Although he was brought on to lead the Russia investigation, Mueller is allowed to look beyond it. When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Mueller as special counsel — Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused from investigations related to the election — the appointment order said that Mueller was authorized to investigate Russian interference as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That latter statement is a broad catch-all.
Defense lawyers told BuzzFeed News that Wednesday’s report did not come as a surprise, given the amount of information that had already publicly surfaced. Shanlon Wu, a defense lawyer in Washington and a former federal prosecutor, said that it made “perfect sense” that Mueller’s investigation at this point would encompass any allegations of obstruction.
“It would be the normal course if you were looking at this current situation and you have the former director of the FBI saying, ‘Oh, the president said this to me, I was feeling uncomfortable about it,’ that [Mueller] would include a look at that,” Wu said.