WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller, the newly appointed special counsel to investigate Russia’s influence in the 2016 election, potentially carries conflicts of interest with him into the investigation.
Prior to his appointment, Mueller had worked at Wilmer Hale, a law firm with clients that include former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Each of these individuals potentially could be witnesses or deemed important subjects within Mueller’s probe.
On the other hand, Fox News anchor and former defense attorney Gregg Jarrett points to another possible conflict of interest Mueller may have: his past working relationship with former FBI director Jim Comey — the man President Trump fired just two weeks ago.
Part of Mueller’s investigation could examine if President Trump obstructed justice when he reportedly told Comey in relation to a federal probe of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
Jarrett writes at Fox News: “[Mueller] and James Comey are good friends and former colleagues who worked hand-in-hand for years at the FBI. Agents will tell you they were joined at the hip. They stood together in solidarity, both threatening to resign over the warrantless wiretapping fiasco involving then-Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004.”
He continues, “Comey regards his predecessor as a mentor, while Mueller considers Comey his protégé. When Comey was appointed to succeed Mueller as FBI Director, both men appeared together and were effusive in their praise of one another. Their relationship is not merely a casual one. It is precisely the kind of association which ethical rules are designed to guard against.”
As of Friday, a Washington Post report says a White House staffer close to the president is a “significant person of interest” in the Russia investigation.