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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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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