Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has named Robert Mueller, a former prosecutor who was FBI director from 2001 to 2013, to investigate possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials seeking to meddle in last year’s election, the Washington Post reports. The action was a concession by the Trump administration to Democratic demands for the investigation to be run independently of the Justice Department. Calls for a special counsel mounted after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
“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. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.” Mueller will resign from his law firm to avoid any conflict of interest. Rosenstein is overseeing the Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. Democrats have challenged Rosenstein’s impartiality in the Russia probe because he wrote a memorandum used as the rationale for Comey’s firing. Under the order Rosenstein signed, 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.’’ Mueller is authorized to prosecute any federal crimes he finds.