Yesterday, Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as the special counsel, with full federal attorney powers, in the investigation of Russian interference in the electoral process of 2016. At this point, Mueller has been given unlimited time and the ability to follow any related pathways regarding the scope and breadth of the Russian investigation. But, as anyone familiar with recent history may remember, any special prosecutor may venture down paths not originally contemplated, as Bill Clinton could attest.
For Donald Trump, this deck of cards provides many possible outcomes. Trump, not a seasoned politician, has created many unforced errors during his four months in office. All his accomplishments have received scant coverage by the media (not willing to give him credit) as his tweets, hyperbole, and misstatements have overshadowed his agenda. His private conversation with James Comey, which led to a purported memo partially leaked to the New York Times, was the kind of error that increased the pressure upon Rosenstein to appoint Mueller.
Many Democrats have urged the appointment of a special prosecutor. For those convinced that Trump's election was illegitimate, the only outcome is for Mueller is to find criminality during the private Comey meeting in February, such as obstruction of justice. They seek a bill of particulars coming before Congress to allow impeachment proceedings. Some will still want an independent commission to investigate these issues as a way of keeping the negative news out front.