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Why is Robert Mueller Investigating President Donald Trump?

First Posted: Jun 17, 2017 04:36 PM EDT
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Robert Mueller

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It all began in May, when the Justice Department granted Robert Mueller, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), special counsel duties to review Russia's activities and intentions in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Wide consensus among the U.S. intelligence community asserts that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to undermine America's electoral process. In their January evaluation, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) assessed that Russian cyber operatives aimed to discredit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The Washington Post reported this week that, in addition to the Russia probe, the special counsel is now determining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice. The expansion of the original investigation occurred after the president fired Mueller's successor at the FBI, James Comey.

The White House states that an incompetent Comey was let go because he created turmoil and spawned low morale throughout the Bureau. The presumption, however, is that Mr. Comey's dismissal was due to official inquiries he was making about Trump's inner circle, namely, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and its ties with Russia.

As special counsel, Mr. Mueller will report to the Justice Department and determine whether or not crimes were committed. Additional aspects to his job entail following up on investigative leads and issuing warrants to conduct interviews with people of interest.

The president's legal team has attempted to throw Mr. Mueller's appointment as special counsel into question; arguing that Mr. Mueller's relationship with Mr. Comey compromises the former's ability to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation.

Watch the Washington Post's update on the Mueller investigations and Vox's timeline of the three Trump scandals involving Russia below.

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