Veterans of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice lavished praise on former FBI Director Bob Mueller, who was appointed special counsel Wednesday with a broad mandate to investigate the Trump administration.
Mueller, who become the Bureau’s leading change agent after its failure to stop the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, now faces the most daunting task of his storied career — but his former associates say it may be his finest hour.
Former assistant FBI director Ron Hosko, who led FBI’s criminal investigative devision near the end of Mueller’s tenure, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Mueller commanded respect and admiration throughout the Bureau’s ranks.
“He was widely respected, even if you disagreed with him or differed with his style,” he said. “He was trusted to do the right thing, to drive toward the truth. He was always pushing the organization forward.”
Hosko described a driven, detail-oriented boss with a deadly serious style, who routinely grilled agents on minute specifics of ongoing investigations and streamlined a disparate agency by sheer force of will.
“The only easy day with Bob Mueller was yesterday, and yesterday wasn’t so hot,” Hosko said.
Hosko added that the former director rarely partook in the frivolities of Washington life, and preferred to keep a low public profile in a city of big personalities.
“Bob Mueller was not a guy stepping out on the social circuit or talking off the record and making friends in the press,” he said.
Veterans of the Justice Department offered similarly favorable assessments.
Former Attorney General William Barr, who served in the George H. W. Bush administration, said in a statement that Mueller would conduct the investigation with the appropriate urgency and restrict his review to legitimate areas of inquiry.
“I completely trust Bob Mueller to handle this matter properly, fairly and with appropriate dispatch,” Barr said. “I am confident that Mueller will keep his eye on legitimate areas of inquiry and not let this investigation degenerate into a sprawling, ceaseless witch hunt to ‘get something’ on the president’s associates.”
Barr and Mueller served together at the Department during the Bush administration.
David Kris, another career DOJ employee who served in Republican and Democratic administrations, wrote that Mueller’s leadership will protect the investigation from allegations of impropriety going forward.
“Mueller is experienced, knowledgeable, capable,” Kris said. “He is utterly incorruptible. He cannot be intimidated. At this stage in his career, he has nothing to prove, no reputation to burnish, no axe to grind. He is ramrod straight in his integrity.”