Justice Department appoints special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election

Tom Hinde

Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein has appointed a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election according to CNN.com. Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to the position. The appointment is a turning point in the ongoing investigation, including potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously recused himself from any involvement in the Russian investigation due to his prominent role as a Trump campaign adviser and surrogate. Bipartisan calls for a special counsel have been growing since last week's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters," according to the Department of Justice letter obtained by CNN.

Mueller was appointed FBI Director in 2001 by President George W. Bush. He served as director until 2013.