mueller’s existing staff said they were only employed to investigate russiagate, but these guys…?

Robert Mueller expands special counsel office, hires 13 lawyers
Faith Karimi, Evan Perez, CNN, Jun 16 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 13 lawyers on board to handle the Russia investigation, with plans to hire more, according to his spokesman Peter Carr. Mueller has assembled a high-powered team of top investigators and leading experts, including seasoned attorneys who’ve represented major companies in court and who have worked on cases ranging from Watergate to the Enron fraud scandal. Among them are James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, both of whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale. He’s also hired Andrew Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation. Ken Starr, who investigated Clinton 42 in the 1990s, told ABC News:

That is a great, great team of complete professionals! So let’s let him do his job!

While only five attorneys have been identified, concerns have come up over the political leanings of Quarles, Rhee and Weissmann. They have donated overwhelmingly to Demagogs, totaling more than $53k since 1988, according to a CNN analysis of FEC records. The special counsel’s investigators plan to speak to senior intel boxtops. Mueller is also investigating whether Pres Trump attempted to obstruct justice, according to the WaPo Wednesday, which says that the interviews represent a widening of the probe to include looking into whether Trumpt obstructed justice in suggesting to Comey that he drop the investigation into Flynn. Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to DNI Coats and NSA Director Rogers, and they have also sought information from recently retired NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett. Coats and Rogers have testified that they were not pressured by the Trump administration. The interviews are some of the first indications of the efforts of Mueller’s newly assembled team. Ultimately, it would be up to Mueller to decide whether there is enough evidence to recommend pursuing charges on any part of the investigation. Law enforcement sources tell CNN that the special counsel is gathering information and considering whether there is evidence to launch a full-scale obstruction investigation. Trump, however, referred to the WaPo’s reporting as a “phony” story in a tweet Thursday.

A spox for Mueller declined to comment, and so did the ODNI. The NSA said it “will fully cooperate with the special counsel,” but declined to comment further. A spox for Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz said (predictably – RB):

The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.

As Mueller assembles his investigative team, statements by Trump’s friend Christopher Ruddy this week set off new questions. Ruddy, who had been at the White House on Monday, told PBS that Trump is considering terminating Mueller with extreme prejudice. “I think he’s weighing that option,” he said of Trump. But a source close to the President told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Trump has been advised to avoid such a dramatic move.

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