18/05/2017 08:42 BST | Updated 18/05/2017 11:27 BST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Appointed To Lead Investigation Into Donald Trump/Russia Links

Mueller will have the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.

The Justice Department has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead a federal investigation into allegations that Donald Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election that put him in the White House.

Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers.

The surprise announcement to hand the probe over to Mueller, a lawman with deep bipartisan respect, was a striking shift for Trump’s Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly loud calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor, reports the Associated Press.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Robert Mueller when he left the FBI as Director in 2013.

In a written statement, Trump insisted anew there were no nefarious ties between his campaign and Russia.