Monday, December 25, 2017

Collusion, Obstruction, Doesn't Matter, We'll Make Something Stick!

WaPo  |  “Report: ‘ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE’ Now it all starts to make sense!”

Republicans in Congress took the cue, seizing upon the texts to attack the credibility of the FBI and the Mueller investigation.

“The senior levels of the FBI have been infected with an intractable bias that seemed to favor Hillary Clinton and work against President Donald Trump,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Fox News on Wednesday, adding, “It’s time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up: If there’s evidence of collusion, let’s see it.”

The calls for Mueller’s ouster are strongest in the House, where a group of Republicans has been calling for the special counsel to resign.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has said Mueller’s investigation should proceed without interference. But he has allowed several committee investigations that are calling into question the integrity of the probe.

“The House has a constitutional obligation to exercise congressional oversight, and the speaker is supportive of our committee chairmen carrying out their work,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

In recent days, for example, three House committees grilled McCabe over his participation in the FBI’s Russia investigation and his role in the FBI examination into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Democrats called it a thinly veiled attempt to weaken McCabe and slow down Mueller’s probe. McCabe plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits, people familiar with the matter told The Post.

“Those people should be investigating the real crime, which is Russia’s interference in our democracy, and instead they’re being hauled before a six-hour series of interviews,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.).

At the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and a small group of Republican lawmakers are discussing writing a report next year that would highlight alleged “corruption” at the FBI, according to people familiar with the plans. Such a report would focus on information about the conduct of FBI officials in the course of the Russia investigation, those people said.

On the Senate side, one of the loudest voices has been Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee and has raised questions about the impartiality of Mueller’s probe.
He has called for McCabe to be fired and shown a willingness to dig into Mueller’s past tenure as FBI director, complaining Thursday that the FBI and the Justice Department have been too slow to rout out people peddling “political influence.”

Grassley has also called for a second special counsel to look at decisions the FBI and the Justice Department made at the time that the Obama administration approved a uranium deal giving Russia a significant stake in the U.S. market. The inquiry would bring de facto scrutiny of Mueller, who was FBI director at the time.

Grassley said that his staff is in touch with Nunes’s staff, though he would not specify exactly what elements of their committees’ parallel inquiries they were communicating about.