Robert Mueller

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

In what has ignited another firestorm of debate in polarized Washington, a longtime friend of President Trump said Monday night that Trump is "weighing" whether to dismiss Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel investigating possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he believed he was fired by President Trump over the growing Russia investigation and that other arguments by the White House were "lies, plain and simple."

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Next we're going to hear from California Democrat Eric Swalwell. He serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and also the House judiciary committee. Welcome to the program.

ERIC SWALWELL: Thanks for having me back.

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Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the growing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to associates of President Trump.

"In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.