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When the histories of this astonishing time in American history are written — and I'm sure thousands of them will be written — one of the heroes, I believe, will be Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general. 

A Republican, Rosenstein was appointed as a U.S. attorney in Maryland by President George W. Bush. He served all the way up through this spring, then was chosen by President Donald Trump to serve as deputy attorney general. At the president's request, he drafted a memo laying out the case for firing FBI chief James Comey, which Trump subsequently did. A week and a half later, on May 17, Rosenstein named Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian government links to the Trump presidential campaign. The decision to name a special counsel had fallen to Rosenstein because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself.

Now, you hear people arguing Mueller has exceeded his mandate. But read Rosenstein's order that establishes the investigation and you will see that is false. The memo orders an investigation into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald J. Trump; and

"any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

So you can see how broad that mandate is. Any links may be investigated, along with any matters that arise in the course of the investigation. 

Rosenstein's appointment of the special counsel was a surprise. Its importance will only be appreciated in retrospect, I believe, after the congressional investigations fall apart, which they are in the process of doing, and after serious breaches of national security and breaking of laws is discovered by Mueller's team, which I believe will also happen.

Republican Rosenstein, promoted by President Trump, did what he felt was his duty to the country. In time, the country will thank him for that.

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Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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