Some Republicans say that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election would amount to a “coup” if it’s allowed to continue.
“We are at risk of a coup d’etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person, with no oversight, to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz from the House floor on Thursday.
Last week, the far-right House Freedom Caucus introduced a motion calling for Mueller to leave the investigation because of “obvious conflicts of interest.” They contend Mueller is unable to be impartial because he headed the FBI during an investigation into the Uranium One deal, in which the agency looked into whether the Clinton Foundation benefited from government approval of the sale of a U.S. uranium company to the Russian state-owned atomic-energy company Rosatom. No wrongdoing was found — Hillary Clinton was not on the panel that approved the sale. Republicans also say that Mueller’s current investigation into Russian meddling is tainted because he is friends with former FBI director James Comey, whose firing by President Trump triggered the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
“Could Mr. Mueller be acting with vengeance? Or to vindicate his good friend and colleague James Comey, who had a very public feud with the president?” asked Congressman Trent Franks from the House floor Wednesday.
“Jim and Bob are friends in the sense that co-workers are friends. They don’t really have a personal relationship,” Comey’s attorney David Kelley has said.
Mueller has issued his first indictments in the Russia investigation against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s business associate Richard Gates. Both are charged with several crimes, including conspiracy against the United States.
The House resolution for Mueller to step down would not be binding but would put the chamber’s objection to him on record.
The Freedom Caucus’s action follows calls by President Trump to end the Russia investigation and launch an inquiry into Hillary Clinton. “Why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweeted when Manafort and Gates were indicted. White House chief of staff has echoed Trump’s call.
“This is the scandal of our time,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), a sponsor of the motion. “It aff