Trump Fired The FBI Chief. Now An FBI Veteran Is Hired To Probe The Trump Team
By Matt Ferner
One week after President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and raised fears about the future of the agency’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the Department of Justice has appointed a widely admired former FBI director to lead an independent inquiry.
The newly named special counsel, Robert Mueller, was James Comey’s predecessor as FBI director. He and Comey drew widespread attention, and admiration, in an infamous showdown during the George W. Bush administration.
In March 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft was in intensive care when White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card rushed to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to renew Bush’s domestic wiretapping operation, which the Department of Justice had just declared illegal. Comey, then deputy attorney general, learned of the ploy, and he and FBI Director Mueller raced to arrive at Ashcroft’s room first. Comey stood by as Ashcroft roused himself and refused to sign the reauthorization.
Mueller was the longest-serving head of the bureau since J. Edgar Hoover, holding the position for 12 years. The 2001 George W. Bush appointee was set to step down in 2011 but was asked to stay on by President Barack Obama, despite the position’s 10-year term. Obama asked Congress to allow the extension to lend some continuity as new leaders came aboard at the Pentagon and the CIA.
After he left the FBI, Mueller was hired by the NFL to investigate the league’s response to a surveillance video that captured Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his fiancee in an elevator in 2014. […]