Posts Tagged ‘Robert Mueller III’

If Trump Really Loves America, He’ll Resign

July 15, 2017

Handcuffed by Ego

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Commentary

By John Francis Carey

Donald Trump Jr. “took a meeting” with a Russian government attorney and a group working to defeat Hillary Clinton.

At least, that’s what he thought, according to his email records.

No other facts are relevant.

Republican commentator Charles Krauthammer says it may be bungled collusion but it’s still collusion.

Meanwhile, the healthcare bill is going nowhere fast, there is no tax overhaul plan, and no infrastructure spending plan has been passed and funded.

The stock market is going great but the Wall Street Journal reports that the gains in the stock market haven’t translated very much into the real economy. Manufacturing is still slow, jobs have been made but the future is unclear, retail is not doing well and optimism for the U.S. economy is slipping.

“Hopes for a prolonged period of 3% GDP growth sparked by Trump’s victory have largely vanished,” said Richard Curtin, chief economist for the University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment survey.

We are in a tough spot in North Korea — maybe on the brink of war. American troops remain involved in wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, along with the occasional bombing in Somalia or someplace else.

The nation needs the full attention of the Commander in Chief.

Trust in any White House policy with regard to Russia is now under assault. China is watching closely as Donald Trump looks more and more to them as a temporary stand-in president under siege and perhaps just hours or days from incapacitation due to lack of public support.

Xi Jinping can watch CNN, too.

Never in the history of the nation has a “resistance movement” dogged a U.S. president from within. Never have the media been so emotionally transfixed upon who said what in the White House, in Air Force One, on the trip and the rest. Never have we seen so many leaks and unnamed sources. Committees of Congress are questioning former Directors of National Security and the FBI, plus a long list of lesser notables. Doubt reigns.

Then, somewhere in the bowels of the FBI, there’s Robert Mueller III, lingering like the hangman.

It sounds like a bad movie. The perfect storm in Washington D.C.

But it’s real: offering three plus years of gridlock — or worse.

Doctor Charles Krauthammer has called Donald Trump “pathological” — and more than once.

Nobody has to have a medical degree to see, watch and judge for themselves.

Donald Trump’s treatment of Jeff Sessions is a lesson in bad behavior and maybe even ego-driven illness.

But there is a way out. There is always a way to do what is in the best interests of the people of the United States. There is always a way to do what’s right for the sake of the nation. There is always gain in uniting the nation and ending the foul stench — of just about anything.

Donald Trump will have to resign. His pride will refuse to entertain the notion, of course.

But the alternatives may sway him.

The best part of the Trump Presidency may be over. Many achievements already won can be maintained under a new Republican President. Maybe a healer can even start the process of moving us past…

If President Trump decides to stay, and fight a war of a 10,000 tweets all the way to impeachment — as his ego will tell him to do — his place in history will be destroyed.

If some sort of medical intervention comes to pass, his legacy, and maybe even his business empire, will be destroyed forever.

Plus, no matter what happens, enemies around the globe will be gloating at the prospect of the U.S. on the brink of ungoverned and ungovernable for the next year or two.

Putin’s evil master plan has already succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

As Trump stands today, to many he’s the rock star of the age that got into the White House in a kind of miracle of populism. The dream of “Making America Great Again” is a good one and could be preserved, and maybe even fulfilled in some ways, if he resigns.

If he stays, ignoring the advice of national solons who tell him he should resign “for the good of the nation,” the historians will rip him to shreds as a selfish, ego driven megalomaniac that really doesn’t or didn’t care if American ever became Great Again. He will be seen as one who only cares about schmoozing with Mrs. Macron in the Eiffel Tower and sending insulting tweets to the Mayor of London.

Now who should lay all this out for Donald Trump? Who can engineer the intervention?

My first thought is for Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, two brothers from different mothers.

But more importantly, two men who have worked in the Oval Office to serve the American people.

Two former presidents. Two men in Trump’s same unique club.  They have to make the case to their successor in the Oval Office.

But the only people Donald Trump really trusts are those in his inner circle: Donald Jr., Jared Kushner and Ivanka. They got him where he is. They will have to play a role in getting him out.

Otherwise, they will all become a part of a long, painful, ego-fueled national nightmare.

And nobody will be better for it.

In the meantime, we await Mr. Mueller.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Mr. Carey has written commentary for The Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and other newspapers.

