United States NYT Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Is Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation

Discussion in 'The News Stand' started by The_Phalanx, May 18, 2017.

  1. The_Phalanx

    The_Phalanx Man with the Pointy Sticks Admin DiploGuard Map Maker

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    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s four-month-old presidency.

    The decision by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came after a cascade of damaging developments for Mr. Trump in recent days, including his abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the subsequent disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

    Mr. Rosenstein had been under escalating pressure from Democrats, and even some Republicans, to appoint a special counsel after he wrote a memo that the White House initially cited as the rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal.

    By appointing Mr. Mueller, a former federal prosecutor with an unblemished reputation, Mr. Rosenstein could alleviate uncertainty about the government’s ability to investigate the questions surrounding the Trump campaign and the Russians.Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement that he concluded that “it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter.

    “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Mr. Rosenstein added. “I have made no such determination.”

    In a statement, Mr. Trump said, “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.”

    Mr. Mueller’s appointment capped a day in which a sense of deepening crisis swept over Republicans in Washington. Republican congressional leaders, normally reluctant to publicly discuss White House political drama or the Russia investigation, joined calls for Mr. Comey to share more about his encounters with Mr. Trump.

    The Republican chairmen of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees and the House Oversight Committee all asked Mr. Comey to testify before their panels. They also requested that the F.B.I. turn over documentation of Mr. Comey’s interactions with his superiors in both the Obama and Trump administrations, including a memo Mr. Comey is said to have written about Mr. Trump’s request that he quash the investigation into Mr. Flynn.

    While Mr. Mueller remains answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he will have greater autonomy to run an investigation than other federal prosecutors.

    As a special counsel, Mr. Mueller can choose whether to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation. He is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” according to Mr. Rosenstein’s order naming him to the post, as well as other matters that “may arise directly from the investigation.” He is empowered to press criminal charges, and he can request additional resources subject to the review of an assistant attorney general.

    Mr. Trump was notified only after Mr. Rosenstein signed the order, when the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, walked into the Oval Office around 5:35 p.m. to tell him. Mr. Trump reacted calmly but defiantly, according to two people familiar with the situation, saying he wanted to “fight back.”

    He quickly summoned his top advisers, most of whom recommended that he adopt a conciliatory stance. But his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who had pushed Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Comey, urged the president to counterattack, according to two senior administration officials.

    After a brief discussion, however, the majority prevailed. Aides huddled over a computer just outside the Oval Office to draft the statement accepting Mr. Rosenstein’s decision and asserting the president’s innocence.

    By the end, Mr. Trump was uncharacteristically noncombative, according to people close to him.

    Mr. Rosenstein, who until recently was United States attorney in Maryland, took control of the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after acknowledging he had failed to disclose meetings he had with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey I. Kislyak, when Mr. Sessions was an adviser to the Trump campaign.

    As the announcement was being made, Mr. Rosenstein and the acting director of the F.B.I., Andrew G. McCabe, were briefing the leaders of the Senate and the House and the heads of the congressional intelligence committees. The lawmakers said nothing afterward.

    It was only the second time that the Justice Department has named a special counsel. The first was in 1999, the year the law creating the position took effect. Attorney General Janet Reno appointed John Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, to investigate the botched federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in 1993 that killed 76 people.

    Mr. Mueller’s appointment was hailed by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, who view him as one of the most credible law enforcement officials in the country.

    Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Mueller’s “record, character, and trustworthiness have been lauded for decades by Republicans and Democrats alike.”

    Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Mr. Rosenstein “has taken an important step toward restoring the credibility of the D.O.J. and F.B.I. in this most serious matter.”

    Mr. Mueller served both Democratic and Republican presidents. President Barack Obama asked him to stay two years beyond the 10-year term until he appointed Mr. Comey in 2013, the only time a modern-day F.B.I. director’s tenure has been extended.

    Mr. Mueller and Mr. Comey are close — a relationship forged while standing up to President George W. Bush’s use of executive power. Mr. Mueller backed up Mr. Comey, then the deputy attorney general, in March 2004 after he threatened to resign when the White House overruled the Justice Department finding that domestic wiretapping without a court order was unconstitutional.

