by WorldTribune Staff, June 13, 2017
After speaking with President Donald Trump about the ongoing Russia investigation, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said special prosecutor Robert Mueller can’t be trusted and Congress “should now intervene and … abolish the independent counsel.”
“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 of Mueller on the June 13 “CBS This Morning” broadcast.
At least four people on Mueller’s team are Democratic Party donors. Justice Department Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, Jeannie Rhee, James Quarles, and Andrew Weisman have all donated to various Clinton and Obama campaigns over the years, reports said.
“These are people who are going to be after Trump,” Gingrich said, adding that Mueller “apparently couldn’t find a single pro-Trump attorney to hire, and I just think that’s a rigged game, and I think that it’s a mistake to pretend this is going to be some neutral investigation.”
Gingrich initially supported the choice of Mueller but said he changed his mind after he spoke with Trump on June 12.
“He called me because I’ve been very clear about the fact that Mueller hiring four Democrats – his first four attorneys are all Democrats. One of them worked for the Clinton Foundation,” Gingrich said on CBS, adding that it is a “mistake to think this is going to be some neutral investigation.”
“I think Congress should now intervene and they should abolish the independent counsel, because Comey makes so clear that it’s the poison fruit of a deliberate manipulation by the FBI director leaking to The New York Times, deliberately set up this particular situation. It’s very sick.”
Many observers point to the close friendship between Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey, the Russian probe’s star witness, in saying the independent counsel is already shaping up to be less than “independent.”
Related: Lawyers weigh in on ethics of Comey being star witness for best friend’s probe, June 12, 2017
According to Section II(c) of the Department of Justice’s Government Ethics Outline:
No DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.
Section II(c) derives its definition of a “personal or political relationship” from 28 CFR 45.2(c)(2), which states:
Personal relationship means a close and substantial connection of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality. An employee is presumed to have a personal relationship with his father, mother, brother, sister, child and spouse. Whether relationships (including friendships) of an employee to other persons or organizations are “personal” must be judged on an individual basis with due regard given to the subjective opinion of the employee.
Mueller and Comey worked alongside each other during the George W. Bush years when Mueller served as FBI chief and Comey was Attorney General John Ashcroft’s deputy.
Comey also once described Mueller as such:
“His gift is that he’s decisive without being impulsive. He’ll sit, listen, ask questions and make a decision. I didn’t realize at the time how rare that is in Washington.”
Elliott Hamilton, writing for The Daily Wire on June 12, said that “given all of this information, it would obligate Mueller to recuse himself from issues surrounding his friend and former colleague.”
Gingrich said Trump is “pretty confident” that the Russia investigation will go away.
“I think the president is actually pretty confident that ultimately this is all going to come out in the wash and ultimately he’s still going to be president. And this stuff is all going to go away.”
Meanwhile, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told PBS on June 12 that Trump is considering firing Mueller.
“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Ruddy told Judy Woodruff of the “PBS NewsHour.” “I think he’s weighing that option. I think it’s pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.”
Ruddy, who did not claim to have spoken to the president about the matter, appeared to confirm comments made by Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow.
Appearing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Sekulow said that while the idea has not been brought up in the White House, Trump had not ruled out firing Mueller.