Turns out bipartisanship is possible in DC after all: Former FBI chief Robert Mueller was named as the Justice Department's special counsel Wednesday evening to oversee the investigation of alleged Russian election meddling, and the choice was praised by lawmakers from both parties. The 72-year-old, who was James Comey's predecessor in the FBI post, served under both Democratic and Republican presidents in a tenure that lasted from 2001 to 2013, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover. A roundup of coverage:
- Former colleagues have nothing but praise for Mueller, who's credited with building the modern FBI, reports the New York Times. After overseeing the Justice Department's criminal division under George HW Bush, he worked as a prosecutor in DC, where "he was legendary," says lawyer Preston Burton. "He's inexhaustible. He's the embodiment of integrity."
- Mueller was appointed by George W. Bush and became FBI director just a week before the 9/11 attacks. In an unusual move, President Obama decided to keep Mueller on as director for an extra two years after his 10-year term finished in 2011, saying he "set the gold standard for leading the bureau," Politico reports in a look at Mueller's background.
- The AP reports on the sweeping powers Mueller will have as special counsel. Mueller, who will the power to prosecute any crimes he uncovers, has a mandate to look into "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation" of the Trump campaign's alleged Russia links, which could include Comey's firing.
- Congressional leaders voiced their approval of Mueller while also stressing that their own investigations of the Russia issue would continue, the Washington Post reports. "Having someone like Bob Mueller head the investigation assures the American people that there's no undue influence, be it here or be it at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or within the Justice Department or FBI," said Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- The Hill reports that numerous lawmakers issued statements in support of Mueller Wednesday night. Mueller "is exactly the right kind of individual for this job," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, while Republican Sen. Susan Collins said he "has sterling credentials and is above reproach."
- The Guardian looks at what it calls a defining moment of Mueller's FBI directorship: March 10, 2004, when he threatened to quit if George W. Bush's administration proceeded with a domestic surveillance program that had been deemed illegal. He had the support of Comey, who was then serving as deputy attorney general.
- The Chicago Tribune editorial board predicts that after the appointment of Mueller, Trump just might be able to turn things around, leaving "10 days in May" as the darkest time of his presidency. But whatever the trajectory of the investigations, "Trump had better stay out of the way," they write. "That's elemental advice we shouldn't have to provide to a president."
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