate heats up Merkley: Trump 'absolutely' tried to intimidate Comey 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 BurrSenate intel panel to hold hearing on Russian meddling in Europe Overnight Tech: Uber CEO resigns | Trump's Iowa tech trip | Dems push Sessions to block AT&T-Time Warner deal | Lawmakers warned on threat to election systems | Overnight Cybersecurity: Obama DHS chief defends Russian hack response | Trump huddles on grid security | Lawmakers warned about cyber threat to election systems MORE (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark WarnerAre Democrats trying to pin the blame for their own sins on Russia? Policymakers forget duty to protect taxpayers from financial failures Donna Brazile: Congress has duty to halt Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (D-Va.) said in a joint statement.

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.”