How does one go from an individual with the utmost integrity and impeccable credentials to a partisan hack, helping to carry out the awful witch-hunt against a benevolent president? That’s apparently what happened with former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
When Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the special counsel to investigate Russian influence on the 2016 election, people on both sides of the aisle hailed him as a terrific choice and one who will conduct a fair and impartial investigation. One month later, Mueller is a partisan with a serious conflict of interest and who’s hiring “Democratic donors” to fill his staff in an effort “take down” President Trump.
At the time of his appointment, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said:
“In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,’’ Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”
Democrats and Republicans praised the choice at the time. So what changed?
James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and made Donald Trump look bad, that’s what happened. So now the criticism of Mueller is raining down, and the two principal reasons have to do with a supposed conflict of interest and the staff he’s hiring.
First, as for the conflict of interest, people are behaving as though it’s a revelation to learn James Comey and Robert Mueller are friends. Anybody who’s been in and around the Justice Department for the last 15 years knows this. People are seizing on Comey’s statement that he hoped releasing the contents of his memos via a third party to the press would trigger the assistant AG to appoint a special counsel. It happened, and people are hilariously surmising that’s how it went down.
To believe that requires a leap not even Superman can make. The story of Comey’s memo along with the news Donald Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation broke in the NY Times on May 16th. Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of Mueller on May 17th. The notion Rosenstein had no intention of appointing a special counsel but just happened to do so 24 hours after the NY Times story broke and just happened to select a personal friend of James Comey veers into Alex Jones territory.
As for the conflict of interest, I am not an attorney, so I asked an attorney. In response to the criticism that Comey has personal ties to Mueller, the reaction from this attorney was, “Yeah, so what? Conflicts of interest typically involve financial, family or business ties. There is no evidence of a conflict of interest. Don’t forget, the Department of Justice ethics office did a conflicts review on Mueller.”
So scratch the conflict of interest.
The second smear is Mueller is loading up his staff with “Democratic donors” and that this is evidence Mueller is gunning for Trump. It’s difficult to see how or why this would be a disqualifier for Mueller. Of the three staffers who are “Democrat donors,” two of them, James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, worked with Mueller at the WilmerHale law firm; so, colleagues he’s comfortable with. The third, Andrew Weissmann is already at the Department of Justice working the in the criminal fraud division. Before that, he worked in the US attorneys office for the Eastern District of New York where he prosecuted the Gambino and Genovese crime families. He also worked as General Counsel for Robert Mueller during the Enron prosecution. Again, a professional connection. That’s the kind of recruiting that Mattis has done, to much praise.
I don’t want to surprise anyone here with a crazy idea, but perhaps Mueller looked at their body of work and determined they’d be valuable members of his staff instead of lining them up and making sure they didn’t send checks to Democratic politicians …
the way President Trump did for so many years.
There is nothing to suggest in Mueller’s history or since he was appointed special counsel that he’ll be anything but fair, even if aggressive. The smears against him are absurd and just another example of knee-jerk protection for Donald Trump.