WASHINGTON — Democrats felt vindicated Wednesday after the Justice Department announced the appointment of former FBI Director Bob Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement saying, “A special counsel is very much needed in this situation and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has done the right thing. 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.”
President Trump reacted to the special counsel appointment saying in a statement, “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”
Democratic Oregon Sen. Patty Murray responded positively to the appointment of Mueller, saying it is a “positive step toward holding President Trump accountable and making sure the American people are getting the answers and information they deserve.”
Murray added, “Mr. Mueller is a dedicated public servant who should be given the resources he needs to lead a thorough, independent examination of President Trump and his Administration’s many concerning ties to Russia and any actions that may have been taken to cover them up.”
Reactions from Democrats were generally positive but one Democratic lawmaker was overheard telling a colleague that while he was happy about the appointment, he and others were hoping to “drag out” the process a little longer.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also praised Mueller in a statement Wednesday evening as a “respected public servant of the highest integrity.”
Pelosi, however, like other Democrats, still wants to have an outside 9/11-style commission.
“A special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last. Director Mueller will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department. He cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump Administration’s meddling. A special prosecutor does not negate the need for vigorous Congressional investigations either.”
Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn said he also respected Mueller when he served as FBI director.
“Success or failure if this goes to the very heart of what the country is all about. I said from day one, before the election, that this is much bigger than Watergate ever was what it was about,” Clyburn told reporters.
Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers said in a statement, “Let me be clear: the appointment of special counsel does not relieve Congress of its responsibility to conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.”
“I am disappointed that Congress has taken precious few meaningful actions to investigate President Trump’s decision to fire Director Comey, the President’s admission that he did so because he did not like the Russia investigation, and reports that Trump tried to waive Director Comey off of the investigation altogether. I continue to stand with my colleagues on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in urging our chairmen to look into these matters without delay,” Conyers added.