Robert Mueller, who announced indictments on Monday against three people affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
The recent indictments are reportedly only a “small part” of a large-scale ongoing investigation” into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
In Washington, Mueller has a reputation for being a tenacious investigator. Both Republicans and Democrats welcomed his appointment in May with bipartisan backing.
The increasing breadth of his investigation, however, has irked some Trump supporters.
Mueller’s colleagues, meanwhile, say he has proven his bipartisan bona fides over the years. After all, he served under both Republican and Democratic presidents as FBI director and as an attorney in the Department of Justice.
As the probe into Trump and his associates heats up, here’s a look at Mueller’s history:
Born Robert Swan Mueller III in New York City in 1944, “Bob” grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the elder brother to four younger sisters. Their father was an executive at DuPont. He captained the soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams in high school.
Mueller went to undergrad at Princeton University, got his Masters in international relations from New York University, and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.
When one of his friends died in the Vietnam War, Mueller was inspired to join the military. He had been previously pursuing a career in the medical field.
In 1968, Mueller enlisted in the Marine Corps and went on to become a decorated officer serving in Vietnam. He received a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and two Navy Commendation Medals.
After his military service, Mueller joined the San Francisco office of the international law firm, Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro. He worked as a litigator for three years.
Then he spent more than a decade in government working for US Attorney offices in California, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, gaining particular expertise in prosecuting white collar crime.
Mueller is respected among his colleagues for his dedication to public service. In one example, a former associate was stunned when Mueller chose in 1995 to work in the homicide section of the US Attorneys Office in DC, which was perceived as a demotion for the highly credentialed lawyer.
Mueller reportedly explained his decision by saying, “Theres just too many young people dying violently in this city, and I want to do my share to put an end to that.”
Working on major cases involving financial fraud, terrorism, public corruption, money laundering, and narcotics conspiracies helped Mueller become a seasoned investigator over the years.
A week before 9/11, he was sworn in as the director of the FBI under President George W. Bush. The Senate confirmed him unanimously even though he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the time.
In 2002, Mueller was the subject of lawsuits filed by Muslim immigrants who claimed they had been beaten and abused by officials in immigration detention centers because of policies the Bush Administration implemented after 9/11. The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that Mueller, along with John Ashcroft, the former attorney general, could not be sued.
In 2004, there was a standoff between Mueller and Bush after he and other Justice Department officials threatened to resign if changes were not made to the National Security Agencys domestic wiretapping program. Bush conceded in the end.
After Mueller finished his 10-year term in 2011, President Barack Obama asked him to stay for two more years. He was the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover, who founded the bureau in 1935.
Mueller is often praised on Capitol Hill for his service under both Republicans and Democratic presidents.
Even though Mueller is a Republican, many Democrats admire him. Earlier this year, Democratic Senator Jim Himes said, “Theres not anybody with as much credibility internally or whose integrity is as unimpeachable as Bob Mueller.”
But its Muellers breadth of experience with high-profile litigation that has earned him the most respect.
During his private and public sector careers, Mueller presided over many noteworthy cases, including the prosecutions of Panamas former dictator, Manuel Noriega, and New York City crime boss, John Gotti.
In 2015, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell put Mueller in charge of investigating the widely-publicized Ray Rice incident. Rice, then a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was indicted on third-degree aggravated assault for beating his fiancée, although the charges were later dropped.
In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all Russia-related investigative matters after failing to disclose his campaign-trail meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, setting off a chain of events.
In May, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who testified before Congress that he thought it was because of the investigation he was conducting into Trump and his associates ties to Russia. Sessions had recommended his firing, so his recusal was then thrown into question.
On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel to take over the Russia investigation, including “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
Some Trump allies have criticized Muellers closeness to Comey and accused him of overreaching in the investigation. In response to calls for his firing, senators introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow Mueller to challenge the Department of Justice in court if he were removed.
George Papadopoulos, 30, a foreign-policy adviser to Trumps campaign in early 2016, secretly pleaded guilty October 5 to making false statements to the FBI about the nature and extent of his contacts with foreign nationals who he knew had ties to senior Russian government officials.
On Monday, October 30, Trumps campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manaforts former business associate Rick Gates pleaded not guilty after they were indicted by a grand jury on 12 counts.
Experts say this is just the beginning. Its unclear how close Mueller may be to concluding the case, but some estimates say it could take at least a year.