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South Florida lawmakers welcome special counsel on Russia



The Justice Department's appointment Wednesday of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election was met with praise from Florida lawmakers.

Republicans in particular have spent the past two days fielding question after question about the White House's handling not only of former FBI Director James Comey's firing, but also of classified information President Donald Trump shared with the Russians.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida:

"Bob Mueller has the experience to conduct a thorough investigation. Now, the administration must provide him the resources and independent authority he needs to follow the facts wherever they lead."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida:

"Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism. I have confidence that he will conduct a fair and thorough investigation. For the sake of the country, all parties must fully cooperate with his efforts that are focused on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This effort should in no way be allowed to impede the ability of the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct and conclude its investigation into the same subject. It is my hope that these investigations will now move expeditiously."

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami:

"This is a very positive development, it is evidence that this Administration is taking this Russia probe seriously, that this is going to be a probe that is independent," Curbelo told MSNBC. (Earlier, he had maintained to the Washington Post that a select committee appointed by Congress would be best.)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston:

“I’m encouraged by the Justice Department’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia connection, and I have a deep respect for former FBI Director Mueller. Assuming he is given true independence, this appointment will remove some of the clouds that have hung over our system of justice during this deeply troubling situation. It’s certainly overdue.

However, the investigation must include Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, the Kremlin’s possible ties to the Trump campaign, and the President’s alleged interference in the Michael Flynn investigation. This is a positive step, but more still needs to be done to ensure that we provide the whole truth to the American people.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens:

“="The appointment of Robert Mueller to investigate possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian government is a long-awaited step in the right direction. After a week of constant controversy, Americans’ faith in government may begin to be restored.

"I applaud Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for having the courage to name a special counselor, a decision that Mr. Trump has denounced as a “witch hunt.” My view is that if there is no connection between the president or his campaign and Russia, he should have nothing to worry about. But the news that the president’s team knew that General Michael Flynn was under investigation and hired him anyway, underscores the need for the Russia probe.

"Mr. Mueller is widely viewed as a man of the highest integrity who can be counted on to maintain that standard. I hope he will have all of the authority and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation, no matter where it may lead him, without any interference by the White House."

Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press file