Special Counsel Robert Mueller in November added veteran cyber prosecutor Ryan K. Dickey to his team investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, according to the special counsel’s spokesman on Wednesday.
Dickey joined the team in early November, on loan from the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual-Property Section, according to spokesman Peter Carr.
Although the hire happened in early November, it was first reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday.
Dickey fills “what has long been seen as a gap in expertise and potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes,” according to the Post.
His hire is notable since he is the first on the team who has specialized solely in cyber issues, but it is not a surprise, given the many cyber-related aspects of the alleged Russian meddling.
Trump critics on Twitter celebrated the news as a sign that the probe is not shutting down anytime soon, perhaps failing to realize that Dickey was hired two months ago.
Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb had openly speculated that the probe would be over by now, but it is not clear when it might wrap up.
A sign that investigators could be reaching the end of their interviews are reports that they may seek to interview Trump soon, possibly within the next few weeks.
So far, Mueller has indicted President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his long-time business partner and campaign official Rick Gates, but for charges not related to the campaign. They have both pleaded not guilty.
Mueller has also charged Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos for also lying to the FBI. Both have pleaded guilty in plea deals and are cooperating with Mueller.
Dickey previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, and participated in the investigation of the Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer,” who hacked a number of Democratic figures.
His hacking revealed that Hillary Clinton was using a private email account while she was secretary of state, and he was sentenced in September 2016 to four years and four months in U.S. prison.