Special counsel Robert Mueller has tapped top criminal law specialist Michael Dreeben to work on the investigation into possible collusion by associates of President Donald Trump with Russian officials, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Dreeben, a Justice Department deputy solicitor general, is respected by both Democrats and Republicans for his extensive knowledge of criminal law, the article stated. He will work part time with Mueller.
"Michael is the most brilliant and most knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer in America — period," said Walter Dellinger, a law professor at Duke University School of Law who also served as acting solicitor general for the 1996-1997 term of the Supreme Court.
"He's a straight shooter and is held in the greatest esteem by the FBI and lawyers in U.S. attorneys offices all over the country," Dellinger added.
Former Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara also hailed Dreeben, tweeting Friday that he was "1 of the top legal & appellate minds at DOJ in modern times."
Mueller, a former FBI director, has been building his team of legal experts as his investigation gets under way. Dreeben will join former deputy assistant attorney general Jeannie Rhee and Andrew Weissmann, who heads the Justice Department's fraud section.
Also named to aid in the investigation are Aaron Zebley, Mueller's chief of staff when he was FBI chief, and James Quarles, who was an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force.
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