As the scandal over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election continues to unfold, the Department of Justice has announced the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as Special Prosecutor for the case. Mueller served under President George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
This announcement comes from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who assumed leadership of the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russian meddling upon the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions removed himself from the investigation following the revelation that he was one of a number of Trump associates to meet with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kisylak. Sessions was asked if he’d met with this Ambassador during his confirmation hearings, but he did not initially disclose these meetings.
His defense for why he lied is that he met with Kisylak in his capacity as a then-Senator, and not in his capacity as an associate of Donald Trump. Of course, among other curious and seemingly incriminating details, Sessions is in a class by himself on account of his meetings with Kisylak. Senators don’t routinely hold meetings with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
This issue is only one of many related to Russia’s apparently successful efforts to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, some of which don’t even necessarily involve the Trump team.
Russia has been documented to have waged a propaganda war against Hillary Clinton throughout 2015 and 2016; one of the questions that remains is how much of the possibly incidental connection of the Trump team to Russia overlays actual cooperation in that propaganda war.
Rosenstein’s statement on the appointment of Mueller to the position of Special Prosecutor for the Russia investigation, as reported on by HuffPost, indicates that there “is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.”
Even that statement doesn’t really cover the whole issue, though, seeing as Trump associate Michael Flynn may very well have committed a felony in failing to disclose his financial connections to Russia when assuming the position of National Security Adviser, which he has now vacated. Flynn was forced out of that job after it was revealed that he’d lied about meeting with the same Kisylak that Sessions had lied about meeting with; the undisclosed financial information came out later.
Although the Trump Administration has long clamored against the idea of a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation, Rosenstein cited the prevailing public desire for one in a portion of his statement published by POLITICO.
‘Based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command… Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the Public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly.’
Of course, while Rosenstein is over here speaking to the importance of upholding the rule of law, President Trump is carrying out a campaign that has included him simply firing FBI Director James Comey on account of Comey’s insistence that the Russia investigation continue to its natural conclusion.
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