A number of lawmakers exited the meeting stressing that Mueller's probe, while appropriately diving in to all possible Trump-Russia ties, may make it more hard for current congressional investigations to access vital intelligence. "I look forward to this matter concluding quickly".
The then-FBI director was "determined" not to do so, said Wittes. "I stand by it", Rosenstein said in his two separate briefings on Comey's firing, one to the Senate yesterday and the other to the House today.
He said both Republicans and Democrats both applauded when he responded to a question about the ability of Mueller to decide the contours of the investigation.
At first, the White House said Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of the Justice Department, and because of Comey's handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton past year.
Separately, McClatchy News Service reported Wednesday that before Trump took office, Flynn had blocked an Obama administration military plan, opposed by Turkey, against the Islamic State group. The Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians during the 2016 race.
Michael Allen, a former senior director on the National Security Council in the George W. Bush White House, said that transcripts of meetings with foreign leaders usually "are treated like the crown jewels".
Democratic lawmakers have claimed ever since Comey's firing that Rosenstein's memo was used as a mere pretext to can the director.
Trump said he was about to name a replacement for Comey, another effort to settle the waters. Mr Mueller will take over the FBI investigation.
Rosenstein said he learned on May 8 that Trump was going to fire Comey and the president "sought my advice and input".
"I am hopeful that he will clarify for the American people recent events that have been broadly reported in the media", said Senator Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, chairman of the committee.
Just over an hour after the news of Mr Mueller's appointment emerged, President Trump predicted the new investigation would clear him and his team.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, left, calls on a reporter as national security adviser H.R. McMaster listens at right during a briefing at the White House Tuesday.
He said he respected the special counsel appointment but also said it "hurts our country terribly".
Prior to his appointment, Mueller had worked at Wilmer Hale, a law firm with clients that include former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Now the Russian Federation story enters a new, more serious phase. Robert Mueller has a sterling reputation in Washington, DC.
"You can never get guidance from the executive branch about how Congress is to do something because there's inherently always going to be tension", said Darrell Issa, R-Calif. He understands pressure-cooker politics and knows how to navigate the corridors of power.
"A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know - there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity", he declared.
Trump is clearly hoping to change the negative news flow when he heads off this weekend for a nine-day foreign trip where he will meet with dozens of Muslim heads of state, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians, Pope Francis, and leaders of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries and the Group of Seven industrialized nations.