WASHINGTON, DC - Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives for testimony before the House Intelligence Committee about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the Rayburn House Office Building July 24, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
CNN  — 

Here is a look at the life of Robert Mueller, former special counsel for the Department of Justice and former director of the FBI.

Mueller was appointed in May 2017 to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, including any links or coordination “between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”


Birth date: August 7, 1944

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Robert Swan Mueller III

Father: Robert Swan Mueller Jr., business executive

Mother: Alice (Truesdale) Mueller

Marriage: Ann (Standish) Mueller (1966-present)

Children: Melissa and Cynthia

Education: Princeton University, B.A., 1966; New York University, M.A., 1967; and University of Virginia, J.D., 1973

Military service: US Marine Corps and Reserves, 1966-1980, Captain

Other Facts

Mueller is pronounced “MUH-ler.”

Longest serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover.

First FBI Director to be appointed to serve an additional two years after his 10-year term expired.

Awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Navy Commendation Medals for his service in Vietnam.

Oversaw the prosecutions of Manuel Noriega and John Gotti and led the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mueller helped transform the FBI into an agency focused on national security as well as law enforcement, gathering intelligence and countering terrorism globally.


1973-1976 - Associate attorney at the law firm of Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro.

1976-1982 - Joins the US Attorney’s office in the Northern District of California.

1982-1988 - US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

1988-1989 - Partner at the law firm of Hill and Barlow.

1990-1993 - Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice.

1993-1995 - Becomes a senior partner in the law firm of Hale and Dorr.

1995-1998 - Joins the Homicide Section of the US Attorney’s Office in DC. Mueller becomes the section chief in 1997.

1998-2001 - US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

July 5, 2001 - Nominated to be director of the FBI by President George W. Bush.

July 13, 2001 - The Justice Department announces that Mueller will undergo surgery for the treatment of prostate cancer. Officials state that Mueller was diagnosed in April.

September 4, 2001 - Sworn in as the sixth director of the FBI.

July 26, 2011 - Congress passes legislation to extend Mueller’s term another two years from the usual fixed 10-year term. The extension of his term passes the Senate with a vote of 100-0.

September 4, 2013 - Steps down after a 12-year term as the Director of the FBI. James Comey succeeds him as the new agency director.

2014-2017 - Partner at WilmerHale law firm.

September 2014 - Begins a nearly four-month independent inquiry into the NFL’s investigation of how it gathered evidence in the domestic violence case involving Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens. He later releases a 96-page report outlining his findings, concluding “the NFL should have done more with the information it had, and should have taken additional steps to obtain all available information about the February 15 [2014] incident.”

October 27, 2016 - Booz Allen announces it has hired Mueller to conduct an outside review of the firm’s security and management processes after a Booz Allen contractor, working with the National Security Agency, was charged in August with stealing government property and unauthorized removal of classified materials.

May 17, 2017 - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints Mueller to serve as special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials. Rosenstein will oversee Mueller’s work because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations into the 2016 presidential campaign.

October 30, 2017 - In connection with Mueller’s Russia probe, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates are indicted on 12 counts including conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and conspiracy against the United States. Separately, a court filing is unsealed revealing that former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI pertaining to the Russia probe.

December 1, 2017 - Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI. He agrees to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

December 16, 2017 - Lawyers representing the Trump transition team write to members of Congress accusing Mueller’s team of obtaining unauthorized access to tens of thousands of transition emails during the course of its Russia investigation, including what they claim to be documents protected by attorney-client privilege. Mueller’s representatives deny the accusation.

January 25, 2018 - The New York Times reports that Trump had ordered the firing of Mueller in June 2017. White House counsel Donald McGahn reportedly threatened to quit instead of carrying out the order.

February 16, 2018 - Mueller’s team indicts 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

February 23, 2018 - Gates pleads guilty to lying to the FBI and conspiracy. As part of his plea agreement, Gates will cooperate with Mueller’s team.

April 10, 2018 - The New York Times reports that Trump considered firing Mueller in December 2017, marking the second attempt to do so.

April 11, 2018 - A bipartisan group of senators introduces legislation that would make it harder for Mueller to be fired. The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act protects Mueller by ensuring he can only be fired for “good cause” by a senior Justice Department official.

