The Justice Department’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign won bipartisan praise Wednesday night on Capitol Hill, even from those hammering the White House over the controversy in recent days.
Top Republicans and Democrats issued statements lauding the choice of Mueller, expressing confidence he would get to the bottom of the matter:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: “A special counsel is very much needed in this situation and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has done the right thing. Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member on the House intelligence committee: "The decision to appoint a special counsel is a very positive step forward. Bob Mueller is a respected former Director of the FBI who knows the Bureau inside and out, and enjoys a superb reputation among members of both parties. His appointment will help reestablish public confidence that the FBI investigation into the Russian active measures campaign during the presidential election and any involvement of U.S. persons will be thorough and any prosecutorial decisions that result are based on sound and independent judgment. The appointment of a special counsel is not a substitute for a vigorous investigation in Congress and the House Intelligence Committee will take steps to make sure our investigations do not conflict and ensure the success of both efforts. We will also want to make certain that the special counsel has all the resources it needs to undertake this important task."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.: “It’s time to get to the bottom of this. I’ve been pressing the DOJ to take this step for nearly 3 months because the Americans deserve nothing less than the truth. I have faith that Robert Mueller will provide the independence necessary to be sure this investigation is conducted with the trust and confidence of the American people.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.: “Robert Mueller is an exceptional public servant -- from his days as a decorated Marine, through his years as a federal prosecutor, to his time as head of the criminal division and then as Acting Deputy Attorney General, and then onto his twelve years of principled leadership as the Director of the FBI. His record, character, and trustworthiness have been lauded for decades by Republicans and Democrats alike.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.: “My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead. That is what we’ve been doing here in the House. The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice. The important ongoing bipartisan investigation in the House will also continue."
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine: “The Deputy Attorney General made an excellent choice in selecting former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel. He has sterling credentials and is above reproach. Because of his experience leading the FBI for more than a decade, Mr. Mueller has established relationships with FBI agents and will be able to move forward quickly. He is well respected on both sides of the aisle and will inspire public confidence in the investigation. In the meantime, the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue our investigation into Russia's attempts to influence elections. This investigation will be broader than the special counsel’s charge, and it is important that we continue to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. “
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee: “The appointment of Bob Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation is a good first step to get to the bottom of the many questions we have about Russian interference in our election and possible ties to the president. Bob was a fine U.S. attorney, a great FBI director and there’s no better person who could be asked to perform this function. He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member on the House oversight committee: “Knowing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein from his tenure in Baltimore, I think he made a solid choice in Mr. Mueller, and I commend him for putting our country and justice system first. I urge Mr. Mueller to follow the facts wherever they may lead—with integrity and independence.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif.: “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. As I’ve said before, Vladimir Putin’s acts of aggression pose serious threats to the U.S. and our allies. We’ve got to get to the bottom of Russia’s efforts to meddle in our democratic process so we can keep it from happening again.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.: "This is a critical step and I'm glad Mr. Rosenstein took it. The past 48 hours have shown the lengths that the President and his Administration will go to hinder and halt this investigation, so I will withhold judgment pending its progress. The eyes of the nation are on Mr. Mueller and his team. The special counsel will examine and prosecute any crimes that may have been committed, but this will not solve the bigger crisis of Russia's cyberattack on our country—only an independent commission can do that."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “The decision by the Deputy Attorney General to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel confirms that the investigation into Russian intervention into our election will continue, as stated last week by Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will also continue its investigation into this matter.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; “Former FBI Director Mueller is widely respected and has had a distinguished career serving his country under Republican and Democratic administrations. This is very encouraging news and his appointment should go a long way towards depoliticizing the investigation into Russia’s unprecedented interference in our election. We owe it to the American people to get to the bottom of this.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; "Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation is a positive step. I am hopeful that he will help us get to the bottom of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, including any role the president may have played. To ensure the American people have full confidence in this investigation, it must be conducted in an open and transparent manner and be given the full resources it needs. Additionally, the ongoing investigations by both the Senate and House must continue."