Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 13 lawyers on board to handle the Russia investigation, with plans to hire more, according to his spokesman Peter Carr.
Mueller has assembled a high-powered team of top investigators and leading experts, including seasoned attorneys who’ve represented major American companies in court and who have worked on cases ranging from Watergate to the Enron fraud scandal.
Among them are James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, both of whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale. He’s also hired Andrew Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation.
“That is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let’s let him do his job,” former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, told ABC News.
While only five attorneys have been identified, concerns have come up over the political leanings of Quarles, Rhee and Weissmann. They have donated overwhelmingly to Democrats, totaling more than $53,000 since 1988, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
The special counsel’s investigators are looking into questions of Russian interference in last year’s election, and plan to speak to senior intelligence officials, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Mueller is also investigating whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Post reported that the interviews represent a widening of the probe to include looking into whether the President obstructed justice in suggesting to his former FBI Director James Comey that Comey drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, as well as for his firing of Comey.
Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, according to a source, who said they have also sought information from recently retired NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett. Coats and Rogers have testified that they were not pressured by the Trump administration.
The interviews are some of the first indications of the efforts of Mueller’s newly assembled team.
Ultimately, it would be up to Mueller to decide whether there is enough evidence to recommend pursuing charges on any part of the investigation.