Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced his appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee investigations into Russian interference in the election and “related matters.”
Of particular interest is the scope statement in the order. Mueller is given broad latitude to take the investigation to any matters that “may arise from the investigation.”
The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confined by then-FBI Director James 8. Corney in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:
- (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump;
- (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation;
- (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4
The U.S. Code reference in item iii refers to the jurisdiction of special counsel. According to 28 C.F.R. § 600.4, the special counsel has three jurisdictions to consider.
(a)Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.
(b)Additional jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the course of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere.
(c)Civil and administrative jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel determines that administrative remedies, civil sanctions or other governmental action outside the criminal justice system might be appropriate, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General with respect to the appropriate component to take any necessary action. A Special Counsel shall not have civil or administrative authority unless specifically granted such jurisdiction by the Attorney General.