    Mr. Mueller is expected to announce his resignation from the law firm WilmerHale. The firm employs lawyers for Mr. Kushner and for Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

    The appointment is certain to soothe nerves at the F.B.I., where agents have felt under siege since Mr. Comey’s firing and amid Mr. Trump’s repeated criticism of the Russia investigation.

    Mr. Mueller is known for his gruff, exacting management style — and for saving the F.B.I. after the Sept. 11 attacks, when there were calls to break it up and create a separate domestic intelligence agency. Mr. Mueller, who came to the agency just one week before the attacks, beat back those efforts and is credited with building the modern F.B.I. He led inquiries into Al Qaeda while transforming the bureau into a key part of the national security infrastructure.

    Mr. Mueller is renowned inside the Justice Department for being a senior prosecutor under the elder President George Bush, and then returning years later as a working-level prosecutor in Washington.

    “He came in as a line assistant and he was legendary. He was the first guy there every single day,” said Preston Burton, a Washington defense lawyer who served in the United States attorney’s office with Mr. Mueller. “All of a sudden he’s doing street crime? Literal street crime. He’s inexhaustible. He’s the embodiment of integrity.

    Link: Here

    Personal Comment:
    This piece of fake news states that we now have a Special Counsel to investigate the Russian connection. This is a good step forward, but this isn't a Special Prosecutor. Special Counsel still reports to Rosenstein, who has the authority to block him if he feels the Special Counsel is overstepping his boundaries. To have a fully independent investigation would require Congress to appoint a Special Prosecutor aka Independent Counsel.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  2. EagleMan

    EagleMan Administrator Admin Map Maker

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    Still it seems the White House was blindsided by this which goes to show that Rosenstein was pretty miffed by how Trump treated him during the Comey firing. Certainly the energy into the anti-Trump movement won't just get balled up into this special counsel, and if the White House is perceived as interfering with Mueller then the whole thing will just spiral out of control even further for them.
     
  3. Ordo

    Ordo Lore Judge

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    Inb4 Abdel explains to us why this is fake news
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  4. VanDenDale

    VanDenDale The Chancellor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  5. ABDeL

    ABDeL Global Moderator Global Moderator DiploGuard Our Creator

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    Ah look like my opinion's been made for me with a multitude of strawmen so there's no need for me to chime in. Cheers boys, please go ahead, no need to wait on your circle jerk for me to arrive.
     
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  6. The_Phalanx

    The_Phalanx Man with the Pointy Sticks Admin DiploGuard Map Maker

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    Other pieces I've read suggests this was Rosenstein firing back after being thrown under the bus for the Comey firing. It's not implausible -- it entirely depends on how much Rosenstein values his job. Trump could just outright replace Rosenstein with someone who'd be loyal enough to block Mueller's attempts to gain any real insight. Since a Special Counsel's job is to investigate and not to report to the public, we'd probably never hear about any attempts to contain his investigation. From what I understand, I also think Trump could simply kill the investigation outright, but I don't think he's that suicidal.
     
  7. VanDenDale

    VanDenDale The Chancellor

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    Passive-aggressive Abdel isn't even his final form.

    How strong is that "probably" though, given the media microscope on the issue and the (admittedly hilarious) degree of leaks coming out of the administration? Especially if Trump hand-picks somebody to replace Rosenstein.

    Trump's apparent mood swing makes me curious. Is he being less combative with the issue out of... Exhaustion? Prudence (lol)? Did somebody whisper in his ear? Watching this unfold is popcorn-worthy.
     
  8. The_Phalanx

    The_Phalanx Man with the Pointy Sticks Admin DiploGuard Map Maker

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    There's a couple things to think about with such a question; what kind of man is Mueller, and what's the gravity of the material that the investigation uncovers. The only thing going public will accomplish is change public opinion, which means that the magnitude of evidence has to be massive enough to sway a large portion of Republican Congressmen. Simply releasing the evidence found won't be enough to really do anything -- it takes Congress or a Special Investigator to prosecute the President. Information out in the open is largely meaningless if Congress isn't willing to act in one way or another.

