Robert Mueller, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has been appointed as a special counselor by US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election."
A sense of relief is sweeping throughout the country that a professional investigation will pursue the rattling claims of disruptions to US democracy.
US intelligence officials earlier released a report concluding that Russia was behind leaks, and a stream of fake news aimed at interfering in the US presidential election, specifically to benefit Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
The interference though the spread of outlandish stories was obvious and reported before the election. Yet most analysts underestimated the power of fake news in a developed nation, assuming that citizens with a basic education - 88 percent of US adults hold a high school degree and more than half with some college education - would apply critical thinking skills and ignore bizarre and unsubstantiated reports.
But no and a prime example was Pizzagate, a false tale that Clinton and her colleagues were running a child trafficking ring in various restaurants, including the basement of Comet, a pizza shop in Washington DC. The stories inspired a Carolina man to storm the store with weapons, firing shots and announcing he was there to save the children. The young man was arrested and pled guilty, and he will be sentenced in June. Far-right conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones of Infowars, who make a living by fomenting rage, pounced on the bizarre stories. Jones has since apologized.
Since January 22, reports and concerns emerged about connections with Russia for the Trump campaign, Trump associates and Trump businesses. The Mueller investigation will pick up on the investigation already launched by the FBI, in addition to investigations from each branch of Congress. Concern intensified after reports suggested that Trump had asked former FBI director James Comey to pledge his loyalty - an affront to the constitution - and also to pull back on an investigation of his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who had failed to report payments received from Russia and work performed for Turkey. Shortly afterward, Trump fired Comey. A day later, at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump met with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador. Reports suggested that highly classified information was referred to at that meeting. And today, The New York Times reports that Flynn had advised the Trump transition team that he was under investigation for failing to report his lobbying work for Turkey in early January before Trump took office
The investigation will proceed and follow complex financial trails, and in the meantime the motives of this administration are under a microscope: "An uproar has emerged with worries about politicized law enforcement, a
US president installed by a hostile foreign power, who then goes on to
oppose science and education initiatives that truly empower the United
States while favoring the problematic coal industry over alternative
energies and other policies that reduce US competitiveness. Russia
supported Brexit to weaken the European Union, but failed in boosting
far-right candidates in the Netherlands, Bulgaria and France. The United
States may no longer be a trustworthy world leader, and even allies may
doubt US motives until an independent investigation is pursued and the
many disturbing questions are settled."
We must be patient and vigilant in monitoring over US politics never forgetting that voters choose these leaders to work for all of us.
Photo of Robert Mueller III, courtesy of Wikimedia.