18/05/2017 8:04 AM AEST | Updated 18/05/2017 8:04 AM AEST

DOJ Appoints Special Counsel To Investigate Russia Ties

Aaron Bernstein / Reuters
Rod Rosenstein announced Wednesday that a former FBI director will now serve as a special counsel overseeing an investigation into alleged ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration.

WASHINGTON ― Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement, Rosenstein stressed that his decision "is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted." But he said he'd determined "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."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March from Russia matters after he failed to disclose during his confirmation hearing he had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.