Robert Mueller

Last updated on 18 July 2017

Robert Swan Mueller III /ˈmʌlər/ (born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer and civil servant who was the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serving from September 4, 2001, to September 4, 2013. A Republican, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and his original ten-year term was given a two-year extension by President Barack Obama, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover.

A graduate of Princeton University, Mueller served as a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War, receiving the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroism and the Purple Heart Medal. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973, he worked at a private firm in San Francisco for three years until his appointment as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the same city. Prior to his appointment as FBI director, Mueller served as a United States Attorney, as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division and as acting deputy attorney general.

He earned a reputation as a no-nonsense, straight-laced attorney and investigator, as well as the nickname "Bobby Three Sticks"—a nod to his name's suffix.[2][3][4] Lauded for his non-partisan and non-political approach, he has been credited with transforming the FBI from an agency primarily focused on law enforcement into one of the world's top organizations handling counterespionage and counterterrorism.[5]

On May 17, 2017, Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department as special counsel, overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters.

Director Robert S. Mueller- III.jpg
Director Robert S. Mueller- III.jpg

Early life and education

Mueller was born at Doctors Hospital in Manhattan,[6][7] the first child of Alice C. Truesdale (1920–2007) and Robert Swan Mueller Jr. (1916–2007). He has four younger sisters: Susan, Sandra, Joan and Patricia.[8] His father, an executive with DuPont, was class president at Princeton before serving in the Navy during World War II.[9]

Mueller is of German, English and Scottish descent. His paternal great-grandfather, Gustave A. Mueller, was a prominent physician in Pittsburgh, whose father August C. E. Müller had immigrated to the United States in 1855 from Pomerania, Germany.[10] On his mother's side, he is a great-grandson of the railroad executive William Truesdale.[11]

Mueller grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[7] In 1962, he graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, where he was captain of the soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams, and won the Gordon Medal as the school's top athlete in 1962.[12]

He went on to study at Princeton, receiving an A.B., in 1966, where he continued to play lacrosse. He has cited his teammate David Spencer Hackett's death in the Vietnam War as an influence on his decision to pursue military service.[13] Hackett was a Marine Corps first lieutenant in the infantry and was killed in 1967, by small arms fire.[14] Mueller earned an M.A. in international relations from New York University in 1967 before pursuing his Juris Doctor degree. In 1973, after a period of military service, he was graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law,[15] where he served on the Virginia Law Review.

Military service

Mueller enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1968, attending training at Parris Island, Officer Candidate School, Army Ranger School, and Army jump school.[16]

In July 1968, he was sent to South Vietnam where he served as a rifle platoon commander with Second Platoon, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division;[7][17] he eventually became aide-de-camp to 3rd Marine Division's commanding general.[16] In April 1969, he received an enemy gunshot wound in the thigh, recovered, and returned to lead his platoon until June 1969.[18] For his service in and during the Vietnam War, his military decorations and awards include: the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", Purple Heart Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat "V", Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three 316" bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Parachutist Badge.[7][19]

Law career

After receiving his law degree in 1973, Mueller worked as a litigator at the firm Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro in San Francisco until 1976. He then served for 12 years in United States Attorney offices. He first worked in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California in San Francisco,[16] where he rose to be chief of the criminal division, and in 1982, he moved to Boston to work in the office of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts as Assistant United States Attorney,[7] where he investigated and prosecuted major financial fraud, terrorism and public corruption cases, as well as narcotics conspiracies and international money launderers.

