The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
Mueller was appointed after President Donald Trump took heat for firing former FBI Director James Comey last week. After reports emerged that Trump asked Comey to shut down an FBI investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, public rage over the allegations has grown daily.
President George W. Bush named Mueller as FBI director in 2001, and Mueller served for 12 years into the first two years of President Barack Obama's presidency. The special counsel appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will oversee any links and/or coordination between Trump's campaign personnel and the Russian government.
Trump also faced immense controversy for revealing classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the oval office last week. He called the allegation unfair and criticized the special counsel on social media Thursday:
California Democratic and Republican lawmakers cheered the appointment.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, called Mueller "widely respected and highly competent," and said that the FBI investigation needs a separate public process removed from partisan politics. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, emphasized the importance for Mueller to have "complete independence and proper resources to carry out (the) investigation," in a statement Wednesday.
"There's no person better for this job than Bob Mueller," said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "He's independent. He's incredibly smart. And he's well-respected on both sides of the aisle."
Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, having called for an independent investigation numerous times, considered the investigation a public duty and said partisan politics should be set aside to protect democracy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said Trump is trying to silence the investigation.
"This is the right decision at the right time, and the right man was chosen for the job," Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, said in a statement. "Robert Mueller is a highly respected former FBI director who has tremendous integrity, and I'm confident he will lead a credible investigation."
Even though he didn't make any statement regarding Mueller's appointment, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, "strongly" supported Trump's decision to fire Comey in a press release last Thursday. McClintock previously agreed appointing an independent prosecutor for the Trump-Russia investigation as well as Democratic scandals in a statement:
"I strongly support President Trump’s decision to fire James Comey for gross misconduct during his tenure. ...I think an independent prosecutor would be advisable to place the inquiry above reproach."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, welcomed Mueller's appointment, saying now is the "time to get to the bottom of this."
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, defended the appointment in a statement saying:
"Robert Mueller is the right man to lead this investigation. He’s a strong, independent leader who built an impeccable reputation over decades in law enforcement. And as special counsel, I’m confident he’ll pursue the facts — wherever they may lead.”