Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed an order Wednesday appointing former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to oversee the ongoing investigation into whether or not Trump associates and Russian officials coordinated last year to interfere in the U.S. Presidential Election.
From The Root:
Robert Mueller is a former prosecutor who also served as FBI director from 2001 until 2013. Rosenstein said Mueller has agreed to serve in the role, and his appointment represents the Trump administration conceding to Democratic demands for the investigation to be run independent of the Justice Department.
The calls for a special counsel to be appointed have increased in the wake of Trump firing FBI Director James Comey last week.
To be fair, people have been saying that there should be a special counsel from the beginning, but look at the way Rosenstein pretends it was his idea all along:
“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.’’
Mueller is resigning from his private law firm to avoid a conflict of interest. At least someone in this operation has ethics.
Rosenstein has been overseeing the Russia probe since Sessions recused himself, but his impartiality has also been questioned by Democrats because he authored the memo used as rationale for Comey’s firing. Trump later claimed that decided to fire Comey before Rosenstein’s recommendation.
The order Rosenstein signed Wednesday tasks Mueller 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, the Post reports.
I’m especially into this last little quote from the order:
“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.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, released the following statement in response to Mueller’s appointment:
“Given the events of the past few months and the past few days in particular, the appointment of Director Mueller as special counsel is certainly appropriate. The Deputy Attorney General’s decision reflects the seriousness of the allegations against President Trump and his associates—and the degree to which the public had lost confidence in the political leadership of the Trump Administration on this matter.
“But let me be clear: the appointment of special counsel does not relieve Congress of its responsibility to conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.
“I am disappointed that Congress has taken precious few meaningful actions to investigate President Trump’s decision to fire Director Comey, the President’s admission that he did so because he did not like the Russia investigation, and reports that Trump tried to waive Director Comey off of the investigation altogether. I continue to stand with my colleagues on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in urging our chairmen to look into these matters without delay.”
I’m not going to hold my breath about this special counsel being able to do anything. If proof of obstruction of justice is not enough to get this president out of office, I don’t know what will.