Today’s been a pretty busy day. I might do more on this later or tomorrow, but for now, here’s dinner:
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has appointed former prosecutor and FBI director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia ties and Russian election interference.
- Politico: Justice Dept. to appoint special prosecutor for Russia probe
- TPM: Reports: DOJ Names Ex-FBI Chief Robert Mueller Special Counsel In Russia Probe
- Washington Post: Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election
- Reuters: Ex-FBI chief Mueller named special prosecutor for Trump-Russia probe
There are several ways to do an independent investigation of Trump-Russia, and appointing a special prosecutor is one of them. If you need it, Vox has an explainer for the types of investigations, as well as the powers and restrictions of each one. From the article, about special prosecutors:
This person is appointed directly by the attorney general (not an independent three-judge panel, like before) and — this is the important part — is thus directly answerable to the attorney general. This person can pursue criminal indictments in grand jury investigations, but the attorney general can fire them at any time and overrule any decisions they make when it comes to investigating or prosecuting the case.
Robert Mueller is a pretty good pick, according to my Twitter timeline.
Bob Mueller is an excellent choice for which Rod Rosenstein deserves credit: An important first step in salvaging a terrible situation.
— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) May 17, 2017
Excellent choice. As independent and fair as they come. https://t.co/ILVuF0PnTO
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 17, 2017
Having known him for years, I believe special counsel Mueller is a very good thing. He is one of the best — independent and no-nonsense. https://t.co/nMQo6aHalM
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) May 17, 2017
Robert Mueller is as James Comey as you can get without being James Comey. #special
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) May 17, 2017
Another good sign is that the White House was blindsided by the appointment.
The White House was blinded by the Special Counsel announcement — given only about a 30-minute heads up
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) May 17, 2017
And because it’s been a rough week and we’ve been good, here’s dessert:
According to the Washington Post, last year House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy asserted, possibly jokingly, that he thought Russian president Putin paid both Trump and ardent Trump and Putin supporter Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Paul Ryan quickly hushed McCarthy and swore everyone there to silence.
When asked about the exchange today, spokespeople for Ryan said it was BS… until the Washington Post revealed they had the exchange on tape. The spokesperson quickly changed tack, saying the whole thing was a joke.
Kick back and have a beer, folks. We won a point today.
Update: Looks like we get a double helping of dessert today.
Former Trump aides Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort have emerged as key figures in the FBI’s investigation into Russian campaign interference, which has just been taken over by a special counsel, four law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Officials say multiple grand jury subpoenas and records requests have been issued in connection with the two men during the past six months in the ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian attempts to influence the election, an inquiry that will now be overseen by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
I smell indictments on the way, folks.