Bowing to public and Congressional pressure, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller on Wednesday to be a special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, Justice Department officials said.
Mueller will take command of the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the far reaching Russia investigation, which spans multiple FBI field offices on both coasts.
Mueller led the FBI for 12 years under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is second only to J. Edgar Hoover for longest tenure for an FBI chief.
The FBI, with the help of the Treasury Department, the CIA and other agencies, has been examining evidence of possible contacts, money transfers and business relationships between a variety of President Trump's associates and Russian officials, sources say.
The investigation goes well beyond a possible American connection, to include how Russian intelligence services carried out the campaign of fake news and leaking hacked emails that intelligence officials say was meant to hurt Hillary Clinton and benefit Trump.
But the question of whether Trump associates colluded with Russia is consuming public interest. No evidence has surfaced publicly linking Trump himself to the Russian interference effort.