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April 12, 2018

Terminating the Special Counsel


In May 2017 Acting Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as Special Counsel pursuant to the authority set out in 28 CFR 600. Mr. Mueller serves at the pleasure of Acting Attorney General.

Periodically there has been speculation in the media concerning possible efforts to terminate the Special Counsel from the position.

With respect to the removal of a Special Counsel, 28 CFR 600.7(d) provides as follows:

(d) The Special Counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the Attorney General [or, in the instant situation, Acting Attorney General Rosenstein or his successor, if any]. The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies. The Attorney General shall inform the Special Counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal.

Subparagraph (d) of Mr. Rosenstein's "ORDER NO. 3915-2017"* to Mr. Mueller setting out the terms and conditions of his appointment as Special Counsel provides that "(d) Sections 600.4 through 600.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations are applicable to the Special Counsel."

Also, 28 CFR 600.9 Notification and reports by the Attorney General, in pertinent part, provides:

(a) The Attorney General will notify the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Judiciary Committees of each House of Congress, with an explanation for each action -

            (1) Upon appointing a Special Counsel;

            (2) Upon removing any Special Counsel; 

* ORDER NO. 3915-2017 
APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE WITH THE
2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND RELATED MATTERS

By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C. §§509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility to provide supervision and management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:

(a) Robert S. Mueller III is appointed to serve as Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice.

(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey 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; 

and

            (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; 
and

            (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. §600.4(a).

(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

(d) Sections 600.4 through 600.10 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations are applicable to the Special Counsel.
 
Date 5/17/17                                   s/Rod J. Rosenstein
                                                          Acting Attorney General


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