In his first substantive comments about the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, President Donald Trump denied that his campaign had been involved in any collusion with Moscow, as he declared that the probe "divides the country". "And hopefully, this can go quickly, because we have to show unity if we're going to do great things with respect to the rest of the world".
Sen. Marco Rubio commented on President Trump's statement that the situation is a "witch hunt" as well saying, "He's entitled to his opinion but 'we are a nation of laws'".
Until Wednesday, Rosenstein was the most senior Department of Justice official overseeing the investigation, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an active Trump supporter during the 2016 election, recused himself on all matters relating to Russian Federation and the campaign.
The comments came during a lunch with television network anchors at the White House Thursday as he was asked about the selection of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry.
Many who had been asking for an independent voice in the matter applauded the move and Trump himself reportedly had a measured reaction at first.
The same pattern was in evidence when he fired FBI Director James Comey last week then used a television interview to suggest he acted out of frustration with the FBI's Russian Federation probe - even though his team spent several days saying the ousting of the bureau's director had nothing to do with that issue.
Trump's push back contrasted sharply with the near universal welcome in Washington for Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director picked for the special counsel post Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Donald Trump decries Russian Federation probe as greatest witch hunt in U.S. history
Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, called the appointment a "good decision". The White House will likely face some tough questions on Wednesday during their daily press briefing with Sean Spicer.
"I think it shows division and it shows that we're not together as a country", continued Trump. Mr Trump wrote, ignoring impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders.
Asked about the potential that there had been obstruction of justice, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the special counsel will "follow the facts where ever they may lead" and that "it is premature to prejudge anything at this point".
Mueller will have almost unfettered access to witnesses and information, and the ability to bring criminal charges.
Jones agreed with Banks's take on the investigation into Russian meddling in the USA election and possible ties to the Trump administration.
Democratic senators had been prepared to press Mr Rosenstein to take the step of appointing a special prosecutor, but were left praising him instead before his closed-door briefing began. Several of them, along with some Republicans, said on Wednesday that the news of a special counsel probe should not slow down Congress' work - and Republican leaders pledged that it would not. "I hope that we don't inadvertently trip up or damage the independent investigation of the special counsel", he said.
The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said he is supportive of investigations in Congress but expressed concern about the "proliferation" of hearings.