Two massive stories breaking tonight, first, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Trump's ties to Russia.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia.
The move followed rising demands for an independent probe of alleged Russian efforts to sway the outcome of November's presidential election in favor of Trump and against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Pressure has been building on Trump over the Russia issue since his firing last week of FBI chief James Comey, who had been leading a federal probe into the matter.
U.S. intelligence agencies said earlier this year that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.
"My decision (to appoint a special counsel) is not the finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.
"I determined that a special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome," he said.
This would be a massive story in its own right, but it gets even worse for the Republicans this evening as somebody in the GOP leaked a recording from June of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling other House leaders that he believed Putin was paying Trump off.
A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.
Before the conversation, McCarthy and Ryan had emerged from separate talks at the U.S. Capitol with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions.
News had just broken the day before in The Washington Post that Russian government hackers had penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee, prompting McCarthy to shift the conversation from Russian meddling in Europe to events closer to home.
Swore them to secrecy...and one of them not only had recorded the conversation but gave it to the Washington Post. And remember, this happened the day after the Russian hack of the DNC story broke.
More as it comes.