by Scott Cooper
Republicans Demand Robert Mueller Testify as conservative House Republicans are expected to File a resolution Friday.
They are calling on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to recuse himself from his probe of Russian infantry in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, accusing him of conflicts of interest.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) , who wrote the resolution, accuses Mueller of having a conflict of interest because he had been serving as FBI chief when the Obama government approved a deal allowing a Russian firm to buy a Canada-based mining team using uranium operations in the United States, according to a draft obtained by The Washington Post.
President Trump has often brought up the Uranium One deal in 2010 as a means to accuse Hillary Clinton of possible corruption and foreign collusion, despite scant evidence she had been directly involved in the decision to allow it to proceed. Nine government agencies make up the government committee that reviews such deals, along with five other observer agencies; the FBI is none of them.
The GOP also launched two congressional probes Into the matter last month, questioning whether the FBI and Justice Department was looking into Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. uranium industry.
Gaetz needs the deal to be investigated by a special counsel, and he doesn’t believe Mueller is the one to do it.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller in the agency headquarters in 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
“Someone who had been involved in a deal cannot reasonably be trusted to inspect that probe,” Gaetz said in an interview.
Gaetz Added that he does not trust Mueller due to his “close personal relationship” with former FBI director James B. Comey. Similar complaints have been raised by other Republicans, though there is considerable dispute over whether the Comey-Mueller relationship was primarily professional.
Republicans, including Gaetz also have called on the Justice Department to better investigate Comey’s behavior from the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails, a matter several congressional committees are also probing.
As Of late Thursday, Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) , both members of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus had signed onto Gaetz’s effort. A spokeswoman for Gaetz said they expect to pick up more support from the Freedom Caucus, the bulk of whose members signed onto an earlier Gaetz bill calling on the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to look into Comey’s actions.
However, Gaetz may struggle to build support.
He Admitted Thursday that he doesn’t expect any Democrats to support his Mueller resolution. And many Republicans who have questions about Clinton’s role in the 2010 uranium deal nevertheless encourage Mueller’s right to do his job free from political interference.
His probe against three members of the Trump campaign: former campaign director Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Gates, and campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
Gaetz Said he talked to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Sept. 28 and requested him to appoint another special counsel to look into the uranium deal, but that Sessions maintained his own recusal from all matters related to the 2016 campaign prevented him from weighing in on the topic. Staffers for deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein, Gaetz added, wouldn’t commit to making a decision on his request.