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Justice Department appoints special counsel to oversee Russia investigation

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The Justice Department on Wednesday named a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, CNN reports.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Wednesday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will head the Justice Department’s investigation. Rosenstein took over the department’s Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself following intense scrutiny over his ties to the Trump campaign.

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In a letter obtained by CNN, the Justice Department authorized Mueller “to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.”

“In my capacity as acting attorney general, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Rosenstein said in a statement.

“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” he added.

CNN’s Carol Costello reports that the White House received less than one hour notice that a special counsel had been appointed.

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According to NBC News, former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort are key figures in the investigation. The FBI is examining contacts, money transfers and business relationships between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

Last week, Rosenstein said there was no need for a special prosecutor in the Russia probe. In the days since, reports emerged that Trump asked fired FBI director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn, his former national security adviser. Those reports intensified calls for a special counsel in the investigation.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump officials abruptly call off Midwest agriculture tour amid rising tensions with farmers

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President Donald Trump's officials were abruptly told to end their agricultural tour in the Midwest this week as tensions among farmers continue to rise.

Bloomberg News reported Trump administration officials were visiting farmers in the Midwest when they received a credible threat that prompted them to end their tour. The Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour was taking a look at soybeans and corn with Department of Agriculture staff when they were forced to pull out of the area.

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Trump promoting himself as the ‘second coming of God’ is another sign of his lack of basic mental capacity: Yale psychiatrist

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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump retweeted an anti-Semitic super-fan who compared Trump to the "second coming of God." That was after he made comments Tuesday suggesting that Jews who vote for Democrats are traitorous to Israel. The comments come after a long summer of Trump accusing members of the Squad of being anti-Semitic and suggesting that the Clintons are responsible for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein's death in jail.

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and violence expert at Yale School of Medicine, about the president's fitness for office. Lee helped launch a public health approach to global violence prevention as a consultant to the World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies since 2002. She authored the textbook, “Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures,” which shows how the dangerous psychology of individuals is connected to dangerous societies and cultures, including their politics and economics. She and several coauthors of the public-service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” prepared a mental health analysis of the president using information in the Mueller report (dangerouscase.org).

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Trump has now humiliated his own ambassador to Denmark twice in just one day

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President Donald Trump's statements about the Danish government over the past 24 hours have made things awkward for Carla Sands, the former soap opera actress and chiropractor whom the president appointed to be America's ambassador to Denmark.

On Tuesday, Sands sent out a tweet that hyped up the president's scheduled visit to Denmark -- only to have the president announce on Twitter that he was canceling the event just hours later because the country's prime minister would not entertain his pitch to sell Greenland to the United States.

Denmark is ready for the POTUS @realDonaldTrump visit! Partner, ally, friend 🇺🇸🇩🇰 pic.twitter.com/6VEtR1mbay

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