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What Robert Mueller Learned From Enron

Robert Mueller, foreground, arriving at the Capitol for a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in June. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

It seems safe to assume that nobody read Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails with a Kremlin-connected lawyer more closely than Robert Mueller.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, will surely be looking into the now infamous meeting, including the president’s son; the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort.

As he does, will Mr. Mueller be able to build a case that goes all the way to the top?

That could depend on what lessons he learned from overseeing the task force that investigated one of the biggest fraud cases in American history: the collapse of the energy giant Enron.

In December 2001, Enron filed what was then the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history. Just weeks later, Mr. Mueller, then the F.B.I. director; Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson; and the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, Michael Chertoff, formed the Enron Task Force, an elite team of F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors assigned to investigate and prosecute crimes related to the Houston-based energy trader. Andrew Weissmann, who recently joined Mr. Mueller’s Russia team, later led the task force.

The Enron team was patient and learned from its investigative and trial mistakes. After its yearslong run, it set a high-water mark for complex, high-profile financial inquiries, successfully indicting and imprisoning almost all of the company’s top executives.

Early on, the Enron team also won a jury conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, Enron’s auditor, on an obstruction-of-justice charge. That experience could prove valuable as the Russia team investigates — among many possible routes — whether President Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey, the F.B.I. director.

Prosecuting the Enron executives went slowly. Not until 2006 did a jury find the former chief executive, Jeffrey K. Skilling, and the former chairman and chief executive, Kenneth L. Lay, guilty. (Mr. Lay died before sentencing.)

The frauds Enron was accused of were audacious. The company had hidden debt in a complex web of off-the-books companies and had faked its profits. Yet prosecutorial success was not inevitable. Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay pleaded ignorance, blaming lower-level employees and arguing they had relied on the advice of their attorneys and auditors. The government did not have damning emails or wiretap evidence from either man. Prosecutors may face a similar challenge with Mr. Trump, who tweets but reportedly does not use email.

The Enron team got off to an auspicious start, with the Department of Justice providing adequate prosecutorial resources. Mr. Mueller helped recruit talented prosecutors and investigators from around the country and then got out of their way.

He and other top Justice Department officials then gave their team political cover. Enron and its executives were particularly close to the Bush family and top Republican officials. Early on, the team interviewed White House officials about their recollections. Republican political operatives voiced displeasure, but the team persisted.

The task force conducted its investigations effectively, flipping lower-level employees to build cases against the top bad actors. The Enron team made aggressive and risky moves. For example, it shocked Houston high society by charging the wife of Andrew Fastow, the chief financial officer, with tax evasion to put pressure on him. It worked. Mr. Fastow began to cooperate with the government. (His wife pleaded guilty.) Every prosecutor knows this strategy works, but for various reasons today, few put in the painstaking work needed to penetrate the sophisticated legal defenses of highly paid executives.

As it proceeded, the task force weathered relentless attacks. First, critics charged it was moving too slowly. Later, white-collar defense lawyers accused the team of intimidating witnesses and overzealously charging executives. The legal establishment particularly criticized the prosecution of Arthur Andersen. The government won at trial in 2002, but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict three years later on a narrow issue involving jury instructions.

Despite its successes, the Enron Task Force emerged with a mixed legacy thanks to its trial losses and reversals from higher courts. Among them, the Supreme Court reversed part of the Skilling verdict.

Today, many Justice Department officials have learned the wrong lessons from the Enron experience, accepting the idea that the task force was overzealous. Even Democratic appointees like Mary Jo White, President Obama’s chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Lanny Breuer, his assistant attorney general for the criminal division, came to believe the prosecution of Andersen had been a mistake.

Drawing the wrong lessons has consequences. In subsequent years, the Justice Department did not assign prosecutors to work solely on financial crisis cases. While the Bush Justice Department had acted quickly to create the Enron Task Force, the Obama department allowed plans to create a similar task force, after the banking collapse of 2008, to die amid bureaucratic infighting.

It was no surprise, then, that the Justice Department never put any top bankers from the biggest banks in prison after the financial crisis. Forgetting what went right with the Enron prosecutions has contributed to a problem that still plagues the Justice Department: It has lost the will and ability to prosecute top corporate executives from the largest corporations.

Today Mr. Mueller’s team is operating in an even hotter kitchen than the Enron Task Force did. The president has repeatedly called the investigation “a witch hunt,” and rumors abound that he could fire Mr. Mueller any day. A Trump ally, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has grumbled conspiratorially that the former F.B.I. director was the “tip of the deep state spear” aimed at the president.

