Washington, DC – One of the ongoing probes, on Russian equations with domestic American politics and policies, got a break with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein today (May 17) announcing the appointment of former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, “to serve as Special Counsel to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.”
Announcing the decision Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said, “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.”
Noting that his decision was, “not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Rosenstein said, “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.”
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein added, “Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”
“Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,” Rosenstein concluded.
The Justice Department also disclosed that Special Counsel Mueller, “agreed to resign from his private law firm in order to avoid any conflicts of interest with firm clients or attorneys.”
The decision came as lawmakers called for the appointment of a special prosecutor for the probe, which only grew louder after President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.
Earlier during his own confirmation hearing, Rosenstein had faced questions about whether he would appoint special counsel to handle the probe as he was inheriting oversight of the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
Robert Mueller, a former officer in the United States Marine Corps and a Vietnam veteran was nominated by President George W. Bush and became the sixth Director of the FBI on September 4, 2001.
Following his military service, Mueller earned a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1973 and after different positions in private and public sectors, in 1998, Mueller was named United States Attorney in San Francisco and held that position until 2001. Mueller and his wife, Ann, have two daughters.