The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The appointment gives Mueller, who led the FBI through the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and served under presidential administrations of both parties, sweeping powers to investigate whether Trump campaign associates colluded with the Kremlin to influence the outcome in his behalf, as well as the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered during the probe. The broad mandate, beyond any specific Trump-Russia connection, also covers “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
JUST IN: President Trump releases statement on appointment of special counsel in Russia investigation pic.twitter.com/DTDRztOSFr
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 17, 2017
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, facing scathing criticism for authoring a memo that preceded the firing last week of James Comey as FBI Director, said in a statement that Mueller’s appointment was “necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.” (Read more from “Former FBI Director Mueller Named to Lead Trump-Russia Probe” HERE)