Special Counsel Appointed for Trump-Russia Investigation

James Comey’s predecessor at the FBI will look into the scandal.


And then there was a special prosecutor. Late Wednesday afternoon, the Justice Department announced that Robert Mueller, who preceded James Comey as FBI director, would be appointed special counsel to investigate ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.

“If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters,” the letter appointing Mueller says.

The decision was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The responsibility fell to him because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from matters involving the Russia scandal after it was revealed that Sessions failed to disclose his meetings with the Russian ambassador during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Mueller was appointed to the FBI by former President George W. Bush; he led the bureau from 2001 to 2013.

“He’s totally incorruptible,” Dave Gomez, a former FBI agent who served nearly 30 years in the agency, says of Mueller. “And the agents and the executives at the FBI know and trust him to finish the job.”

Mueller assumes control of an investigation already well underway. NBC News reported  Wednesday evening that there are now multiple grand jury subpoenas relating to Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign manager.

“Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” Rosenstein said in a statement, “and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

Rosenstein reportedly didn’t clear the decision with the White House in advance, only giving Trump’s staff a 30-minute warning that the announcement was forthcoming.

The White House issued a brief statement from Trump following Wednesday’s announcement. (The president’s Twitter account, so far, has been unusually silent.)

This is a developing story that has been updated.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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