The US Justice Department has appointed former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert S Mueller as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.
The decision was announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J Rosenstein on Wednesday, reported The New York Times.
"I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination," Rosenstein said in a statement.
While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Rosenstein — and by extension, the President — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney.
Following the development Mueller is expected to announce his resignation from the law firm WilmerHale.
The announcement comes as President Trump is beleaguered with a series of revelations that he asked sacked FBI director James Comey to close the agency's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn for his Russia links.
The revelation came days after Trump Fired Comey.
The White House has however, denied any such reports.