But the Enron Task Force may have given Mr. Mueller a hide thick enough to protect him from those attacks. More than that, Enron honed skills he’ll need now in the Russia investigation, which may well touch on money laundering, secrecy havens, complex accounting maneuvers, campaign finance violations — and multiple lies.

As I talked with Mr. Mueller’s former Enron Task Force colleagues in recent weeks, it became clear to me that he believes the Enron team was successful — and understands why. That means his special counsel team will probably move more slowly than people anticipate. But it might also shock people with its aggressive investigative and prosecutorial tactics. If Mr. Trump and his advisers committed crimes, Mr. Mueller will find them.

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Defiant President Trump Insists There Was “No Collusion” — As Former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

May 18, 2017

Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), speaks at the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS) on August 8, 2013 in New York City. The ICCS, which is co-hosted by Fordham University and the FBI, is held every 18 months; more than 25 countries are represented at this year's conference

  • The Justice Department has named a special to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election
  • Longtime former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead the probe
  • Democrats and others have been demanding an independent probe that would be free from possible interference
  • Inquiry to probe any links ‘between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’ 
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he will recuse himself from election investigations, after his own undisclosed meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. were revealed 
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the move 
  • He said Mueller would have ‘all appropriate resources’ 
  • News broke as Trump was interviewing candidates to be the new FBI director – who will no longer oversee the Russia probe

A defiant President Trump again proclaimed that there were no ties between his presidential campaign and Russia on the heels of a Justice Department announcement that a special counsel would take over the probe.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who served a decade and was then reappointed by President Obama, will take over the executive branch investigation.

‘As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,’ Trump said in a statement released several hours after the news broke Wednesday night.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 14:  FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a oversight hearing on Capitol Hill December 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. Mueller testified on the over 2,500 open cases the FBI Corporate and Securities is probing for fraud after they are up close to 50 percent from 2008.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a oversight hearing on Capitol Hill December 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. Mueller testified on the over 2,500 open cases the FBI Corporate and Securities is probing for fraud after they are up close to 50 percent from 2008. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Justice Department announced that Mueller would serve as special counsel, and would have ‘all appropriate resources’ to carry out the probe – during a week when Donald Trump‘s White House was battered by disclosures about his contacts with the Russians and his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The White House has spent weeks batting back efforts to install an independent outsider to lead the Russia probe, saying there are already sufficient probes. As Special Counsel, Mueller will have a wide berth to follow the investigation where he sees fit, and set his own terms for how much information he wants to reveal or withhold.

Democrats in Congress have been pushing for an independent investigation that would be free from interference from Trump administration officials, as well as a special congressional commission that might probe deeper into charges that Russia tried to sway the election through hacking and other means.

It wasn’t immediately clear how or whether Trump’s contacts with Comey and reported efforts to either steer or inquire about the FBI’s Russia probes played a role in the decision.

The White House had repeatedly an independent investigation wasn’t needed.

Wednesday night, Trump said he hoped the investigation would be speedy.

‘I look forward to this matter concluding quickly,’ he said. ‘In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.’

President George W. Bush appointed Mueller to lead the FBI in 2001. He was reappointed by President Obama 10 years later to serve an addition two years. He has a reputation among members of both parties for probity.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the move Wednesday evening, after getting grilled during his own confirmation hearings about under what circumstances he would be willing to appoint a special counsel.

‘In my capacity as acting Attorney General, 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. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that 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,’ he continued.

Rosenstein added, ‘Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations.’

He continued: ‘I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that 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. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,’ he added.

A letter appointing Mueller as special counsel charges him with investigating links 'between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump'

A letter appointing Mueller as special counsel charges him with investigating links ‘between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’

Sen. John McCain compared Trump scandals to Watergate in scope in comments Tuesday, where he also referenced Iran-Contra

Sen. John McCain compared Trump scandals to Watergate in scope in comments Tuesday, where he also referenced Iran-Contra

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak (L-R) talking during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak (L-R) talking during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House

In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington

In this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo, then-incoming FBI Director James Comey talks with outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller before Comey was officially sworn in at the Justice Department in Washington

Rosenstsein’s letter tasks Mueller with investigating links ‘between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.’

The wide scope also includes ‘any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation’ – which would appear to include any efforts Trump may have made to interfere with the FBI’s investigation of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

‘I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability,’ Mueller said in a statement.

