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On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein—then serving as Acting
Attorney General for the Russia investigation following the recusal of former Attorney General
Jeff Sessions on March 2, 2016—appointed the Special Counsel “to investigate Russian
interference with the 2016 presidential election and related matters.” Office of the Deputy Att’y
Gen., Order No. 3915-2017, Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference
with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters, May 17, 2017) (“Appointment Order”).
Relying on “the authority vested” in the Acting Attorney General, “including 28 U.S.C. §§ 509,
510, and 515,” the Acting Attorney General ordered the appointment of a Special Counsel “in
order to discharge [the Acting Attorney General’s] responsibility to provide supervision and
management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the
Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” Appointment Order
(introduction). “The Special Counsel,” the Order stated, “is authorized to conduct the investigation
confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017,” including:

(i) any links and/0r coordination between the Russian government and individuals
associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and

(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 CPR. § 600.4(a).

Appointment Order 1i (b). Section 600.4 affords the Special Counsel “the authority to investigate
and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the
Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence,
and intimidation of witnesses.” 28 CPR. § 600.4(3). The authority to investigate “any matters
that arose . . . directly from the investigation,” Appointment Order 11 (b)(ii), covers similar crimes
that may have occurred during the course of the FBI’s confirmed investigation before the Special
Counsel’s appointment. “If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate,” the
Order further provided, “the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from
the investigation of these matters.” Id. 11 (c). Finally, the Acting Attorney General made applicable
“Sections 600.4 through 600.10 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations.” Id 11 (d).

The Acting Attorney General further clarified the scope of the Special Counsel’s
investigatory authority in two subsequent memoranda. A memorandum dated August 2, 2017,
explained that the Appointment Order had been “worded categorically in order to permit its public
release without confirming specific investigations involving specific individuals.” It then
confirmed that the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate
allegations that three Trump campaign officials—Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and George
Papadopoulos—“committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials
with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”
The memorandum also confirmed the Special Counsel’s authority to investigate certain other
matters, including two additional sets of allegations involving Manafort (crimes arising from
payments he received from the Ukrainian government and crimes arising from his receipt of loans


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from a bank whose CEO was then seeking a position in the Trump Administration); allegations
that Papadopoulos committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the Israeli
government; and four sets of allegations involving Michael Flynn, the former National Security
Advisor to President Trump.

On October 20, 2017, the Acting Attorney General confirmed in a memorandum the
Special Counsel’s investigative authority as to several individuals and entities. First, “as part of a
full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016
presidential election,” the Special Counsel was authorized to investigate “the pertinent activities
of Michael Cohen, Richard Gates,—, Roger Stone, and

“Confirmation of the authorization to investigate such individuals,” the memorandum
stressed, “does not suggest that the Special Counsel has made a determination that any of them has
committed a crime.” Second, with respect to Michael Cohen, the memorandum recognized the
Special Counsel’s authority to investigate “leads relate[d] to Cohen’s establishment and use of
Essential Consultants LLC to, inter alia, receive funds from Russian-backed entities.” Third, the
memorandum memorialized the Special Counsel’s authority to investigate individuals and entities
who were possibly engaged in “jointly undertaken activity” with existing subjects of the
investigation, including Paul Manafort. Finally, the memorandum described an FBI investigation
opened before the Special Counsel’s appointment into “allegations that [then-Attorney General
Jeff Sessions] made false statements to the United States Senate[,]” and confirmed the Special
Counsel’s authority to investigate that matter.

The Special Counsel structured the investigation in view of his power and authority “to
exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States Attorney.” 28 C.F.R.
§600.6. Like a U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Special Counsel’s Office considered a range of
classified and unclassified information available to the FBI in the course of the Office’s Russia
investigation, and the Office structured that work around evidence for possible use in prosecutions
of federal crimes (assuming that one or more crimes were identified that warranted prosecution).
There was substantial evidence immediately available to the Special Counsel at the inception of
the investigation in May 2017 because the FBI had, by that time, already investigated Russian
election interference for nearly 10 months. The Special Counsel’s Office exercised its judgment
regarding what to investigate and did not, for instance, investigate every public report of a contact
between the Trump Campaign and Russian-affiliated individuals and entities.

The Office has concluded its investigation into links and coordination between the Russian
government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign. Certain proceedings associated
with the Office’s work remain ongoing. After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney
General, the Office has transferred responsibility for those remaining issues to other components
of the Department of Justice and FBI. Appendix D lists those transfers.

Two district courts confirmed the breadth of the Special Counsel’s authority to investigate
Russia election interference and links and/or coordination with the Trump Campaign. See United
States v. Manafort, 312 F. Supp. 3d 60, 79-83 (D.D.C. 2018); United States v. Manafort, 321 F.
Supp. 3d 640, 650-655 (E.D. Va. 2018). In the course of conducting that investigation, the Office
periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the
Special Counsel’s authority established by the Acting Attorney General. After consultation with


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