    Then comes what kind of man Mueller is. Going public means he's going to get dragged through the mud. Any sort of leak will result in the media questioning his competence. Going full on public will result in its own special media hysteria -- right wing media calling him a traitor and left wing media calling for Trump's impeachment. There will have been only a handful of more divisive events in American history than such a scenario. If Mueller is a 'Damn the torpedoes' type of guy, get your popcorn ready. If not, then we'll not hear a thing for 6 months before being told the Justice Department ended its special investigation.
     
  9. ABDeL

    ABDeL Global Moderator Global Moderator DiploGuard Our Creator

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    Its stupid because I actually agree with Phal on this issue. I want the Russian manipulation meme to be investigated and to end so we can move to more important things. Whereas I assume we have two different viewpoints where Phal believes Trump colluded with Russia, the last thing Trump wants is for this to be the theme of his presidency and so continuing/expanding the investigation is a good move. I do like the part where all of Comey's tenure, including under Obama, will be investigated as it means both parties are putting their money where their mouth is.

    Also I don't appreciate people putting words in my mouth. I understand my views are already irreconcilable to some, they don't need to be made into something they're not.
     
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  10. EagleMan

    EagleMan Administrator Admin Map Maker

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    I don't think Trump himself actively colluded but he was helped into office by Russia. Some campaign associates might be guilty though.
     
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  11. Feanor

    Feanor Member Liaison Officer Global Moderator

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    It might be a convergence of interests that mistaken for a conspiracy.
     
  12. The_Phalanx

    The_Phalanx Man with the Pointy Sticks Admin DiploGuard Map Maker

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    There's a difference between bias and fake news. Fake News is Pizzagate -- zero evidence stories perpetuated by an idiotic public craving for any sort of negative media, especially media that demonizes their enemies, political or otherwise. Bias is the purposeful absence of key facts to better create a more positive narrative. The Washington Post article had bias in it, that's to be expected, but the news is as fake as Mueller being appointed to Special Counsel.

    Potentially Feanor is correct and the Russian connection is a convergence of interests that is being mistaken for a conspiracy, however, the sheer number of Trump campaign staff and administration officials that have had clandestine interactions with the Russians is far too great for me to believe its all a coincidence. Trump himself might be involved, and considering how much money Le Pen's FN received from Russia, I'm expecting something.

    Mueller's investigation's mandate is specifically about Trump's ties to Russia. He may start looking into what happened with Comey, but there's a good chance that's blocked as being unrelated, or Mueller simply ignore looking into it at all. Which means that whatever information we'll get about Comey and his interactions with Obama and Trump will only come out if he shows up to Congressional hearings, which Comey seems hesitant to do.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  13. nodle

    nodle Budtender

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    Oh no, phalanx posting more establishment news about Trump. Just exactly what we needed.

    Nothing new or expansive on a narrative, just more posturing over a topic that will carry on possibly till the end of his term.
     
  14. The_Phalanx

    The_Phalanx Man with the Pointy Sticks Admin DiploGuard Map Maker

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    Good news is that it won't be long until the end of his turn.
     
  15. Draupne

    Draupne L:TA Developer Diplulzer Map Maker

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    Gotta admit it would be kind of hilarious if Trump is served some kind of impeachment 4 months in, after all the God Emperor stuff. Then again, he has kinda been trashtalked (many reasonably so) a lot so maybe this is just a final, concentrated attempt to shut him down. Still the whole situation seems kind of up in the air still, so we shouldn't conclude anything.
    I think Tim Pool said some wise stuff about this too
     
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  16. ponasozis

    ponasozis SOVIET HATE MARINE

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    can t we just agree that putin is trolling the world here
    simple
     
  17. Complexity.

    Complexity.

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    Fixed.
     
  18. ABDeL

    ABDeL Global Moderator Global Moderator DiploGuard Our Creator

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    I actually watched the video. I like Tim Pool. I would've posted the video myself because he makes really good points that I agree with but by the Feanor transitive property of math, If Abdel defends Trump and Abdel agrees with Tim Pool, then Tim pool must be defending Trump as well.
     
  19. Ordo

    Ordo Lore Judge

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    He is too stupid to be trolling
     
  20. Complexity.

    Complexity.

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    Are you saying that if you want to become a wealthy businessman and president of the USA you have to be incredibly stupid? That's some food for thought.
     
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