The Department of Justice announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will be a special counsel overseeing an investigation into ties between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign.
The announcement comes after it was revealed that recently fired FBI Director James Comey kept notes of a meeting that say Trump asked the director to terminate the investigation into Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, despite claims by the White House that the appointment of a special counsel was unnecessary. Rosenstein released a statement explaining his decision to request a special counsel.
“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. 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.”
Mueller will have full power to look into the ways Russia may have influenced the 2016 election. The investigation is expected to take several months and will be conducted apart from congressional hearings.
Mueller has the authority to convene grand juries and to seek indictments as he sees necessary. He has special access to all the information the FBI and the Department of Justice have gathered this far.