Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller recently added a prosecutor to his team investigating President Donald Trump and Russia, according to reports, who previously worked for former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara was appointed by former President Barack Obama and later fired by Trump.
Andrew Goldstein, who served as the assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has been added to Mueller’s team, according to the New York Times. Goldstein, 43, previously led the district’s public corruption unit under Bharara for about a year and has worked in the office since 2010.
Goldstein is joining a team of 11 others, all hand-picked by former FBI Director Mueller to assist him in his investigation. Mueller has been tasked by the DOJ with investigating alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election as well as allegations that Trump’s presidential campaign had ties to Russian officials.
Mueller was appointed special counsel following public outcry over Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May, who was actively investigating the Russian interference claims as well as allegations that Trump’s campaign had unsavory connections to Russia.
The decision by Trump's DOJ to appoint Mueller was meant to show the investigation would be independent and fair, but the president has been openly critical of Mueller and his team. He believes they are anything but independent.
Trump said on Fox News' “Fox and Friends” last month that all the members of Mueller’s team are “Hillary Clinton supporters."
"I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters,” Trump said last month, according to the Washington Examiner.
According to reports, at least three of Mueller’s appointments have donated to Democrats in the past, including to organizations that supported Clinton’s run for the White House last year.
During his time in the Manhattan attorney's office, Goldstein served under Bharara, who up until March served as the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Bharara was controversially fired by the Trump administration, along with 46 other Obama-era U.S. attorneys, earlier this year.
The Southern District of New York’s U.S. attorney’s office is known for pursing public corruption, white-collar crimes and Wall Street fraud cases. One of the more prominent recent cases includes the successful prosecution of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2015 for public corruption.
Before taking on his role as special counsel, Mueller served as FBI director for 12 years after being appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2001. He served until 2013 and was succeeded by Comey.