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The US Department of Justice named a former FBI head as special counsel to lead an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Donald Trump's team.  

The US president stands accused of seeking to stall the politically explosive probe following his shock dismissal of FBI chief James Comey, and faces allegations he asked Comey to drop his investigation of a former aide.  

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Robert Mueller - a widely-respected figure who
headed the FBI for the decade after the September 11, 2001, attacks - to take over the FBI's probe on Wednesday of "Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters".  

"Based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command," Rosenstein said in a statement.



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