The audacity of those who are attempting to assassinate the character of special counsel Robert Mueller is appalling and abhorrent.

Mueller has proved his patriotism. When most of his classmates, and many of his current critics, were searching for ways to avoid the draft in the 1960s, Mueller was mourning the loss of a college lacrosse teammate, David Spencer Hackett, who was killed by enemy small-arms fire in Vietnam in 1967. “Many of us saw in him the person we wanted to be,” Mueller said years later in a Princeton Alumni Day speech.

Mueller volunteered for military service; by 1968, he was commanding a Marine rifle platoon in Vietnam. He returned to the U.S. with a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals. He was wounded in the thigh by an AK-47 round.

Following his distinguished service from 1968 to 1971, Mueller earned a law degree. He worked for 12 years in U.S. Attorney offices in San Francisco and Boston, investigating and prosecuting fraud, terrorism, corruption, narcotics conspiracies and money laundering. He later worked in the Justice Department, where he oversaw the prosecution of Manuel Noriega, John Gotti and the Lockerbie bombers. One week prior to 9/11, he was unanimously confirmed as FBI director, serving in that position longer than anyone since J. Edgar Hoover.

Robert Mueller is an American war hero and a distinguished legal scholar. Most Americans will stand with those who have proven their devotion to duty, flag and country before standing with those who have proven they will place party before country in the interest of self-aggrandizement and power. It should also be noted that Mueller’s current appointment received overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Jerry Genesio