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Special Counsel Robert Mueller Puts Together Top Legal Team
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Robert Mueller

Summary: A legal team of 13 has been gathered so far to investigate any ties Russia had to the presidential election.

In just one month since Robert Mueller was appointed by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to oversee the Department of Justice investigation, he has made bold moves in putting together a team of experienced attorneys. As Mueller said, “I accept this responsibility and will discharge it to the best of my ability.” At least 13 lawyers have joined a legal team led by special counsel Mueller to tackle the Russia investigation, according to spokesman Peter Carr. They are already plans in the works to hire more.

  
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The high-profile team of leading investigators and experts includes a number of well-seasoned attorneys that have taken on other top cases such as Watergate and the Enron fraud scandal. Mueller brought Jeannie Rhee, Aaron Zebley and James Quarles from his old firm WilmerHale. Another attorney on the team was the leader of the Enron investigation, Andrew Weissman. Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr noted, “This is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let’s let him do his job.”

One concern regarding the team is their political leanings. Even though only five of the 13 have been identified so far, three of them – Rhee, Quarles, and Weissman – lean heavily to the Democrat side. A CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records indicate that the three have contributed a total of over $53,000 since 1988 to those in the Democratic Party. Newt Gingrich blasted the team on Good Morning America, “These are bad people. I’m dubious of the team.”

Zebley, a former FBI agent, has spent time flying the globe to hunt down terrorists in addition to his work at WilmerHale. Quarles is recognized as the assistant special prosecutor during the Watergate investigation who specialized in campaign finance research for the task force. Not only does Weissman have experience from the Enron scandal, he also served as FBI general counsel and leading adviser for the Justice Department’s fraud unit. Rhee will likely help guide the investigation through the bureaucracy by using her experience as deputy assistant attorney general. Another member of the team, Michael Dreeben, has worked for the Justice Department’s solicitor general’s office for a number of years.

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The Russia investigation will include interviews and other evidence to determine what role Russia had, if any, in last year’s election. They are also looking into whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice. Trump may have attempted to obstruct justice when he reportedly urged former FBI Director James Comey to throw out any investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The firing of Comey may also be a part of the obstruction of justice allegation.

The Washington Post first reported that Trump was being investigated for obstructing justice. A spokesman for Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s outside attorney, called the Post article irresponsible. “The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”



No matter what the team uncovers, it will be up to Mueller to decide if charges should be recommended.

How much do you think this legal team is going to cost? Tell us your prediction in the comments below.

To learn more about the Russia investigation, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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