Sheldon Whitehouse: Rod Rosenstein's memo could be part of criminal investigation

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United States stocks recovered ground on Thursday as upbeat economic data emboldened investors to return to the market, a day after Wall Street saw the biggest sell off in eight months on worries the political turmoil could undermine Trump initiatives such as tax cuts that investors see as favouring economic growth.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Thursday told the U.S. Senate that he was aware of President Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey before he wrote the president a memo saying he had lost confidence in the director, according to members who attended the briefing.

The Republican president decried the naming of a special counsel, by an official he himself appointed.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File).

At the same time, congressional committees are continuing their own investigations, leading to some turf warfare and sniping as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee both sought to lay claim to testimony from Comey, while the House Oversight Committee also hoped to hear from the former director.

Trump is leaving town Friday on his first foreign trip, and aides have been hopeful the journey will be a chance for the administration to get back on track after weeks of chaos and distractions.

Combative and complaining, Trump fell short Thursday in trying to resolve investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

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"I think the vulnerability is that Mueller can take this anywhere he wants for as long as he wants and no one is in control except Mueller". "It appears to me now to be considered a criminal investigation", Mr Graham told reporters after Mr Rosenstein briefed all 100 senators on the investigation.

The appointment of the special counsel indicates other believe that's still open to question. He says he should have resigned sooner for the good of the agency, however, he doesn't doubt Comey's thoroughness as an investigator.

As Siegel sees it, the stock-market rally of the past six months is because Trump's victory, along with the re-election of a GOP-controlled Congress, gives a leg up to traditional market-friendly GOP objectives such as tax reform and industry deregulation. "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said Thursday on the Senate floor.

They included Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, reports that Trump had previously pressured Comey to end a probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump discussing sensitive information on Islamic State with the Russian foreign minister.

"Everybody, even my enemies, have said there is no collusion", he maintained.

Another answer on that subject seemed both more specific and perhaps ambiguous.

"Believe me, there's no collusion".

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"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" added Mr Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who named Mueller to lead the probe, briefed USA senators on Thursday.

"We need to let this process play out", he said.

Trump cited displeasure with the FBI's Russian Federation probe as a factor in dismissing Comey.

Mr Trump referred to Mr Comey's appearance at a recent Capitol Hill hearing, after which the Justice Department ended up having to amend part of his evidence regarding last year's probe of Hillary Clinton's email practices.

"I think it's much better to have someone who served a Republican president and a Democratic president, George Bush and Barack Obama as the FBI Director, so well respected look into this", Klobuchar said.

The Justice Department announced yesterday that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller has been given sweeping power to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, including potential links between Moscow and Trump campaign associates.

Oil jumps 2 percent; more investors expect output cut extension
The Brent price rose above $50 a barrel when the news emerged on 10 May after a period of largely sub-$50 prices from 21 April. Brent crude LCOc1 was down 18 cents, or 0.3 percent, from its last close at $52.03 per barrel at 0244 GMT.

Despite initially opposing appointment of an independent counsel, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that the development "helps assure people and the Justice Department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along".

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