Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the Russian Federation probe - a concession by the Trump administration to Democrats, who had intensified their calls for a special counsel after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.
Lavrov says media reported that Trump told him "terrorists are capable of stuffing laptops, all kinds of electronic devices, with untraceable explosive materials", information he says the administration revealed with the laptop ban.
The leaders of the House Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway and Rep. Adam Schiff, announced Thursday that they sent a formal request to the FBI seeking records of Comey's discussions with Trump. Several senators emerged afterward to say Rosenstein told them he was certain that the president was going to dismiss Comey, even before he wrote a memo critical of the director's performance.
He made the same comments to reporters at the White House alongside Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, again insisting there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
- President Trump went on Twitter Thursday morning and railed against the latest development in the federal investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. "I determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome".
Many Democrats earlier had sharply criticized Rosenstein, who was confirmed as deputy attorney general less than a month ago, for writing a memo the Trump White House initially used to justify Comey's firing.
The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and who exactly made the decision.
The special counsel is also authorized to prosecute any crimes unearthed by the investigation.More news: Comey to testify before Senate committee on Russian Federation probe
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"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" added Trump, who said in a speech on Wednesday that "no politician in history" had been treated worse or more unfairly than he has.
Trump referred to Comey's testimony at a recent Capitol Hill hearing, after which the Justice Department ended up having to amend part of his testimony regarding last year's probe of Hillary Clinton's email practices.
A lawyer for fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has informed the Senate Intelligence Committee he will not honor its subpoena for private documents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited this memo in a letter to Trump recommending he fire Comey.
His appointment raises the stakes dramatically on the long-simmering allegations that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election and had connections with members of the Trump campaign.
"As I have consistently stated, we need to let the facts dictate the course of this investigation", Katko said in a statement.
"I believe Mueller will be independent, he will be thorough and he will be fair and he's not going to be easily swayed", said Elijah Cummings of Maryland, top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
"That was a poor, poor performance", Trump said. "I applaud Deputy Attorney Rosenstein's decision".
House Speaker Paul Ryan was more muted and formal: "I welcome his role at the Department of Justice".