Special counsel appointed in Russia investigation
Huffington Post Breaking News: DOJ Appoints Special Counsel To Investigate Russia Ties.
The decision is not a “finding that crimes have been committed,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stressed.
WASHINGTON ― Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special prosecutor overseeing the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.
In a statement, Rosenstein stressed that his decision “is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.” But he said he’d determined “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.”
In an order dated May 17, Rosenstein wrote Mueller, as special counsel, will conduct an investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” along with “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Under law, Mueller will have all the authorities of a U.S. attorney to conduct his investigation. He will also be able to choose members of his team and request a budget from the Justice Department.
If he chooses, Mueller could keep the FBI agents currently working on the Russia investigation. It’s not clear where Mueller will be working from, but the Justice Department said Mueller would be stepping down from his job at the law firm WilmerHale.
Rosenstein said it was necessary to appoint Mueller so the American people will have “full confidence” in the outcome of the investigation.
“Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that the government officials administer the law fairly,” Rosenstein said. “Special Counsel Mueller will have all the 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.”
Democrats had pushed hard for a special counsel appointment after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last week.
On Tuesday evening, a bombshell New York Times report said Trump had asked Comey, who had been leading the probe into Russia’s possible influence in the election, to end the FBI’s investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. In February, Flynn was forced to resign from his post, after it was revealed he had discussed sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador to the U.S. prior to Trump’s inauguration.
The previous evening, The Washington Post published reports that Trump had disclosed “highly classified information” during a meeting with Russian officials, sparking swift criticism from both sides of the aisle.