Former FBI Director Mueller Named Special Counsel for Russia Election Probe

Deputy Attorney General Agrees Mueller Will Oversee Federal Investigation

In a move likely to have far-reaching effects on US policy, particularly as it relates to relations with Russia, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into the allegations Russia attempted to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

That special counsel will be former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who resigned a job at a private law firm to take the post. Mueller was initially appointed FBI Director by President George W. Bush in 2001, and held the position into 2013. Mueller’s successor was James Comey, who was fired last week.

The move caps months of calls for a special counsel to launch an investigation, calls heavily pushed by Democrats who argue that Trump’s election last year was the result of Russian hacking. Some are responding to the move by demanding an even bigger “independent commission” which they claimed would be even more independent.

In practice, however, independent counsels have historically had broad independence in their investigations against presidents, and have historically used that independence to take investigations beyond their initial focus, as with the prosecutors investigating Whitewater during the Clinton Administration ultimately transitioning to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Rep. Peter King (R – NY) appeared keenly aware of that possibility, expressing concern that there would be no way to “control” Mueller once he’s appointed. Since such investigations often last many years, Mueller’s presence could, and likely will, dominate much of Trump’s time in office.

The omnipresence of a special counsel related to his Russia contacts is likely to preempt any diplomatic rapprochement with Russia that Trump might consider in the future. Trump has expressed support for improved Russia ties, but has appeared to back off such a notion in recent months at any rate.

There is no specific deadline for a special counsel’s investigation, and generally speaking it ends when the counsel decides it ends. Since the Ethics in Government Act’s expiration in 1999, theoretically an attorney general could fire a special counsel, though the mechanism for doing so is wholly untested, and likely politically impractical.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was in the position to make the appointment because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already recused himself from the investigation. Rosenstein is a career Justice Department employee, not a political appointee.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • MvGuy

    OMG….. Wasn’t this guy Comes’s mentor… Better all of us read the millenniumreport.com with SPECIAL attention to the Comey Mueller relationship…
    But

  • MvGuy

    Go to themillenniumreport.com and scroll down to “How did James Brien Comey make it to America’s most wanted list#1. This is where the Comet/Mueller Nexis is explored…

  • RickR35

    The political circus has no end.

  • axel

    Mission creep may allow inclusion of pay-for-play Foundation ‘charity’ probe.

    • Yaroslave

      If a prosecuter is supposed to follow any evidence of a crime whereever it leads …… then this should quickly lead into investigating illegal leaks of classified information.

      Since this last wave of BS seems to have kicked this off, can we find out who was a) not in the Oval Office for the meeting with the Russians, and b) was illegally leaking details of an important meeting with a foreign power. Got to be a short list of who could have done that.

    • Yaroslave

      And can we include the murder of Seth Rich in this?

      For those who only read the corporate news, they might have missed that an investigator hired by the family has uncovered evidence that this late, departed DNC staffer was in touch with Wikileaks and that some 40,000 DNC emails had crossed his computer on the way to Wikileaks.

      That original leak, which started the Democrat BS about Russia, has always looked like it came from a patriotic American who was ashamed at the corruption and collusion at the top of the Democrat Party, and who paid with his life for his patriotism and ethics.

      Maybe this special prosecutor can follow at least some of the leads on the more recent entries in the Clinton Body Count.

      • MvGuy

        This is their guy I believe.. See themillenniumreport.com

    • MvGuy

      What a joke…. Both of theez A Gs Whoreses are from the Cleenton stable..

  • Burrrrrrr

    Since this has been going on since last summer, and no evidence has been publicly presented yet that backs any of this up, can we get the following deal? ……. If the probe doesn’t find anything, then the Democrats have to reimburse taxpayers for the cost? Or maybe a special tax on outfits like CNN and the NYT and WaPo who have been pushing this fake news story? This is obviously going to cost millions of dollars, and all in an investigation that has been going since last summer and which has produced absolutely nothing.

    For us mere mortals, isn’t making a false report to the police a crime? Can we make the Democrats equal under the law in this respect?