After serving as a partner at the Boston law firm of Hill and Barlow, Mueller returned to government service. In 1989, he served in the United States Department of Justice as an assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. The following year he took charge of its criminal division.[16] During his tenure, he oversaw prosecutions that included Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie bombing) case, and the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. In 1991, he was elected a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.[7]

In 1993, Mueller became a partner at Boston's Hale and Dorr, specializing in white-collar crime litigation.[16] He returned to public service in 1995 as senior litigator in the homicide section of the District of Columbia United States Attorney's Office. In 1998, Mueller was named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California and held that position until 2001.[7]

FBI director

Robert S. Mueller official portrait.jpg
Official portrait, circa 2001

Mueller was nominated for the position of FBI director by George W. Bush on July 5, 2001.[20]

At the time, he and two other candidates, Washington lawyer George J. Terwilliger III and veteran Chicago prosecutor and white-collar crime defense lawyer Dan Webb were up for the job, but Mueller was always considered the front runner.[21]

Terwilliger and Webb both pulled out from consideration around mid-June. Confirmation hearings for Mueller before the Senate Judiciary Committee were quickly set for July 30, only three days before his prostate cancer surgery.[22][23] The vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001, passed unanimously, 98–0.[24] He served as acting deputy attorney general of the United States Department of Justice for several months before officially becoming the FBI director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the September 11 attacks against the United States.[7]

Mueller, along with deputy attorney general James Comey, threatened to resign from office, in March 2004, if the White House overruled a Department of Justice finding that domestic wiretapping without a court warrant was unconstitutional.[25] Attorney General John Ashcroft denied his consent to attempts by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to waive the Justice Department ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to proceed. On March 12, 2004, George W. Bush gave his support to changes in the program sufficient to satisfy the concerns of Mueller, Ashcroft and Comey.[25]

In May 2011, Barack Obama asked Mueller to continue at the helm of the FBI for two additional years beyond his normal 10-year term, which would have expired on September 4, 2011.[26] The Senate approved this request on July 27, 2011.[27] On September 4, 2013, Mueller was replaced by James Comey.[28]

On June 19, 2017, Mueller was cleared from potential prosecution by the Supreme Court for post-9/11 detention of Muslims under policies then brought into place.[29]

Later career

Private sector

Robert Swan Mueller at a memorial event for G Falcone.jpg
Mueller at the memorial event of Giovanni Falcone

After leaving the FBI in 2013, Mueller served a one-year term as consulting professor and the Arthur and Frank Payne distinguished lecturer at Stanford University, where he focused on issues related to cybersecurity.[30]

In addition to his speaking and teaching roles, Mueller also joined the law firm WilmerHale as a partner in its Washington office in 2014.[31] Among other roles at the firm, he oversaw the independent investigation into the NFL's conduct surrounding the video that appeared to show NFL player Ray Rice assaulting his fiancée.[32] In January 2016, he was appointed as Settlement Master in the U.S. consumer litigation over the Volkswagen emissions scandal; as of May 11, 2017, the scandal has resulted in $11.2 billion in customer settlements.[33]

On October 19, 2016, Mueller began an external review of "security, personnel, and management processes and practices" at government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton after an employee was indicted for massive data theft from the National Security Agency.[34] On April 6, 2017, he was appointed as Special Master for disbursement of $850 million and $125 million for automakers and consumers, respectively, affected by rupture-prone Takata airbags.[35]

Mueller received the 2016 Thayer Award for public service from the United States Military Academy.[36] He is scheduled in June to receive the 2017 Baker Award for intelligence and national security contributions from the nonprofit Intelligence and National Security Alliance.[37]

2017 appointment as special counsel

Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters.pdf
Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and Related Matters

On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice. In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into "any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".[38]

Mueller's appointment to oversee the investigation immediately garnered widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.[39][40] Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "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." Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stated, "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." She added, "He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing."[39]

The appointment followed a series of events which included the firing of the FBI director and the "disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn."[41] Upon his appointment as Special Counsel, he and two colleagues (former FBI agent Aaron Zebley and former assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force James L. Quarles III) resigned from WilmerHale.[42] On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[43] The spokesperson for the special counsel is Peter Carr, who told NBC News that Mueller has taken an active role in managing the inquiry.[44] In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller, if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of James Comey.[45]

On June 14, 2017, The Washington Post reported that Mueller's office is also investigating President Trump personally for possible obstruction of justice, in reference to the Russian probe.[46] The report was questioned by Trump's legal team attorney Jay Sekulow, who said June 18 on NBC's Meet the Press, "The President is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction, period."[47] Sekulow is Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) in Washington, D.C.

