Former FBI Director Robert Mueller will oversee the probe into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
The Justice Department is appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible involvement of President Donald Trump’s campaign in that effort.
Meeting the increasingly strident demands of Democratic lawmakers, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday to oversee the probe.
“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,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “A special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the Public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly.”
White House spokespeople have said they view the appointment of a special counsel as unnecessary.
Rosenstein did not say what facts had spurred the decision. However, it came one day after press reports emerged that former FBI Director James Comey kept notes about his interactions with Trump on the issue and that one such memo reflects a request from the president to abandon any investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who played a key role on Trump’s campaign.
Rosenstein made the high-profile move in his capacity as acting attorney general after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the matter due to his own role in the Trump campaign.
The Justice Department statement shed little light on the ongoing probe, simply referring to it as “the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and related matters.”
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