Monday, June 19, 2017

Insta: We need a Robert Mueller resignation or a second special counsel

Via InstapunditSpecial Counsel Robert Mueller has a problem: He has a disqualifying conflict of interest regarding a large part of his work. It involves a choice between investigating or relying on former FBI director James Comey, a longtime close friend of Mueller’s.

Ideally, he’ll recognize that and resign. But if he doesn’t resign, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should appoint another special counsel to take over the obstruction-of-justice part of the investigation, where Mueller is disqualified.

At present, there are two investigations: One into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians (a claim that even Democrat Chris Matthews admitted fell apart after Comey’s recent testimony) and an investigation into whether, while being investigated for this claimed collusion, President Trump or someone else obstructed justice. That investigation is closely tied to Comey, and so is Mueller.

As Bill Otis wrote in these pages last week, Mueller is too close to Comey to be impartial, and that violates Justice Department conflict of interest rules. As Otis noted, “Comey and Mueller have been friends for nearly 15 years. They were partners in the episode that defined Comey's professional persona more than any other in his public service. It would be surprising if it had not also forged a permanent bond with Mueller ... Comey now finds himself at the center of the Russian investigation over which Mueller presides. Questions swirl around Comey — about whether the president wanted/hinted/hoped/asked/directed/or something else the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn to be stopped/abandoned/slowed/soft-peddled/something else. This is probably the central element of the obstruction of justice case that Trump's opponents would like to see made against him. Questions also swirl about Comey's notes about this conversation and why he gave them to a private individual (professor Dan Richman of Columbia Law) to convey to journalists. Additional questions have arisen about whether this curious and seemingly devious means of putting the contents of the notes in the public domain (leaking, in other words) was designed specifically to bring about the appointment of a special counsel outside the president's direct reach — and, indeed, whether Comey wanted, expected or intended his friend Mueller to get the job.”

And as Otis notes, the Justice Department’s rules forbid a person from participating in an investigation if doing so "may result in a personal ... conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof." Mueller clearly has one here.

(Link to more)


edutcher said...

As Insty is pretty well respected, this will carry some weight.

And it's a view that's gathering support.

ricpic said...

Wouldn't it be sump'n if Mueller really is the Mr. Integrity that's been advertised and in a month or two he hands in a "There's nothin' there" report and half the heads in DC explode? Who'm I kiddin', three quarters.

Actually, Rush tentatively offered that as a prediction based on the word of "people in the know" Rush knows.

edutcher said...

Could be.

CYA is staff of life in DC.