Personal life

Mueller met his future wife, Ann Cabell Standish, at a high school party when they were 17.[48] Standish attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut and Sarah Lawrence College, before working as a special education teacher for children with learning disabilities.[4] They married at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Sewickley, Pennsylvania in September 1966.[49][50] They have two daughters, Cynthia and Melissa, and three grandchildren.[51] One of their daughters was born with spina bifida.[52]

In 2001, Mueller's Senate confirmation hearings to head the FBI were delayed several months while he underwent treatment for prostate cancer.[53] He was diagnosed in the fall of 2000 but postponed being sworn in as FBI director until he received a good prognosis from his physician.[54]

References

  1. ^ "FBI Nominee Lauded for Tenacity". The Washington Post. July 30, 2001. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Hosenball, Mark; Hurley, Lawrence (May 18, 2017). "'Bobby Three Sticks' Mueller to probe Russia-Trump imbroglio". Reuters. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  3. ^ "Robert Mueller: 'Ramrod straight' ex-FBI boss to lead Russia inquiry". BBC News. May 18, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Shannon, Elaine; Cooper, Matthew (July 16, 2001). "The FBI's Top Gun". Time. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  5. ^ "Biographer Outlines Robert Mueller's 12 Years As FBI Director". All Things Considered. NPR. May 17, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "Son Born to Robert S. Muellers". The New York Times. August 8, 1944. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Arthur Holst, "Mueller, Robert S. (August 7, 1944–)" in Spies, Wiretaps, and Secret Operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage (Vol. 1: A–J), ed. Glenn P. Hastedt (ABC-CLIO, 2011), p. 528.
  8. ^ "Robert Swan Mueller Jr. ’38". Princeton Alumni Weekly. April 23, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "Robert Swan Mueller Jr. '38". January 21, 2016.
  10. ^ Memoirs of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, Madison, Northwestern Historical Association, 1904, vol. 1, pp. 256–57.
  11. ^ "Alice Truesdale Will Be Married: Graduate of Miss Hall's School Is Fiancée of Lieut. Robert S. Mueller Jr. of Navy". The New York Times. June 28, 1943. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  12. ^ "FBI Director Mueller '62 Returns to Concord". St. Paul's School. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  13. ^ "Award winners Mueller '66 and Jackson '86 highlight Alumni Day". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  14. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 67. p. 65.
  15. ^ "FBI Director Robert Mueller to Receive Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law". University of Virginia School of Law. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  16. ^ a b c d e Shannon, Elaine (2001-07-06). "Robert Mueller: Straight Shooter With a Moving Target". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  17. ^ Military.com 21 May 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  18. ^ Task Purpose Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  19. ^ Task Purpose Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "Remarks by the President in Nominating Robert S. Mueller as Director of the FBI". The White House. July 5, 2001. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
  21. ^ "Bush Names Mueller FBI Director". United Press. June 6, 2001. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2006.
  22. ^ "Senate hearing set July 30 for FBI choice Mueller". CNN. June 18, 2001. Retrieved June 10, 2006.
  23. ^ "FBI director-designate has prostate cancer". CNN. June 13, 2001. Retrieved June 10, 2006.
  24. ^ "Robert S. Mueller, III, to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" (Plain Text). United States Senate. August 2, 2001. Retrieved June 10, 2006.
  25. ^ a b Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (May 16, 2007). "Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed". Washington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
