It’s not as if Washington needed another question over the establishment’s integrity, but this one strikes at the very heart of what people are supposed to trust: the ability of the government to investigate and remove corruption.
It involves the “special prosecutor” appointed by the Department of Justice to look into the “Russian connection” case allegedly involving members of the Trump administration.
It’s loaded with overtones: First, FBI Director James Comey manipulated government information to have a special prosecutor appointed to the case, for which no evidence has so far surfaced. Then appointed was Comey’s good buddy, former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Then former House Speaker Newt Gingrich points out that Mueller is stacking the deck, hiring lawyers for the “independent” investigation who have repeatedly donated to Democrat causes, and in fact, one lawyer who worked for the Clinton Foundation, run, of course, at the time by now twice-failed Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton – the candidate that Trump wiped out in the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News commentator Gregg Jarrett wrote that the situation was rife with conflicts, including Mueller’s “flagrant conflict … that disqualifies him from serving.”
“To wit, his personal and professional closeness to Comey. They have long been allies. Comey regards his predecessor at the FBI as a mentor, while Mueller considers Comey his protege.”
Mueller actually was appointed by Rod Rosenstein, the acting attorney general, after Comey manipulated government records in which he raised his own doubts about President Trump, and had a friend release them to the media.
“The law governing the special counsel … specifically prohibits Mueller from serving if he has a ‘conflict of interest.’ Even the appearance of a conflict is disallowed,” Jarrett said.
“The same Code of Federal Regulations defines what constitutes a conflict.
That is, ‘a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution’. … Comey is that person.
He was substantially involved in the conversation with President Trump who may be the subject of an obstruction investigation. In fact, the former director is the only other person involved.”
At LawNews, commentator Robert Barnes pointed out that Mueller “must” step away from any parts of the investigation involving Comey.
The DOJ promises that no employee “may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved…” so Mueller’s involvement in any Comey situation should not happen, he wrote.
“According to published media reports and near unanimity of those who know both, Mueller enjoys an ‘unusual friendship’ with Comey in their closeness,” he wrote.
He noted that multiple analyses, “several by liberal-leaning Democratic law scholars and lawyers,” set out four grounds on which Comey actually could face prosecution.
Those include perjury for several different statement he made, including “he only released details of his memos after President Trump tweeted about taped conversations, when a New York Times story from the day before the tweet strongly suggests otherwise,” as well as violating records laws in “removing and leaking FBI memos to the New York Times.”
All of which was prelude to comments by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who said he is wary of Mueller’s team because he can’t trust “somebody who can only hire Democrats.”
“In this kind of environment, I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to somebody who can only hire Democrats, but claims that we ought to trust him,” Gingrich said on “CBS This Morning.”
He also was on “The Laura Ingraham Show” to talk about the early hires by Mueller.
“Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair.”
As previously reported among Mueller’s hirelings are two lawyers who gave the maximum contribution to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and another who donated to ex-President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
At LifeZette was a report that Gingrich’s comments “sparked a mini-meltdown in the media.”
The report said, actually, “Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.”
The report details the full extent of financial support for Democrats by the lawyers.
“Media pundits generally dismissed concerns over the Democratic Party ties of the staff Mueller is building,” the report said.
The New York Times then advanced speculation that Trump would fire Mueller.
But the White House reported the source of that information “never spoke to the president regarding this issue.”
Even the Times conceded the “idea that the investigation is illegitimate and politically motivated has been gaining currency on the political right for months.”
It all apparently was prompted by speculation – many months ago – from former CIA Director John Brennan that someone connected to Trump’s campaign may have had interactions with Russian officials.
But no evidence has surfaced that would confirm those interactions were anything beyond appropriate.
Some in support of Trump are concerned that an investigation by political opponents of the president, with the power of the DOJ behind them, could result in criticisms – or worse – over semantics and the like.
Gingrich affirmed it would be a mistake to believe such a coalition of Democrat supporters would be neutral regarding President Trump.