Rosenstein didn’t inform the White House or the Attorney General of the decision until after he had signed the order, CNN reported.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was spotted at the White House about 5 pm Wednesday, about an hour before the news broke.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Sessions was doing at the White House. In response to an inquiry from DailyMail.com, a DOJ official said: The White House was informed after the order was signed as was the attorney general.

In Mueller, the department has tapped a counsel with a reputation for probity.

The soon-to-be special counsel was born outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from Princeton, New York University and the University of Virginia.

A decorated war veteran, he served as a Marine in Vietnam and came home with a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Navy commendation medals.

Mueller took over the helm of the FBI in 2001. In July, after he was nominated by then President George W. Bush, the Justice Department announced that he had prostate cancer and would undergo surgery.

That surgery was scheduled for three days after his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

His nomination passed unanimously on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001, 98-0.

Mueller didn’t fully step into the job until September 4, 2001, a week before the Sept. 11, terror attacks.

Democrats have been calling for an independent probe of Moscow’s alleged election interference since the existence of the FBI’s Russia probe was reported and then confirmed by ex FBI Director Mueller during Trump’s first 100 days in office.

The calls only increased after Trump sacked Comey last week. The president said in an NBC interview that the FBI’s Russia probe, which he has called a ‘hoax,’ was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that according to a memo written by Comey, Trump had asked Comey to back off in the FBI’s probe of ex national security advisor Mike Flynn, whose own Russia connections are under investigation.

Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have emerged as key figures in the sprawling FBI investigation, NBC News reported.

Although Republicans have provided considerable cover for Trump, there were early stirrings of more aggressive oversight on Wednesday.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks during a press conference after a classified meeting of the committee in which they reviewed documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks during a press conference after a classified meeting of the committee in which they reviewed documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who has been criticized by committee Democrats for not taking an aggressive investigative stance toward the Trump administration, wrote the FBI on Tuesday seeking copies of ‘any and all documentation the fired FBI director James Comey kept of his communications with President Donald Trump.’

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has its own investigation of alleged Russian election interference, also wants Comey to appear in closed and open session.

It asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to hand over any notes Comey has of conversations between the White House and Justice Department officials about the Russia probe.

Still another panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also seeking documents.

Panel chair Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California wrote the Justice Department and the White House on Wednesday seeking documents.

Democrats, for the most part, greeted the development positively.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who worked under President Obama, called Mueller ‘Incorruptible.’

‘As long as his charter is appropriate defined and he is properly resourced, this is a good move.’

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware sent out a bevvy of tweets praising Mueller.

‘Director Mueller helps restore confidence in the independence and integrity of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference,’ he wrote, calling the ex-FBI head a ‘strong choice.’

Some Democratic lawmakers, while praising the choice of Mueller, again pointed a finger at the Trump administration and demanded that the probe be given proper resources.

‘And now that the Justice Department has rightly turned the reins of the investigation over to an independent special prosecutor, it is critical that former Director Mueller is given the resources he needs to get to the bottom of Russia’s attack on our democracy, without any interference from the Trump administration,’ said Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota.

Republicans’ responses were more mixed.

Sen. Lamar Alexander praised Mueller’s ‘independence and integrity’ while working with both Presidents Bush and Obama.

‘Which are exactly the qualities needed to pursue the Russia investigation to its conclusion,’ Alexander said.

The Tennessee lawmaker also urged the Senate to continue its investigation and bring ex-FBI director Comey before Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said nothing to Mueller’s character, but pledged the Senate’s probe would go on, and said appointing a special prosecutor ensures the FBI’s investigation ‘will continue.’

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, ‘My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead.’

 ‘That is what we’ve been doing here in the House,’ he continued. ‘The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice.’

The House’s ‘important ongoing bipartisan investigation,’ Ryan also said, will continue.

MUELLER’S ROLE IN WASHINGTON’S MOST-TOLD STORY ABOUT JIM COMEY

During Mueller’s tenure at the top of the FBI, he was involved in one of the most memorable parts of his successor Comey’s biography.

As the story goes, Comey – whose firing last week by President Trump teed of the White House’s most recent troubles – received a call in 2004 informing him that President Bush’s White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card were heading to the intensive care unit where Comey’s boss, John Ashcroft, the attorney general, lay ill.

Gonzales and Card wanted Ashcroft to sign off on a reauthorization of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program, which the Republican president had signed off on in the aftermath of 9/11.