July 13, 2018 - Mueller’s team indicts 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency, GRU.

August 21, 2018 - Manafort is convicted on eight out of 18 counts after a trial in Virginia.

September 14, 2018 - Manafort agrees to cooperate with Mueller’s team and pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in lieu of going on trial a second time. If he fulfills his agreement to cooperate, prosecutors will drop other charges including money laundering and bank fraud.

November 20, 2018 - Trump submits written responses to questions from the special counsel.

November 26, 2018 - In a court filing, Mueller’s prosecutors accuse Manafort of violating his plea agreement and committing federal crimes by lying to the FBI and the special counsel’s office.

November 28, 2018 - A Senate vote on a Mueller protection bill is blocked by Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah.

November 29, 2018 - Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress and signs an agreement to cooperate with Mueller’s team.

December 7, 2018 - Court filings released by Mueller and federal prosecutors relating to Cohen and Manafort detail the alleged lies both men told both publicly and to the special counsel’s investigators. For the first time, prosecutors endorse Cohen’s statements that Trump himself directed Cohen to make payments designed to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump. Separately, Manafort is alleged to have lied after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, including his “contact with administration officials.” Despite the revelations in the filings, Trump tweets after their release, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

January 25, 2019 - Trump associate Roger Stone is arrested and indicted on seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. After he makes an initial appearance at a federal courthouse in Florida, he tells a crowd assembled outside that he has been falsely accused and he believes the charges are politically motivated. He says he will not testify against Trump. Protestors in the crowd chant, “Lock him up.” Stone is later convicted and sentenced to 40-months in federal prison.

March 7, 2019 - Manafort is sentenced to 47 months in prison for financial fraud convictions stemming from Mueller’s investigation, though the crimes did not relate directly to Manafort’s work as Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.

March 13, 2019 - Manafort is sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison related to conspiracy and obstruction charges.

March 22, 2019 - Mueller ends his investigation and delivers his report to Attorney General William Barr. A senior Justice Department official tells CNN that there will be no further indictments.

March 24, 2019 - Barr releases a letter summarizing the principal conclusions from Mueller’s investigation. According to Barr’s four-page letter, the evidence was not sufficient to establish that members of Trump’s campaign tacitly engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the election. Barr explains that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president committed a criminal obstruction of justice offense. While Mueller declined to prosecute Trump, the report “does not exonerate” the president, according to Barr. Ultimately, the attorney general and Rosenstein decided that the evidence was not sufficient to charge the president with obstruction, Barr writes.

March 25, 2019 - Mueller writes a letter to Barr in response to the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report. The letter contains an introduction and executive summaries marked with redactions for public release.

March 27, 2019 - Mueller writes a second letter to Barr. In the note, Mueller asks the attorney general to release the special counsel team’s redacted summaries of the report’s findings. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller writes in the letter, which is later released to the public.

March 31, 2019 - Barr sends another letter to Congress, declaring that his March 24 letter was being inaccurately characterized by the media as a “summary” of Mueller’s report. “My letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report,” Barr writes.

April 18, 2019 - A redacted version of Mueller’s report is released. The first part of the 448-page document details the evidence gathered by Mueller’s team on potential conspiracy crimes and explains their decisions not to charge individuals associated with the campaign. The second part of the report outlines ten episodes involving possible obstruction of justice by the president. According to the report, Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump was rooted in Justice Department guidelines prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Mueller writes that he would have cleared Trump if the evidence warranted exoneration.

May 29, 2019 - Mueller delivers a public statement, declaring that charging the president with a criminal offense was not a constitutional option. He says the special counsel’s office is closing and he is returning to private life.

July 24, 2019 - Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. He makes the point to the Judiciary panel that his investigation did not exonerate the President, but says he doesn’t agree with Democrats that Trump’s actions amounted to obstruction of justice.

August 2, 2019 - According to newly released figures from the Justice Department, the Mueller investigation cost a total of almost $32 million through the course of the probe.

July 10, 2020 - Stone is granted executive clemency by President Trump. The announcement comes just days before Stone was set to report to federal prison and serve his 40-month prison sentence. The following day Mueller pens an op-ed in the Washington Post saying Stone is still a convicted felon and “rightly so.”

June 2, 2021 - The University of Virginia Law School announces that Mueller will help teach a class on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.