Former FBI Director Robert Mueller
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III during a Senate Judiciary hearing on anti-terrorism tools and communication in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, 72, as an independent counsel to oversee the probe into potential ties between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia.

“Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. “Special counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

Who is Robert Mueller?

1. Mueller became FBI director one week before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.


Mueller is second only to J. Edgar Hoover for longest tenure as director of the FBI, after President Barack Obama asked him to stay on for two years after his tenure was over.

Mueller led the bureau under presidents George W. Bush and Obama until he was succeeded by former FBI Director James Comey. During that time, he oversaw prosecutions that included Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing case and Gambino crime-family boss John Gotti.

2. His middle name is Swan.

Mueller was born Robert Swan Mueller III in New York City and grew up outside of Philadelphia.

3. Mueller is expected to quit his day job.

Mueller works for the Boston-based law firm of WilmerHale, but he has agreed to resign, according to the Justice Department.

After he left the FBI in 2013, Mueller was a consulting professor and the Arthur and Frank Payne distinguished lecturer at Stanford University, where he focused on cybersecurity.

4. Mueller was a member of the Marine Corps.

Mueller served with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and received commendations, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, according to his FBI biography.

5. Mueller led the investigation into how the NFL handled the Ray Rice domestic-violence incident.

A video of Ray Rice was released in 2014 that showed the running back striking his then-fiancée Janay Palmer and dragging her limp body off camera. Mueller led the 2015 investigation into how the NFL handled the situation and concluded there was “no evidence” the NFL possessed the tape of Rice hitting his wife prior to its public release.

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