As special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe moves closer to President Donald Trump’s inner circle, GOP lawmakers and supporters are questioning his credibility — and building possible support to dismiss him, The Washington Post reported.
Several conservative lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday demanding more details of the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email, and Russian meddling in the election, the Post reported.
Earlier this week, the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch released an internal Justice Department email that allegedly showed political bias against Trump by one of Mueller’s senior prosecutors, the Post reported.
And over the weekend, it was revealed that Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent on Mueller’s team, was removed over texts that appeared to favor Clinton and disparage Trump.
“The question really is, if Mueller was doing such a great job on investigating the Russian collusion, why could he have not found the conflict of interest within their own agency?’’ Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, asked at Wednesday’s news conference, the Post reported.
Also Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, signed letters to the Justice Department and FBI demanding more information about Strzok’s communications, The Washington Times reported.
Matthew Miller, a Democrat and former Justice Department spokesman, told the Post that Grassley is part of a GOP effort to undermine Mueller’s credibility.
“First, they want to kick up dust about Hillary Clinton so the conservative press has something to talk about that isn’t Trump’s misdeeds,’’ Miller said.
“The eventual goal, though, is to delegitimize Mueller in such a way that he can either be fired or can be ignored if he concludes the president broke the law.’’
Republicans are also expected to grill FBI Director Christopher Wray on those issues when he goes before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the Post reported.
The chairman of that committee has also been pressing the Justice Department to appoint a second special counsel — to probe Clinton, as well as the FBI’s handling of past Clinton-related probes, the Post reported.
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