Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation, and it couldn't have come at a better time. With the uproar over President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, there has been a large number of Democrats — and a few Republicans — calling for a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The idea is that Mueller's investigation should be independent, and it likely will be. Mueller's political party doesn't seem to matter to Democrats or Republicans because he has a history of non-partisanship.
If Mueller is registered today as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, it is not clear. The last time this was known was in 2001. As he was considered for FBI director by the Bush administration, the Washington Post reported that he was a registered Republican. In the same report, though, it was noted that he is considered by most to be "apolitical," and that he had a history of pushing Democrats for temporary openings, even under a Republican president. "It had never occurred to him that Democrats and the new Republican administration might not mesh," the report from July 2001 reads.
That could be why Democrats and Republicans have resoundingly supported his appointment as the special prosecutor. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead."
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
He was joined by Republican leadership, too. Despite previously withholding his support for a special counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan also came out praising Mueller.
"My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead," Ryan said in a statement. "That is what we’ve been doing here in the House. The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice."
The only person that may not be excited about the appointment is President Trump, who has issued some conflicting statements on the matter. On Wednesday night, Trump said, "A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity." He added that he looked "forward to this matter concluding quickly."
With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
By Thursday morning, that mature perspective was out the window. "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel [sic] appointed!" Trump tweeted without providing any evidence. "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" he added.
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
Interestingly, he did not focus on Mueller himself. Even the president must recognize the respect the former director receives from both sides of the aisle.
This is all good news for the American people. With Mueller's reputation for non-partisanship and honesty, the Russia investigation can finally see itself through. No matter the outcome, voters need to trust the investigation itself. Mueller makes that possible.