On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a Special Prosecutor for the Department of Justice in the investigation of Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.
In a press release issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs, Rosenstein wrote “What I have determined is that 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.”
Mr. Mueller’s greatest prosecuting authority will be derived under U.S. Code § 515, which allows Mueller to conduct civil or criminal proceedings on behalf of the Department of Justice, including conducting grand jury proceedings.
The Department of Justice’s order directs Mr. Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”, and to investigate related matters “that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Mr. Mueller has been vested with additional jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute federal crimes related to any interference in the Special Prosecutor’s Russian investigation, including perjury, obstruction of justice, intimidation of witnesses, and the destruction of evidence.