It is important to note, this is not a special prosecution team, it is a legal investigative team. All three lawyers have formally resigned their positions, which is required from the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
From the National Law Journal in part: Zebley was Mueller’s former chief of staff at the FBI and Quarles worked as an assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate investigation. Mueller worked on a range of issues including cybersecurity, criminal litigation and internal investigations. Last year, he was appointed to oversee settlement negotiations in class action lawsuits over Volkswagen A.G.’s emissions scandal.
The task of this team is solely to investigate the matter of Trump’s campaign operatives having any cooperation or interaction with any Russian entities into the campaign infrastructure in 2016.
Mueller served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California prior to joining the FBI. He graduated from Princeton University in 1966 and went on to receive his J.D. from the University of Virginia. Mueller has gained the approval of the ACLU, former Attorney General and head of Main Justice, Eric Holder as well as many democrats in both chambers of Congress.
Another partner at the law firm, is Reginald Brown, who worked in the Bush White House and runs the firm’s financial institutions group and congressional investigations practice, is advising Paul Manafort as of this spring. Manafort, who ran Trump’s presidential campaign for six months, may be ensnared in the Russia investigation because of a consulting client he represented in Ukraine who had ties to the Kremlin.
Top Clinton administration alumni at Wilmer include former Solicitor General Seth Waxman and former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, who’s boosted her own resume in recent months by advising Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner on government ethics.
“I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authorities and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Mr. Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination.”
While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein — and by extension, the president — he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney would. Mr. Mueller will be able to choose to what extent to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation as it goes forward.
“He’s an absolutely superb choice,” said Kathryn Ruemmler, a former prosecutor and White House counsel under Mr. Obama. “He will just do a completely thorough investigation without regard to public pressure or political pressure.”
She added: “I cannot think of a better choice.”
John S. Pistole, who served as the F.B.I.’s deputy director under Mr. Mueller, also praised the appointment.
“You need an independent assessment of what the president has done, how he has done it and perhaps why he has done it,” said Mr. Pistole, who is now president of Anderson University in Indiana. “The appointment of Director Mueller is exactly what is needed to attempt to bring credibility to the White House when there are so many questions about the president’s actions and motives.”
The order to appoint Mr. Mueller was signed by Mr. Rosenstein on Wednesday, drawing on a regulation granting the attorney general the authority to appoint a special counsel for only the second time in history. The first time it was used was in 1999 by Janet Reno, who appointed Jack Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, to lead an investigation into the botched federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in 1993 that killed 76 people.
In his capacity as special counsel, Mr. Mueller will be able to request additional resources for the investigation. Those requests will be reviewed by Lee Lofthus, assistant attorney general for administration. More here.
The Trump White House only had this response to the naming of this team:
There is no information that has been released how this legal team will address matters relating to Hillary Clinton, John Podesta or other related issues. It should be noted that only last week, did the Senate Democrats that are also part of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation on similar Russian probes hired April Doss. Doss held an early career at the NSA and just resigned also from her law firm of Saul Ewing.
Both Mueller’s law firm and Doss’ law firm each has legal specialties in the cyber industry.
One last item, since Paul Manafort was mentioned above:
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort took out a $3.5 million mortgage through a shell company just after leaving the campaign, but the mortgage document that explains how he would pay it back was never filed — and Manafort’s company never paid $36,000 in taxes that would be due on the loan.
On August 19, 2016, Manafort left the Trump campaign amid media reports about his previous work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, including allegations he received millions of dollars in payments.
That same day, Manafort created a holding company called Summerbreeze LLC. Several weeks later, a document called a UCC filed with the state of New York shows that Summerbreeze took out a $3.5 million loan on Manafort’s home in the tony beach enclave of Bridgehampton.
Manafort’s name does not appear on the UCC filing, but Summerbreeze LLC gives his Florida address as a contact, and lists his Bridgehampton home as collateral.