U.S. politics has been abuzz since the recent release of a report by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which details findings of a two-year investigation into possible Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have made the entire Mueller Report available online. It can also be downloaded from the Special Counsel’s page on the Department of Justice’s website (archived at https://perma.cc/C24U-HCME).
The internet can be great for accessing documents, and terrible for reading and processing them. Have you tried, and given up, reading the Mueller Report on your computer or, worse yet, on your phone? Is your printing account credit too low to print the 400+ pages of the report yourself? If you are a Harvard Law School affiliate, you’re in luck. You can check out a copy of the Mueller Report, printed and bound by the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, from the law library’s reserve collection.
Further Research: Trump Administration
Perhaps, after perusing the Mueller Report, you would like to read more about Trump and his presidency? If so, you may find this Harvard Library catalog (HOLLIS) search useful:
There is also a helpful HOLLIS search for materials on the US government in general since Trump’s election:
Further Research: Investigations by the Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office
The office that issued the 2019 Mueller Report is the U.S. Justice Department’s Special Counsel’s Office. Its historical precursor, the Office of the Independent Counsel, was established under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-521). In the late 1990s, under the auspices of this office, Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr investigated potential misconduct by President Bill Clinton. That investigation led to Clinton’s impeachment, and ultimate acquittal.
In 1999, the law that governed the Office of the Independent Counsel expired. However, under Department of Justice regulations that went into effect on July 1, 1999 (64 Fed. Reg. 37038; codified at 28 C.F.R. §§ 600.1-600.10), the Attorney General gained the authorization to appoint a Special Counsel to conduct a similar type of investigation that the Independent Counsel used to perform. According to the regulations, the Special Counsel is required to “investigate and, when appropriate, to prosecute matters when the Attorney General concludes that extraordinary circumstances exist such that the public interested would be served by removing a large degree of responsibility for a matter from the Department of Justice.”
The Justice Department’s Special Counsel Office is not the same as the federal government’s Office of the Special Counsel. Under 5 U.S.C. §§ 1211-1219, the Office of the Special Counsel is part of a federal government oversight regime, which also includes the Merit Systems Protection Board, established under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (Public Law 95-454).
For more information about the history of the special/independent counsel, there is an excellent description on the PBS Frontline website, A Brief History of the Independent Counsel Law. For a more in-depth treatment of the topic, the Congressional Research Service has published a thorough, well-annotated report that was updated in March 2019 — Special Counsel Investigations: History, Authority, Appointment, and Removal.
Interested in finding additional books and articles about the history of investigations into misconduct by U.S. politicians? Below are some HOLLIS searches to get you started.
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Clinton, Bill — 1946- — Impeachment
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Clinton, Bill — 1946- — Trials, Litigation, Etc.”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Governmental Investigations — United States”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Independent Counsel”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Misconduct in Office — United States”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Political Corruption — United States”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Special Counsel”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Special Prosecutors — United States”
- HOLLIS search: Subject = “Watergate Affair, 1972-1974”