THE BIG IDEA: The White House tried hard last night to downplay the significance of the Justice Department appointing a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between President Trump’s associates and Russian officials. Robert S. Mueller III, who spent 12 years as FBI director, will lead the probe.
In their account, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called up White House Counsel Don McGahn at 5:30 p.m. to give him a head’s up that he was going to make the announcement half an hour later. A senior administration official told reporters that Trump was “unbelievably calm and measured.” The press office then put out this statement under the president’s name: “A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.”