special counsel
October 17, 2018

In an interview Wednesday with The Wall Street Journal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is "appropriate and independent," and when everything is over, "the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources."

Rosenstein would not speculate on when the investigation might be finished, but he did note that it has already uncovered a massive effort by Russians to interfere in the election. "I have a solemn responsibility to make sure that cases like that are pursued and prosecuted, and I'm pleased the president has been supportive of that," he said. Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

Rosenstein also would not comment on reports that he suggested secretly recording President Trump, an allegation he has denied, or how that affected their relationship. "The president knows that I am prepared to do this job as long as he wants me to do this job," he said. "You serve at the pleasure of the president, and there's never been any ambiguity about that in my mind." Catherine Garcia

April 3, 2018

Last month, Special Counsel Robert Mueller told attorneys for President Trump that Trump is a subject of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but not currently a criminal target, three people familiar with the conversation told The Washington Post.

A "subject" is someone whose conduct prosecutors are investigating but they don't have sufficient evidence to bring charges against. Mueller and Trump's attorneys were negotiating the terms of a possible presidential interview when he made the announcement, and Mueller said he wants to ask Trump about whether he tried to block the investigation so he can finish this part of the probe, the Post reports. Mueller also told Trump's attorneys he is working on a report about Trump's actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice, two people with knowledge of the matter told the Post.

Trump has told people he's glad to know he's not a target, and that makes him want to testify. His top attorney for the case, John Dowd, resigned in March, and a Trump friend told the Post that Dowd repeatedly told Trump he didn't think it was a good idea for him to speak with Mueller. Legal experts say a subject could become a target based on the testimony they provide. Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been notified that in recent months, President Trump asked two witnesses about their discussions with investigators, three people familiar with the conversations told The New York Times.

Trump asked former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in December how his interview went and whether the special counsel's team had been "nice," two people told the Times; he also told an aide in January that White House Counsel Don McGahn needed to issue a statement refuting a Times article that said Trump asked McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn never released a statement, and he had to remind Trump that he had been asked to let Mueller go, the Times reports.

Both incidents went against advice from Trump's lawyers, who told him to avoid doing anything in public or private that could be construed as the president interfering with the special counsel's investigation. These conversations may have been viewed by witnesses and lawyers as potential problems, leading them to telling Mueller, but legal experts told the Times it's unlikely the discussions will be considered witness tampering. Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller would like to interview President Trump sometime within the next few weeks regarding the events surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, people familiar with his plans told The Washington Post Tuesday.

Flynn left the White House last February after it was reported that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; in December, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Comey was fired in May, and later testified that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI's investigation of Flynn. Mueller also wants to learn more about Trump's reported pressuring of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to quit, and whether this is a pattern of behavior for Trump, the Post reports. The Justice Department confirmed Tuesday that Sessions was interviewed by the special counsel's team for several hours last week.

Trump's attorneys are negotiating the terms of an interview with the special counsel's team, and they would like Trump to provide some testimony face-to-face with investigators and the rest in a written statement. Trump's informal adviser Roger Stone told the Post that Trump should do whatever it takes to get out of an interview, because it's "a death wish. Why would you walk into a perjury trap? The president would be very poorly advised to give Mueller an interview." Catherine Garcia

January 10, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has added a new investigator to his team — and it's a telling hire.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Mueller has signed on Ryan Dickey to join his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign. The Post describes Dickey as a "veteran cyber prosecutor" and notes that he "is the first publicly known member of [Mueller's] team specializing solely in cyber issues."

Dickey's background that could prove invaluable as the Russia probe tackles whether multiple cybersecurity breaches helped propel President Trump to victory in 2016. The Post notes that Dickey was involved in the successful prosecution of the Romanian hacker "Guccifer," whose unintentional discovery of Hillary Clinton's private email account dogged her throughout her presidential campaign.

The Post reports that Mueller may be exploring possible charges of "conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act," which explicitly prohibits "unauthorized access and use of computers and computer networks," if he discovers Trump's camp did conspire with the Russians to exploit unlawfully obtained information. Business Insider's Natasha Bertrand reported last month that Mueller's team was investigating whether Trump's campaign was given voter data lifted by Russia-backed hackers. Kelly O'Meara Morales

December 14, 2017

The Wall Street Journal reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that worked for President Trump's campaign, turn over the emails of all employees who were involved with the campaign.

The Journal says it was a voluntary request, as was another from the House Intelligence Committee, which the company went along with. The paper also reports Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee via video call this week as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In October, The Daily Beast reported that Nix sent an email to a third party that said he contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about how he could assist his website with releasing some of Hillary Clinton's deleted emails. Assange told The Daily Beast he was able to "confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks." Catherine Garcia

December 12, 2017

White House attorney Ty Cobb says that on Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced he's finished the interviews he requested with about two dozen current and former White House witnesses as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Attorneys have refused to say which White House officials have been interviewed, but it's been reported that White House communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer have all spoken with investigators. Mueller could still ask for additional interviews with the staffers and others who have not yet been questioned.

Cobb had said he thought the interviews would be finished by Thanksgiving and Mueller would announce the investigation was complete by the end of the year, but one attorney representing a senior Trump administration official in the probe told Politico that's a "nonsensical" timeline. "You say what you need to say to keep the sun coming up in the morning, but if you woke Ty Cobb up in the middle of the night and ask him if he thinks this is really going to be over in three weeks I think his answer is, 'Are you f—ing kidding me? Of course it won't.'" Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has requested that the Department of Justice hand over documents related to President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation of the Trump's campaign and any connections to Russian officials, a person familiar with the matter told ABC News on Sunday.

The special counsel is reportedly looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct the federal investigation, and the request for documents, delivered within the past month, is the first such request from Mueller's team to the Justice Department. Specifically, ABC News reports, Mueller has asked for communications between DOJ officials and their counterparts at the White House. Catherine Garcia

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