INTERNATIONAL: Who is Robert Mueller?

Who is Robert Mueller?
from files of Jeff Horwitz, Associated Press

  • former FBI director prior to James Comey’s
  • Appointed special counsel appointed in Russia probe by Deputy Att. Gen. Rod Rosenstein.
  • FBI Director Sept. 4, 2001 to Sept. 4, 2013. [Given 2 yr. extension to 10 yr. term by Obama]
  • seen as a non-political, dogged investigator, respected on both national parties. Votes for his extension and initial confirmation were Senate 100-0, and House 98-0.

Since leaving the FBI

  • conducted an inquiry into the NFL’s handling of former running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée.
  • asked to conduct a security review after a contractor was arrested for allegedly stealing national security secrets.
    “He is not one of the best, Robert Mueller, he is the best I ever saw. Leadership, judgment, decision-making,” he added. “There is nobody better at doggedly pursuing a target without being subjected to any pressures from Congress, the President, the media, anybody in the FBI, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general. There is nobody better.” Philip Mudd, CNN political commentator
  • Directed bureau through a time of tremendous change in a post-9/11 world
  • decorated service as in the Marine Corps in Vietnam
  • graduated from Virginia Law School
  • 12 years in the US attorney’s offices
  • assistant US attorney in Boston
  • assistant to the attorney general in 1989
  • saw the creation of the agency’s first cyber-dedicated unit
  • served as the US attorney in San Francisco
  • married and has two daughters

What will Robert Mueller do as special counsel?
– carry on the investigation that former FBI director James Comey told Congress about before he was fired by President Donald Trump
–  includes investigation of any links between Trump campaign and Russia, as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

The powers of the special counsel
– authority to initiate investigations, subpoena records and bring criminal charges.
One difference, however: he chooses whether to inform the Justice Department what they’re up to.
– before taking “significant” actions, he must notify the attorney general.

The possibility of investigating things beyond simply the Russia connection?
Mueller has the power to determine the course of an investigation, but it is qualified; if he decides that something outside the scope of the letter appointing him needs investigating, he would have to ask for permission to expand his probe.

What’s the difference between a special counsel and a special prosecutor or an independent counsel?
Independent counsels or special prosecutors don’t exist anymore. These are titles that were established by law following Watergate, and they expired in 1999. The Justice Department created regulations to keep the concept alive in the form of the special counsel. Patrick Fitzgerald, the former U.S. attorney appointed to investigate the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, was one.

His staff and his budget
– The Justice Department assigns staff for a special counsel – but Mueller can request specific people, or request the hiring of staff from outside the Justice Department
– his staff report to no one other than Mueller.
– he will propose a budget to the Justice Department within the next 60 days – and update it annually. There is no expiration date for Mueller’s authority.

Could Trump fire Mueller?
No
, only Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, could because Sessions recused himself from the Trump Russia investigation. Rosenstein – who signed the letter appointing Mueller as “acting attorney general” – is the only person with the authority to curtail Mueller’s work. Such a firing would require a finding of incapacity, misconduct or “good cause.” Whatever the reason, Rosenstein would have to inform Mueller in writing.

Will the results of the investigation become public?
Not necessarily. When a special counsel closes shop, he or she must give the attorney general a confidential report explaining the decision to bring charges or drop the matter. The attorney general would have to notify Congress of the conclusion but can decide whether to make the special counsel’s report public.

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