Robert Mueller appointed Special Counsel, Justice Department

May 18, 2017: Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert S.Mueller III was appointed yesterday, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, as a Special Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate alleged coordination between members of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials seeking to meddle in the election. The appointment was made by Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Mueller, a former Prosecutor, was the FBI Director from 2001 to 2013. “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,’’ Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that 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.’’ He said Mueller has agreed to resign from his private law firm to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Under the order signed on Wednesday, May 17, by Rosenstein, Mueller is tasked with investigating “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’’ as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation’’ and any other matters that fall under the scope of the Justice Department regulation covering Special Counsel appointments. “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 order states.

Officials said the appointment was being made under a Justice Department statute that has only been used once, in 1999, though the Justice Department has made other Special Counsel appointments more recently under different authority.

Mueller, 72, received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. After he received his law degree, he then worked as a litigator in San Francisco until 1976. After that, he worked for twelve years at U.S. Attorney offices. He also worked at at the Boston law firm of Hill and Barlow. In 1989, Mueller worked as an Assistant to then-Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Mueller led the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Mueller was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California from from 1998 to 2001.

Attribution: The Washington Post, Wikipedia

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