Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
The former Director was appointed to "oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and related matters," ABC News reports.
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In a statement, Rosenstein said, "My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that 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."
"Special Counsel Mueller will have all 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," he added.
Rosenstein issued an official letter granting Mueller the same full powers and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions as a United States attorney.
Here's Deputy AG Rosenstein's letter appointing Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. pic.twitter.com/AyA2yxEnQN
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) May 17, 2017
Upon his appointment, Mueller will have 60 days to assemble a budget for his investigation. The budget will then need to be approved by Rosenstein.
The appointment of Mueller met with immediate praise from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), Chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. Chaffetz tweeted that Mueller is a "great selection" with "impeccable credentials" who should be "widely accepted."
Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 17, 2017
Mueller was the longest-serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover.
UPDATE 6:47 P.M.: This post was updated to reflect the full letter from Deputy AG Rosenstein.