Robert Mueller has worked for about nine months on the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He already has charged 19 people with wrongdoing, and won guilty pleas from the president’s former campaign vice chairman and his former national security adviser, NPR reports. The pace “is very similar to some of the best special prosecutors in modern history,” said Ken Gormley, the president of Duquesne University and the author of two books on special prosecutors. For many people, the model prosecutor was Archibald Cox, who investigated Watergate for a little more than a year before he was fired.
Cox developed evidence about obstruction of justice by President Richard Nixon. The prosecutor who replaced Cox built on that work, ultimately leading to Nixon’s resignation. The White House, President Trump and his lawyers have been pressing Mueller to move even faster. So is another familiar figure: former Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr. “The American people, I think, want to know, was there collusion,” Starr told CNN. Starr spent five years and more than $40 million investigating President Bill Clinton. Critics say Starr took too long and wandered away from his original mission. An investigation of Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, took nearly 11 years and resulted in a misdemeanor guilty plea for providing false information about payments to a former mistress. Back to Mueller, Wake Forest University Prof. Katy Harriger said measuring his success will be a challenge. “For some people, success will only be if somehow the president gets impeached,” she said. “And for other people, success is a complete exoneration.”