  26. ^ "FBI Director to stay in post for another 2 years". CNN. May 12, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  27. ^ "Senate Extends Term of F.B.I. Director". New York Times. July 27, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  28. ^ "James B. Comey Sworn in as FBI Director". FBI. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  29. ^ Liptak, Adam (June 19, 2017). "Supreme Court Rules for Bush Officials in Post-9/11 Suit". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  30. ^ Gorlick, Adam (November 5, 2013). "Former FBI director to bolster security research at Stanford." (Press release). Stanford, California: Stanford University. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  31. ^ Staff (March 24, 2014). "Former Director of the FBI Robert Mueller III Joins WilmerHale" (Press release). Wilmer Hale. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  32. ^ Mueller, Robert (2015-01-08). "Report to the National Football League of an Independent Investigation into the Ray Rice Incident" (PDF). WilmerHale. National Football League.
  33. ^ "VW's emissions-cheating settlement for 3-liter vehicles gets judge's approval". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 2017-05-11.
  34. ^ Uchill, Joe (2016-10-27). "Booz Allen announces external review following stolen documents by contractor". The Hill.
  35. ^ Spector, Mike (2017-04-06). "Former FBI Director Robert Mueller to Oversee Takata Compensation Funds". Wall Street Journal.
  36. ^ "Robert S. Mueller III Receives 2016 Thayer Award". West Point Association of Graduates. 2016.
  37. ^ "Robert Mueller to Receive 2017 William Oliver Baker Award". Intelligence and National Security Alliance. 2017-02-28.
  38. ^ Rosenstein, Rod. "Rod Rosenstein’s Letter Appointing Mueller Special Counsel". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  39. ^ a b "Rare bipartisan moment: Both sides embrace Robert Mueller as special counsel". USA Today. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  40. ^ Berman, Russell. "Mueller Pick Meets a Rare Bipartisan Consensus". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  41. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca R. (May 17, 2017). "Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  42. ^ Taylor, Jessica; Johnson, Carrie (2017-05-17). "Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed As Special Counsel To Oversee Russia Probe". NPR.
  43. ^ Savage, Charlie (May 23, 2017). "Ethics experts clear special counsel in Russia investigation". The New York Times.
  44. ^ Williams, Pete (June 2, 2017), Special Counsel Robert Mueller Taking Close Control of Russia Investigation, NBC News
  45. ^ Sadie Gurman, Eric Tucker and Jeff Horwitz (June 3, 2017), Special Counsel Mueller's investigation seems to be growing, Associated Press
  46. ^ Barrett, Devlin; Entous, Adam; Nakashima, Ellen; Horwitz, Sari (2017-06-14). "Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  47. ^ Koenig, Kailani (June 18, 2017). "Trump Attorney: The President Is Not Under Investigation". NBC News. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  48. ^ Graff, Garrett M. (2011). The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror. Little, Brown. p. 108. ISBN 9780316120883. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  49. ^ "Ann Cabell Standish Engaged to Robert Swan Mueller 3d". The New York Times. July 3, 1966. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  50. ^ "9 Are Attendants Of Ann Standish At Her Wedding; She Is Bride of Robert Mueller 3d, Alumnus of Princeton U.". The New York Times. September 4, 1966. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  51. ^ "Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the Farewell Ceremony for FBI Director Robert S. Mueller". United States Department of Justice. August 1, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  52. ^ Slater, Joanna (June 18, 2017). "Meet Robert Mueller: The 'unique' figure in Washington investigating Trump". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  53. ^ Hancock, Larry (2015). Surprise Attack: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to Benghazi. Counterpoint. p. 205. ISBN 9781619026575. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  54. ^ Altman, Lawrence K.; Johnston, David (August 15, 2001). "View After Cancer Surgery Is Good for F.B.I. Director". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2017.

Further reading

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Bill Weld
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
Acting

1986–1987
Succeeded by
Frank L. McNamara
Preceded by
Edward Dennis
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
1990–1993
Succeeded by
Jo Ann Harris
Preceded by
Michael Yamaguchi
United States Attorney for the Northern District of California
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Kevin Ryan
Preceded by
Eric Holder
United States Deputy Attorney General
Acting

2001
Succeeded by
Larry Thompson
Government offices
Preceded by
Thomas Pickard
Acting
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
2001–2013
Succeeded by
James Comey

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