Update 7:35pm: The White House released a statement on Mueller’s appointment from President Donald Trump:
“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 issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
WASHINGTON — Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named by the Justice Department Wednesday evening as the special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he made the decision “in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.”
“Special Counsel Mueller will have 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,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
“I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability,” Mueller said in a statement.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was a surrogate for the Trump campaign while a senator, has recused himself from any investigations tied to the 2016 race.
Mueller, 72, has a stellar reputation and is highly respected. He served as FBI director for 12 years – from Sept. 4, 2001 to Sept. 4, 2013 – making him the second-longest serving head of the bureau. Congress approved then-President Barack Obama’s request for Mueller to extend his term for two years beyond the typical 10 years.
James Comey, who was terminated by President Donald Trump last week, was Mueller’s immediate successor.
After leaving the FBI, Mueller taught at Stanford University for a year and joined the Washington, D.C. law firm WilmerHale as a partner. He is expected to resign from the firm to assume his new post.
Mueller has spent much of his career in public service. Just before joining the FBI, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California for three years. He previously worked as a senior litigator in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prior to that, he worked in U.S. Attorney offices in Boston and San Francisco. He also has worked at private law firms.
Mueller received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He also has a master’s degree in international relations from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton. The decorated Marine served in the Vietnam War.
The White House has not yet responded to the announcement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said on Twitter: “A special counsel is very much needed in this situation and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has done the right thing. Former Director Mueller is exactly the kind of individual to serve as special counsel in the Russia investigation. I now have significantly greater confidence that the facts will follow the facts wherever they lead.”