Like the lead-up to a great trial, speculation is swirling about the strength of the legal teams involved in the Special Counsel investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
Fox News ran a piece that went into some detail about who Robert Mueller has brought on so far, hirings that “[speak] to the seriousness of the Russia probe,” in their words.
Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben and Andrew Weissmann, head of the fraud section in the DOJ Criminal Division, have both joined Mueller as full- or part-time assistants in the investigation, a move that drew the ire of Newt Gingrich, who repeated the president’s portrayal of the investigation as a “witch hunt” over the weekend.
Gingrich told the audience of Fox News Sunday they are “gearing up to go after Trump.”
Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017
Republicans need to focus on closing down independent counsel because it clearly isn’t independent. LIVE now: https://t.co/MfdkcTFmEH
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 9, 2017
Meanwhile, journalist Byron York questioned Mueller’s degree of fairness and fitness in the probe given his close relationship with James Comey, who is unquestionably a lead witness in the case:
Should a prosecutor pursue a case in which the star witness is a close friend? And when the friend is not only a witness but also arguably a victim — of firing — by the target of the investigation? And when the prosecutor might also be called on to investigate some of his friend’s actions? The case would be difficult enough even without the complicating friendship.
York concluded that its a question “that must be answered in the course of the Mueller investigation.”
The Right, meanwhile, should be planning for a wider war, a counterrevolution that begins with the demand that Loretta Lynch testify whether she instructed James Comey to downplay the severity of the investigation into Hillary Clinton and her illegal use of a private email server to handle classified information.
Lindsey Graham, who’s proven surprisingly useful since his failed presidential bid, has amped up those calls in recent days. Surprisingly, Senator Dianne Feinstein, citing a “queasy feeling,” has joined him.
Mueller was never going to go it alone; some amplification of the Special Counsel’s legal muscle was inevitable. And, of course, if you believe the President is not guilty of any crimes, political or legal, there’s little to worry about.
The concern is that Gingrich and York are both right: that the Special Counsel investigation is compromised by Mueller’s leadership to pursue discoveries other than those that pertain to the President. What if, as York writes, it adheres too faithfully to the main thrust of Rod Rosenstein’s directive — the Trump-Russia connection — and fails to pursue threads like the Lynch discovery that involve, well, actual obstructions of justice?
After all, how do you lead an investigation into one of your “brothers-in arms?”
More on this tonight.