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Saturday August 19th, 2017 9:06AM

The Latest: Ryan urges investigators to 'follow the facts'

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election (all times EDT):

8 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he supports the appointment of a former FBI director as special counsel investigating allegations that Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign worked together to affect last year's election.

The Wisconsin Republican says in a written statement that he has wanted investigations that "follow the facts wherever they lead." He says the Justice Department's naming of Robert Mueller late Wednesday as special counsel is consistent with that goal.

Ryan declined to call for a special prosecutor in remarks to reporters earlier in the day and warned against "rushing to judgment." He also said "it is obvious" that some people want to harm Trump.

In his written statement, Ryan says the House investigation will continue.

___

7:45 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel shows the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's U.S. election "will continue."

The Justice Department late Wednesday named the former FBI director to head the probe into charges that Donald Trump's presidential campaign worked with the Russians to influence the election.

McConnell says a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the Russian effort to affect the election will also proceed.

The Kentucky Republican had said initially that investigations by the Senate intelligence panel and the FBI were sufficient.

Pressure on Republicans for stronger action has grown amid reports that Trump asked now-fired FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and gave classified information to Russian officials.

___

7:30 p.m.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller says he accepts the responsibility of being appointed as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 election.

In a short statement, Mueller says, "I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability."

His law firm, WilmerHale, says he resigned immediately upon his Wednesday appointment by the Justice Department. Spokespeople declined to comment further.

The appointment came amid a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the politically charged investigation.

It follows the revelation Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

___

7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a thorough investigation will confirm what he says is already known: that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and any foreign entity.

Trump commented late Wednesday after the Justice Department announced the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the probe into Trump-Russian connection in the 2016 election.

Trump says In a written statement that he looks forward to "this matter concluding quickly."

He also pledges to never stop fighting for the people and issues that are important to the country's future.

Trump last week fired James Comey from his post as FBI director, explaining that it was partly because of the Russia investigation.

___

6:55 p.m.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel is a "good decision" that "assures the American people that there's no undue influence" in the probe of Russian meddling in last year's election.

Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into the Russian activity and possible connections to associates of President Donald Trump, says his committee will "continue to proceed forward" and the panel's job hasn't changed.

Burr tells reporters, "I think this was a good decision."

___

6:40 p.m.

House Democrats who have been pressing for a special counsel to examine possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign are welcoming word from the Justice Department that former FBI director Robert Mueller will lead the investigation.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that Mueller is "a respected public servant of the highest integrity."

She adds that "a special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last. Director Mueller will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department."

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, calls Mueller a "solid choice," and commends Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein for putting "our country and justice system first."

___

6:20 p.m.

House Republicans have mixed reactions to the surprise announcement that the Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah said late Wednesday that Mueller is a "great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted."

But Rep. Peter King of New York is expressing concern over the wide purview special prosecutors have. King says, "I'm worried with all special counsels because there's no control over them and they can abuse their power."

In the 1990s, Democrats insisted that independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated former President Bill Clinton, overstepped his authority.

___

6 p.m.

The Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The appointment Wednesday comes amid a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the politically charged investigation.

It follows the revelation Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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