As new revelations continue to mountregarding the
Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, it will be up to
special prosecutorRobert Muellerto investigate
them all — with help from a highly experienced legal team.
Only 13 of the lawyers have been publicly identified,
according to theWashington Post— but those
who have been named make it clear Mueller is recruiting the top
legal minds for this massive undertaking.
Here are the prosecutors who have been confirmed as part of
Mueller’s special investigation team.
Andrew Weissmannserved as the
FBI’s general counsel during Mueller’s tenure as head of the FBI.
He’s led the FBI’s fraud division since 2015 and directed the
Enron Task Force from 2002 to 2005.
Weissmann previously tried 25 cases involving members of
the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino crime families while working in
the U.S. attorney’s office in the eastern district of New York,
Ahmad is an assistant U.S. attorney with the Eastern
District of New York who specializes in counterterrorism cases.
According to a May profile in theNew Yorker, the lawyer has
prosecuted 13 terrorism cases for the U.S. government since 2009
— and has won every time.
Dreeben is a deputy solicitor general with the Justice
Department who has argued more than 100 cases before theSupreme Court. ThePostdescribed Dreeben as the
Justice Department’s “go-to lawyer oncriminal
justicecases” with an “encyclopedic knowledge”
when it comes to criminal law.
More importantly, Michael Dreeben is careful, meticulous, non-partisan, and fair-minded. His loyalty is to the Constitution alone. https://t.co/9a7jwHVH1K
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) June 9, 2017
“Michael is the most brilliant and most knowledgeable
federal criminal lawyer in America — period,” law professor and
former acting solicitor general Walter Dellinger told thePost.
This isn’t Quarles’ first time investigating a presidential
administration, as the lawyer — who most recently worked with
Mueller at private law firm WilmerHale — previously served as an
assistant special prosecutor during the Watergate investigation,
where hespecializedin campaign finance
“There is nothing comparable to the kind of pressure and
obligation that this kind of job puts on your shoulders,” Richard
Ben-Veniste, a fellow Watergate special prosecutor, toldCNN. “Having been there before
gives him the confidence to know how to do it and how to do it
Rhee also comes to the investigation fromWilmerHale, where she was a
partner and specialized in advising clients who are the subject
of government investigations. She previously served in the U.S.
government as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of
Legal Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice for two years
during the Obama administration.
During her time at WilmerHale, Rhee represented the Clinton
Foundation during a racketeering lawsuit in 2015, according
Zebley previously served as Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI,
before later going on to work with him once again at
WilmerHale. Zebley also served in
the FBI’s counterterrorism division and as a senior counselor in
the National Security Division at the Department of Justice, as
well as an assistant U.S. attorney in the National Security and
Terrorism Unit in Alexandria, Virginia.
The prosecutor reportedly has an expertise in
cybersecurity. Upon his hiring at WilmerHale, the law firm’s
co-managing partner Robert Novick said Zebley “will add to our
internal investigations, crisis management and cybersecurity
He has also represented Clinton aide Justin Cooper.
Additional Mueller hires
Also joining Mueller’s investigation from the FBI is Lisa
Page, who worked in the organization’s Office of the General
Counsel after serving as a trial attorney for the FBI’s organized
crime and gang section.
In addition to Page, the team includes Elizabeth Prelogar
from the Office of the Solicitor General; Aaron Zelinsky, who
arrives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of
Maryland; and Andrew D. Goldstein, who headed the public
corruption unit in the Southern District of New York under former
U.S. attorneyPreet Bharara, whom Trump fired
Rounding out Mueller’s group of lawyers are several other
U.S. Department of Justice hires: Brandon Van Grack, an attorney
with the department’s national security division; Rush Atkinson,
from the criminal division’s fraud section; and Adam Jed, an
appellate attorney from the DOJ’s civil division.
Mueller’s prosecutor picks haven’t been without
controversy. Critics of the investigation have pointed to
prosecutors’ political donations as a sign of bias against the
Seven of the team members, including Rhee, Weissmann and
Goldstein, have given a total of $53,000 in combined donations
to Democratic political campaigns. According to theWashington Post, the most
substantial contributions came from Quarles, who donated more
than $30,000 to various Democratic campaigns over 20 years —
though thePostnoted he
also donated to Republicans, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz and
former Sen. George Allen.
Such donations have come under attack by Trump
proponents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in aFox and Friendsappearance that
Mueller should “look for people who have strength and
credibility by all people.”
Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017
Ethics experts say the political donations are not a
cause for concern.
“There’s a bipartisan consensus that the various, wild
conflicts allegations that have been made by Trump and his
allies are groundless,” Norm Eisen, who served as the ethics
czar to former President Barack Obama, told thePost. “It just is not the case that
lawyers or investigators are disqualified by political activity
of this kind.”
Proponents of Mueller’s hires also point toJustice Department rulesthat
specifically prohibit discrimination based on political
affiliation — a rule that Mueller, who was aregistered Republicanas of
2001, would be required to follow for any potential