The Justice Department had just deemed the program illegal.

Comey, serving as the deputy attorney general, alerted Mueller and then rushed to Ashcroft’s hospital bed, barely beating Gonzales and Card, according to an account from the Washington Post.

Ashcroft, at that time, refused to sign.

The White House officials eventually stood down, when Bush relented, after both Mueller and Comey, along with Ashcroft, threatened to resign.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4516640/Justice-names-special-counsel-lead-Russia-probe.html#ixzz4hQEHIycy
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 (Wall Street Journal)

Former FBI chief Mueller to lead Trump-Russia probe

May 18, 2017

AFP and Reuters

© AFP

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-05-18

Former FBI director and prosecutor Robert Mueller, known for his independence in high-profile government investigations, is taking on a new challenge in the midst of a crisis that threatens the presidency of the United States.

Mueller, 72, was named on Wednesday by the Justice Department to probe alleged Russian efforts to sway November’s presidential election in favor of Donald Trump and to investigate whether there was any collusion between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow.

President Trump said in a statement there was no collusion between his campaign and “any foreign entity.”

Mueller is known by some as “Bobby Three Sticks” because of his full name – Robert Mueller III – a moniker that belies the formal bearing and no-nonsense style of the former Marine Corps officer who was decorated during the Vietnam War.

Democrats and Republicans alike praised his appointment and hailed his integrity and reputation.

Mueller was named to the post by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. His investigation will run in parallel to those being carried out by the FBI and the U.S. Congress.

It would be difficult to fire Mueller, and past special counsel appointments have shown that the job comes with independence and autonomy.

Chicago federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed during the George W. Bush administration in 2003 to a similar role to investigate the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer whose husband had criticized Bush administration policies.

Fitzgerald indicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. Bush granted Libby clemency from a prison sentence before he left office.

Robert Luskin, a Washington lawyer who defended Bush political adviser Karl Rove during Fitzgerald’s investigation, praised the choice of Mueller.

“I think it’s good across the board,” Luskin told Reuters. He described Mueller as “credible” and “independent” and said his appointment would be “good for the Department of Justice.”

Mueller, known for avoiding political controversy, took a stand in 2004 when he and then-deputy attorney general James Comey threatened to resign when the Bush White House sought to reauthorize a domestic wiretapping program that the Justice
Department had deemed unconstitutional.

In his new role as special counsel, Mueller will have wide latitude to take the investigation wherever he thinks it should go and can use the full range of Justice Department investigative tools, said Jack Sharman, an attorney who served as special counsel during a probe into the Whitewater real-estate investments of President Bill Clinton in 1995.

9/11 attacks

Mueller was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by George W. Bush a week before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

He was credited with transforming the FBI after Congress and an independent government commission established that the agency and the CIA had failed to share information before the attacks that could have helped thwart them.

At the FBI, Mueller put more resources into counterterrorism investigations and improving its cooperation with other federal agencies.

Mueller was chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division before becoming FBI director. Among his most famous cases was the fraud and racketeering indictment of individuals associated with a politically connected Luxembourg bank run out of London and led by bankers from Pakistan and Abu Dhabi.

He also oversaw the investigation into the Pan Am airline bombing over Scotland and the drug case against former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Mueller served 10 years as FBI chief under Bush and his Democratic successor Barack Obama, who then signed legislation to extend Mueller’s FBI term for another two years.

He was succeeded as FBI director by Comey, who was fired by Trump last week.

In the wake of his firing, there have been media reports that Trump had asked Comey in February to end an FBI investigation into the president’s former national security
adviser, Michael Flynn. The reports cited a memo said to have been written by Comey documenting Trump’s request.

There have been calls for months for a special counsel to oversee the investigation into any ties between Trump’s campaign team and Moscow.

Ethics Requirement

Most recently, Mueller had worked at a major Washington law firm, Wilmer Hale, which presents a possible wrinkle for his new assignment.

The firm represents Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who have taken on White House jobs. It also represents Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman who had ties to Russia.

Mueller left Wilmer Hale this week but faces a Justice Department ethics requirement that could bar him for a year from investigating anyone represented by his former firm.

Mueller may be able to obtain a waiver from the Justice Department’s ethics officers or recuse himself from investigating certain individuals, leaving those inquiries to a deputy.

Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration who has been a vocal critic of Trump, said Mueller has good grounds to receive such a waiver.

(REUTERS)