Inside Mueller's FBI team
President Donald Trump has repeatedly hurled insults at the FBI agents working on special counsel Robert Muellerâs investigation into the 2016 campaign. Rudy Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney whoâs now Trumpâs lawyer, has attacked them as âstormtroopers.â
The vitriol is unsurprising. The agents are powering an investigation that has shadowed Trumpâs entire presidency â" and they are mostly unknown to the public, making them easy targets. They are a mix of bureau veterans and relative newcomers handpicked by Mueller and his prosecutors to handle the highest-profile and most sensitive federal investigation in a generation.
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To assemble this portrait of Muellerâs FBI team, POLITICO scoured court records, news accounts and press releases and conducted more than two dozen interviews with defense lawyers and witnesses as well as with current and former FBI agents.
The agents who form the core of Muellerâs investigative team â" who w ork mostly from a southwest Washington office complex whose only distinguishing feature may be the network TV camera regularly posted near the entrance â" have a wide range of skills, with some specializing in financial frauds, others in counterintelligence or corruption, and still others adept at investigating computer hacking and other forms of cybercrime.
Muellerâs FBI crew appears to be a combination of agents who were already working aspects of the investigation before the former FBI director took over a year ago, either because of their expertise or their location, and a set of volunteers who jumped aboard or were invited to join as the special counsel staffed up.
âThe agents come two ways,â said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, now with Berkeley Research Group. âOne is geographic. But, as youâre constructing your perfect investigative team, if you have your druthers and thereâs agents youâve worked with in the past, wherever the y are in the country, on a case like this you do reach out and say, âWould you like to be involved in this?ââ
Those who said yes include Omer Meisel, a former Securities and Exchange Commission investigator who cut his teeth as a young FBI recruit probing the collapse of Enron with Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann nearly two decades ago.
âHeâs one of Andrewâs favorite agents,â said a lawyer whoâs worked with both men. Another attorney described Meisel as âone of the smartest, most street savvy, hardworking FBI agents I ever encountered.â
Other agents working on the Trump-Russia probe include Robert Gibbs, whoâs worked Chinese espionage cases; Sherine Ebadi, who pursued a multimillion-dollar fraud at the U.S.â biggest corporate jet maker; Jennifer Edwards, an accountant who handled internet crimes against children before joining the special counselâs team; Jason Alberts, a public-corruption specialist who has handled high-profile cases i nvolving the New York Police Department and the United Nations; and Brock Domin, a novice FBI agent with technology know-how, Russian language skills and experience on the ground in Moscow.Source: Google News