“Based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
“A special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the Public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly.”
The appointment comes as Attorney General Jeff Session has recused himself from launching an independent investigation into the matter.
As special counsel, Mueller has all powers of a federal prosecutor, including subpoena power. However he will answer to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.