Special counsel Robert Mueller is putting together a veteran prosecution team as he gets set for a lengthy probe into possible collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, Politico reported.
The team of prosecutors selected by Mueller include those experienced in probes ranging from Watergate to the Mafia to Enron, according to the website, which said Mueller is expected to take "an expansive view of his role."
"The more familiar you are with the important, hard cases that have come before you, the better you are at assessing the one in front of you," said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor.
"In a matter of this importance— it's going to have an almost unprecedented level of outside scrutiny for anything they do — it's critical that Mueller would be prizing that kind of gray-beard energy."
Former prosecutors estimate the complete probe could take two years or more to complete, according to Politico.
Mueller is taking over existing investigations covering everyone from Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner to former national security adviser Michael Flynn., the website noted.
Mueller recently appointed Andrew Weissmann to his team, according to McClatchy newspapers.
Weissmann has headed the criminal division's fraud section since 2015 and had joined the Justice Department in 1991. He later ran the Enron Task Force, according to the newspaper chain.
And Politico noted Weissmann tried more than 25 cases involving members of Mafia crime families.
Emily Pierce, a former Justice Department spokeswoman, called Weissmann "an inspired choice" to help Mueller lead the Russia probe.
"As a fraud and foreign bribery expert, he knows how to follow the money," she said. "Who knows what they will find, but if there is something to be found, he will find it."
Also handpicked by Mueller for the prosecution team are:
- Aaron Zebley, who once worked as Mueller's chief of staff.
- James Quarles, who had served as an assistant Watergate prosecutor.
- Jeannie Rheet, a former Justice Department attorney.
Politico reported there are more jobs to fill as Mueller takes over the probes.
"I'd not expect a massive army of agents here by any stretch," Buell cautioned.
The Justice Department has given Mueller broad leverage to take the Russia investigation wherever he wants to, Politico noted — and there are no deadlines for the probe, Politico noted.
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