The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will serve as special counsel to oversee the DOJ’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 United States presidential election, specifically Donald Trump’s campaign.
The order came from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who has been overseeing the investigation since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March.
“I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes,” Rosenstein said. “Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that 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.”
In order to take this new appointment, Mueller is resigning from his partner role at WilmerHale, according to the DOJ.
In a statement, Mueller said: “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.”
For readers curious about Mueller’s background, here are five facts about his legal career:
1. Mueller became the sixth director of the FBI on September 4, 2001 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. He stepped down in 2013, becoming the longest-serving director of the Bureau since J. Edgar Hoover.
2. Since graduating law school, Mueller has been in and out of public service, according to the FBI. After working as a litigator in San Francisco, he served for 12 years in U.S. Attorney’s Offices, first in the Northern District of California and then in Boston, where he was an Assistant US Attorney in charge of investigating major financial fraud and public corruption. Following another stint in the private sector, he served as an assistant to U.S. Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh in 1989. In the mid-1990s, he worked in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s office before being named U.S. Attorney in San Francisco in 1998.
3. After leaving the FBI, he spent one year as a consulting professor at Stanford, giving lectures and developing research projects on cybersecurity for the university’s law school and school of international studies.
4. He joined WilmerHale in 2014 to work in the firm’s investigations and strategic counseling practices. He had previously been a partner at Hale and Dorr LLP from 1993-1995, before that firm combined with Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP, according to WilmerHale.
5. Mueller earned his JD in 1973 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was on Law Review. He went to law school after serving as an officer in the Marine Corps in the Vietnam war, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, according to the FBI. He also has a master’s degree in international relations from New York University and a bachelor’s from Princeton.