WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller now has more than a dozen seasoned prosecutors investigating Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election and whether anyone in the Trump campaign was involved.
Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department after the president fired FBI Director James Comey for pursuing the.
Former Trump advisertold CBS News’ Charlie Rose that the firing never should have happened.
“Mr. President, do you have any response to Steve Bannon’s interview on ’60 Minutes’?” a reporter asked President Trump on Tuesday.
Mr. Trump did not respond, even though his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said he watched parts of his former chief strategist’s interview.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that if James Comey had not been fired, we would not have a special counsel, yes,” Bannon said. He called that decision the.
“We would not have the Mueller investigation and the breadth, that clearly Mr. Mueller is going for,” Bannon said.
Mueller’s team of all-star prosecutors speaks to that. Sixteen in all, they bring experience in long-term investigations, going after organized crime, money laundering, cyber terrorism and foreign bribery. Some even speak Russian.
“This is a group of people who have a deep, deep level of experience with complex federal cases,” said Sam Buell, a former federal prosecutor. “There really isn’t anything this team is going to come across that they’re not equipped to deal with.”
Andrew Weissman headed up the fraud section at the Justice Department. In the 1990s, he worked on a case linked to the mafia and Russian organized crime that involved Felix Sater, a Trump business partner who is now a focus of Mueller’s investigation.
Andrew Goldstein moved to Washington this summer. He’s with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan where he was overseeing an investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which Mueller has taken over.
And one of the more experienced members of the team is James Quarles, a former law partner of Mueller’s who cut his legal teeth in the 1970s when he served on the Watergate special prosecution task force.
“This is a highly elite team. If there aren’t cases here at the end of the day it will be because there aren’t cases here. It won’t be because the prosecutors didn’t make them,” Buell said.
On Tuesday, Sanders repeated that the president was right to fire Comey. Mueller and his team are investigating whether that was obstruction of justice.
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