ROBERT Mueller is currently investigating alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia to swing the 2016 presidential election in the President’s favour.
As Trump’s former personal lawyer and close confident Michael Cohen faces jail time as a result of Mueller’s investigation, here’s what you need to know about the Special Counsel.
Who is Robert Mueller and when did he serve in the Marines?
Robert Swan Mueller III was born in New York on August 7 1944 into a wealth family.
His father, who was also called Robert, was a business executive the the DuPont corporation.
Mueller attended Princeton University, where he played lacrosse, and graduated with 1966 with a degree in politics
He went on to obtain a Masters degree in International Relations from New York University in 1967.
Unlike Donald Trump, who got a medical discharge to avoid the draft, he volunteered to fight in Vietnam.
In 1968 he joined the Marines, reportedly after a good friend of his was killed in Vietnam while fighting in the Corps.
He led a combat platoon in Vietnam during one of the most brutal phases of the conflict.
For his bravery he earned a Bronze Star after evacuating wounded soldiers from a battle scene “with complete disregard for his own safety.”
Mueller also earned a Purple Heart and two Navy Commendation Medals.
According to an account of his time in Vietman in Wired magazine, he was once in such intense combat that he failed to notice a bullet had gone straight through his leg.
He credits much of his success in life to his experience in the Marines.
“Your improvement comes from the ability to maximize the embodiment of a Marine,” he said.
After briefly considering making the military his career, he left and went to law school instead.
He graduated from the University of Virginia Law school in 1973.
What was his first job?
His first job was with a law firm and then in 1976 joined the US Attorney’s office in the Northern District of California as a prosecutor.
Mueller worked for worked for 12 years in the US Attorney offices, with spells at law firms in between, and was known for his tough, no-nonsense managerial style.
He investigated and prosecuted crimes ranging from major financial fraud to public corruption cases.
In 1990, he became head of the criminal division of the US Department of Justice.
During his time in that role, he oversaw the high-profile investigations of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and the Lockerbie bombing.
From 1998 to 2001 he was US Attorney – the chief prosecuting officer – for the Northern District of California.
He also had a spell for Deputy Attorney General for six months in 2001.
In July that year, the Justice Department announced Mueller had surgery for prostate cancer after being diagnosed in April.
What did he do at the FBI?
Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI director by President George W. Bush, beating off competition from two other high profile lawyers.
He was sworn as the sixth director of the agency on September 4, 2001 and was immediately thrust into the hunt for terrorists linked to the 9/11 attacks.
Mueller transformed the FBI into a counterterrorism agency, expanding its manpower and shifting 2,000 of its 5,000 agents from fighting crime to national security.
As director, he earnt a reputation as a hard taskmaster whose relentless energy and demands meant he went through five chiefs of staff in his first four years.
He would publically reprimand agents who used the words “linked” or “associated” with al-Qaeda rather than produce hard evidence, Garrett M. Graff’s wrote in his “The Threat Matrix” book about the hunt for the 9/11 terrorists.
In 2009, he wrote to Scotland’s then justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to condemn the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, who was convicted over the Lockerbie bombing.
Muller said the decision was as “inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice” and “makes a mockery of the rule of law” while it also “gives comfort to terrorists”.
He went on to become the longest serving director of the FBI since J. Edgar Hoover.
The Senate voted 100-0 to change the law so he could extend his tenure by two years and he left in in 2014.
When did he become Special Counsel?
In May 2017 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to the position of Special Counsel.
According his letter of confirmation the Special Counsel is authorised to investigate “any links and/or coordination bet ween the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”.
His currently working with a team of experienced lawyers drawn from private practice and from the justice department, as well as FBI officers.
He is based unassuming building in south-west Washington and has so far not issued any public comment on his investigation.