Robert Mueller’s mafia busters and jihadi hunters set their sights on Donald Trump 

One is famed for taking on mafia strongmen like Vincent “the Chin” Gigante and Sammy the Bull.  

Another was a jihadi hunter who spent time in the field tracking down Al-Qaeda bombers.  

And then there is the man who has already toppled one president, Richard Nixon, by prosecuting the Watergate scandal. 

To Donald Trump, the 17 members of Robert Mueller’s legal team will be little known. But they could hold the fate of his presidency in their hands. 

This week it emerged that Mr Trump is set to be called for interview by Mr Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling. 

It has triggered a flurry of activity in the White House, whose legal team is exploring whether answers can be provided in writing, and a tepid response from the man himself. 

“We’ll see what happens”, Mr Trump said, rowing back on a “100 per cent” promise last year to be interviewed if asked. He added it was “unlikely” to happen. 

Robert Mueller, the former FBI director leading the Russian investigation 

Robert Mueller, the former FBI director leading the Russian investigation 

Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

However reports suggest otherwise. Mr Mueller is expected to call for the US president to give testimony under oath within weeks, according to US media. 

Two interview topics will be at the top of the list: obstruction of justice claims and the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. 

Mr Trump’s firing of James Comey, the FBI director leading the Russian investigation, is key to the former; his advisers’ interactions with Kremlin figures the focus of the latter. 

The dangers are clear – it was Bill Clinton’s misleading testimony to a federal grand jury, not simply his affair with Monica Lewinsky, which triggered impeachment proceedings.

Andrew Weissmann made a name for himself taking on mafia bosses

Andrew Weissmann made a name for himself taking on mafia bosses

Credit:
JAMES NIELSEN/AFP/Getty Images

Even a cursory glance at Mr Mueller’s legal team shows what the president is up against. 

Andrew Weissmann, a bespectacled Princeton lawyer dubbed Mr Mueller’s “pit bull”, made a name fighting high-ranking mobsters before taking on Enron, the failed energy giant. 

Aaron Zebley spent seven years as a special agent in the FBI’s counterterrorism division before being chief of staff to two of its directors. 

James Quarles, a former assistant prosecutor in the Watergate investigation, is an expert in campaign finance and said to be point person with the White House. 

Aaron Zebley worked in counter-terrorism before becoming chief of staff to two FBI directors

Aaron Zebley worked in counter-terrorism before becoming chief of staff to two FBI directors

Credit:
 News Scan

Others on the list include experts on white collar crime and cybersecurity. Together they have more than a century of experience at the Justice Department. 

For some of Mr Trump’s allies, the best course of action is obvious: Just say no. 

“If I was the President’s lawyer, I would not advise doing that [interview],” Matt Gaetz, a Republican senator from Florida, told CNN recently. 

He added: “The President only risks some inadvertent misstatement becoming a new national narrative.” Or, indeed, much worse. 

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