Cite

Mueller, Robert Swan, 3d

Mueller, Robert Swan, 3d, 1944–, American law enforcement official, b. New York City, B.A. Princeton, 1966, M.A. New York Univ., 1967, J.D. Univ. of Virginia School of Law, 1973. After serving in Vietnam as a marine (1968–70), Mueller worked as a litigator for a law firm before becoming assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California (1976–82), and assistant U.S. attorney (1982–86) and acting attorney (1986–87) for Massachusetts. With the U.S. Department of Justice from 1989, he became (1990) head of the department's criminal division and led the Lockerbie bombing (1988) investigation.

He returned to private practice (1993–95) then worked in the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia (1995–98) and was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California (1998–2001) and acting deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. In 2001 he became director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation just before the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, and he reorganized the FBI, emphasizing new counterterrorism initiatives and integrating it more tightly into the national security infrastructure. He returned to private practice in 2013.

After James Comey was fired by President Trump over the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which involved possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Mueller was named special counsel for the Justice Dept. Russia investigation. By the end of 2018 his prosecutors and others had alleged contacts between Russians and a number of Trump associates, and negotiated a number of guilty pleas, not always related to Russian contacts. Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Trump, acknowledged making illegal contributions to the Trump campaign (in the form of hush money to Trump's sexual partners), having lied to Congress about Trump efforts to build a Moscow high-rise, and having had other contacts with Russians about arranging a meeting between Trump and Putin. In his report after the investigation ended in Mar., 2019, Mueller detailed repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as the campaign's hope to benefit from Russian interference in the election, but found that there was not sufficient evidence of conspiracy or coordination between the campaign and Russia. His report also said that he could not exonerate the president from obstruction of justice charges, and noted that a number of Trump's aides refused to carry out orders that could constitute obstruction.

See The Mueller Report (2019).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies