The White House seemed way too wary of a special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia.
Now, it seems the president has good reason to be nervous since the man appointed for the job is Robert S. Mueller III, an FBI veteran who is respected by both Republicans and Democrats.
In what appeared to be an abrupt decision, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein chose Mueller to investigate alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections last year as well as “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
Mueller is believed to be perfect for the task since “he is utterly incorruptible,” according to former assistant attorney general for national security David Kris, who worked closely with Mueller. “He cannot be intimidated.”
“This is an absolutely brilliant choice,” commented CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin of the special counsel. “There is no more respected figure in American law-enforcement than Bob Mueller.”
Mueller headed the FBI for 12 years, making his tenure second in length only to J. Edgar Hoover. He assumed leadership of the bureau just weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. However, despite the challenges at the time, he managed to transform the FBI from a domestic law-enforcement agency to a counterintelligence force to be reckoned with.
The extraordinary work led former President Barack Obama to ask Mueller to stay two years beyond his 10-year term.
One of the most important — and dramatic — episodes that proved Mueller’s mettle as the FBI chief was when he and then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey faced off against a couple of Bush administration officials over a domestic surveillance program.
In March 2004, as then-Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft was recovering from a gallbladder surgery in intensive care, Mueller and Comey learned White House Counsel Albert Gonzales and President George W. Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew Card, were on their way to the hospital to convince him to reauthorize a domestic surveillance program the DOJ had just deemed illegal.
With “sirens blaring,” Mueller and Comey raced to the hospital and got there before Gonzalez and Card, as a result of which Ashcroft refused to sign the documents they brought with them.
Thomas J. Pickard, who served as deputy director of the FBI under Mueller, told The Washington Post, that the FBI veteran “doesn’t sway under political pressure,” which is why it is being suggested that Trump’s embattled presidency could become even more precarious, given the numerous scandals involving him and some of his aides and Russia.
No wonder Democrats and Republicans alike are lauding Mueller’s appointment.
Robert Mueller’s appointment is a positive step. I am hopeful that he will help us get to the bottom of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 17, 2017
Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 17, 2017
Having known him for years, I believe special counsel Mueller is a very good thing. He is one of the best -- independent and no-nonsense. https://t.co/nMQo6aHalM— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 17, 2017