NPR

Potent But Unpredictable: How Special Counsels Have Posed A Special Threat

From Presidents Ulysses Grant to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton and Trump, a number of independent investigators have looked into allegations too hot for normal processes.
Washington is waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller to complete a report on his investigation into Russian interference in 2016. Source: Tasos Katopodis

All official Washington — and indeed a wide swath of citizens from coast to coast — waits with great anticipation for the report from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller, the former director of the FBI, is the war hero and Republican who was designated 22 months ago to investigate whether any Americans were involved with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller's operation has had a hand in more than 30 indictments and obtained a remarkable number of guilty pleas. It also has spun out a number of other investigations that could wear on long after his report is filed.

But Mueller's probe, while far from the only investigative threat to the Trump presidency, has become the focal point. Mueller's name has become the shorthand for every legal issue that clouds the sky over the

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