    • Adriaan de Leeuw

      to late reports today state there were un logged contacts

  • MvGuy

    WOW……This guy is so dirty… Trump commits unforced error. Curtains..??

  • nhmakingwaves

    There are about 10 different ways our elections are corrupt and unfair. Even if we believe with no evidence that the worst version of Russian meddling is true, that remains the least significant corruption we face. The notion that an “enemy of American democracy” could have played a role is absolutely true: dark money from super-rich ultra-conservatives. THAT’S where we need hearings and special prosecutors.

    • Bianca

      You are 100% right. Except the label if ultra-rich conservatives. They are nrither conservstive or liberal, not patriotic nor democratic, not reactionary nor progressive. They are people who know that money is power, and you cannot have too much of both. They have their own guiding ideology, and those that sre at the top of the money-power heap, determine the ideology. Their’s the prize, the power to do whatever they kmagine, as the lesser men on the power/usefullness leather have to enghusiastically obey, lest they be excluded from the sharing of spoils, or lucrative careers. Or even less lucrative careers — if one wants to hold a job. Example — try to be a teacher today in DC area and far into suburbia, and profess any dislike for Democrats. You would be shunned until you repent publicly.

      And the myth of ultra conservativism has become ultra ridiculous. Trump is the only conservative on todays political scheme, the rest of them are radical revolutionaries that want to remake world in their imsge, no matter the deadly consequences to the millions in the world.
      When we talk of an obvious “ultra conservative”, Adelson — how do we so consistently manage to omit thr mention of his partner, Haim Saban. The partner in the organization they both founded, but Saban happens to be funding Demicrats, and sunk who kniws how much into Hillary’s campaign. This time the travelling circus of “conservative” candidates did not work, and the fury of the losers on all sides of the phoney political spectrum are livid. Democracy actually worked. And the danger to our carefully managed dystopian illusion of rules based elections — has surfaced, as the rage of powerfull losers cannot be contained. They want to undo this election before Trump reorganizes the bureaucracy in a manner that would remove the conveyer belts of their money and power.

      They are idiots. All they have to do is wait, and in four years get back into the saddle and repair the breaches in their networks. But they feel omnipotent, and are prepairing Nuxon scenario. Only this time — there are alternative elites that will not allow this to happen. And who watched and waited decades for this opportunity to disrupt the current ideology-setters. This will not end pretty, as the arrogance of those clutching onto the leavers of might — does not grasp the changing world.

      • nhmakingwaves

        Greetings Bianca, I actually did hesitate before writing ‘conservatives’ because there certainly are some pro-democrat (but not pro-democracy!) wealthy power-brokers. I went ahead because I believe the characterization is overall true, with the likes of the Koch brothers, the balance of policy-buying dollars is overwhelmingly neocon. But maybe that’s not the main thing to focus on: getting democracy back is. Or perhaps I should say getting real democracy here for the first time.

  • Adriaan de Leeuw

    now if those women Trump grabbed come forward it will be a got ya moment!

  • unam_sanctum

    There are ill portents for this witch hunt, I am surprised Trump allowed this to take place at all. Giving Rosenstein such power is very dangerous for him. Mueller is a tool of the neocon establishment. If Trump thinks he can trust these guys, he’s wrong. Regardless, the true agenda is to demonize Russia in the eyes of the American people, get them ready to accept the eventual war for global banker hegemony and fatten the wallets of Pentagon contractors.

    • R.P. McMurphy

      Trump wasn’t given a chance to “allow” the appointment of Mueller. Rosenstein informed the White House and the recused AG Sessions of the signed order an hour before informing the boss. The boss is us citizens.

  • HW developer

    Mueller is the perfect tool, with a track record for being networked into the establishment. Doing what serves their network is how this sort understand “ethics.”

  • The Russaphobes have officially won (they unofficially won when Trump bombed Syria). I don’t believe there are any Russian connections but Trump does have more than enough real skeletons to be unearthed. He’ll do whatever he can to prove he hates the Russians as much as the witch-hunters do in order to try to throw them off his trail. The sh*tshow never ends.