by Gary Fouse
Now that it has been reported that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has widened his investigation to include possible obstruction of justice against President Trump over his firing of James Comey, it is time to question Mueller’s appointment in the first place. Even a novice could see that Mueller has a conflict of interest.
Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Now rumors are swirling that Trump is considering firing Mueller. That would surely unleash memories of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre when he demanded that Attorney General Elliot Richardson fire Archibald Cox because Cox was demanding White House tapes. Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, both refused and resigned before Robert Bork, then solicitor general, stepped in and fired Cox.
Unlike Cox, however, Mueller has a major problem that should have foreclosed his appointment in the first place. He is a close friend of Comey, who is a central figure in the whole mess. Mueller was Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, and their relationship creates the conflict. It is Comey who is at the center of claims that Trump tried to get Michael Flynn off the hook as well as put the Russian investigation to rest. Comey’s own actions after the now infamous dinner with Trump put his own credibility into question. Why did he not go directly to the attorney general if he felt Trump was improperly trying to pressure him? His explanation that Jeff Sessions was about to recuse himself seems weak at best. Why did Comey turn over a copy of his notes about the Trump meeting to a Columbia University friend who turned them over to the New York Times? Comey has testified because he wanted to get a special prosecutor named-who turned out to be his friend, Mueller. Finally, did Comey’s turning over of his notes-legally government property-constitute a violation of law? If Mueller is going to widen his investigation beyond the question of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, doesn’t he have to investigate Comey’s actions as well?
In addition, Mueller hasn’t helped his cause by appointing Democrat figures to his team most notably a woman, Jeannie Rhee, who worked for two years in Eric Holder’s Justice Department, but more significantly, was employed at the Clinton Foundation defending the foundation from a lawsuit to release information about its questionable dealings.
If Trump or his underlings broke the law I have no problem with an investigation being conducted, and it should be independent. However, the relationship between Mueller and Comey as well as the presence of Rhee and possibly others on Mueller’s team smacks of conflict of interest. Mueller should have recognized his conflict when he was offered the job. He should recognize it now and resign.