The Justice Department (DoJ) has appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as the special counsel to supervise the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election in America. Mueller oversaw the FBI during the crucial September 11, 2001 attacks aftermath.
The decision by DoJ comes in the wake of allegations that President Donald Trump asked the then FBI director James Comey in February to close an ongoing investigation against former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn was fired over charges of ethical misconduct - non-disclosure of his contact with Russian officials. The New York Times reported that it had spoken to 'sources' who have seen a memo Comey himself wrote after meeting Trump : “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,” because Flynn “is a good guy.”
Comey himself was fired last week by Trump. Many believe that the leaked memo is Comey's way of extracting revenge over his sacking.
According to the Justice Department press release, acting AG Rosenstein felt it was "in the public interest" to appoint Mueller and has made assurances that he will be allowed to operate with a "degree of independence" from the DOJ.
To ensure that the investigation is seen as credible, the White House was only informed of Rosenstein's decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russian probe once the order was signed.
Trump has welcomed the appointment of Mueller, stating that, "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. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issue that matter most to the future of our country."
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