The Hill reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has confirmed that he is not firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller from the Russian interference investigation because he does not see cause to do so.
Rosenstein faced tough questions from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday amid revelations that FBI officials on Mueller’s team had exhibited political bias. President Trump’s allies have seized on the reports to discredit the investigation.
Rosenstein on Wednesday defended the special counsel, telling ranking member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) that he has seen no good cause to fire Mueller.
The deputy attorney general, who is overseeing the Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, told lawmakers that Mueller had taken the appropriate action by firing an FBI agent on the investigation over anti-Trump text messages he had sent to a colleague during the campaign.
Nadler questioned Rosenstein in the video below, “Have you seen good cause to fire special counsel Mueller?”
To which he responded, “No.”
Nadler then asked him how he would react if he was directed to fire Mueller and Rosenstein retorted that he would follow the regulation. He said, “If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not.”
“Based upon his reputation, his service, his patriotism, and his experience with the department and the FBI, I believe he was an ideal choice for this task,” Rosenstein spoke of Mueller.
“I believe that based upon his reputation his service, his patriotism … I believe he was an ideal choice,” he added.
Rep. Jim Jordan told the Justice Department that they should disband the inquiry and added, “I think the public trust in this whole thing is gone.”
Rosenstein later pointedly defended Mueller’s character, pointing to his record as a Vietnam combat veteran who has spent most of his life in public service.
Rosenstein also declined to rule out — by refusing to address the question — that Mueller could delve into Trump’s personal finances, an area the president’s lawyers have said should be out of bounds.
As the hearing concluded, he was asked by Goodlatte why on Dec. 6 he told WRC, the Washington DC NBC affiliate, that he was satisfied with the state of the Mueller investigation.
He replied: “Based upon what I know, I believe Director Mueller is appropriately remaining within his scope and conducting himself appropriately.”
The text messages provided to Congress Tuesday night were between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who were romantically involved. They show “extreme bias against President Trump,” Goodlatte said, and suggest that high-ranking FBI officials involved in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server “were personally invested in the outcome of the election, and clearly let their strong political opinions cloud their professional judgment.”
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