President Donald Trump and his allies have set their sights on attacking special counsel Robert Mueller in an attempt to paint Mueller as an anti-Trump partisan.
When Mueller, a former FBI director, was first appointed to the role by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, conservatives cheered the decision, saying he would conduct a fair investigation into alleged Russian election interference or go after Trump’s enemies.
“Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down,” former House Speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich tweeted on May 17.
Conservative commentator and author of “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome” Ann Coulter tweeted that same day, “People who have most to worry about with appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller: Hillary, Loretta Lynch, John Podesta, Bill Clinton…”
Fast forward a few weeks and Mueller has become an enemy of the White House. This charge is buoyed by news articles about his close relationship with former FBI director James Comey and the political leanings of lawyers he has hired for his legal team.
Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway highlighted one of these stories in a tweet Tuesday. “FEC report: Mueller’s team includes big Democrat donors. Some maxed out, none wanted Trump to be POTUS,” Conway tweeted.
Three of the five known attorneys that Mueller hired have donated a total of $56,000 to Democratic candidates. Two of these attorneys donated the maximum legal amount to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Mueller’s position gives him much leeway, and Trump allies are worried that this will lead to charges completely unrelated to the investigation into Russian election interference and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Mueller is now investigating President Trump for obstruction of justice. Trump responded to that report in a tweet Thursday: “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.”
“You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” the president went on to say.
Ken Starr, the special prosecutor during the Clinton presidency, started investigating shady real estate deals, and years later the president ended up getting impeached for perjury in relation to an extramarital affair.
Gingrich tweeted Thursday that the revelation that Mueller is looking into obstruction of justice charges makes him the “anti-Trump special counsel.” The former House Speaker pointed to a column from former Bush adviser Karl Rove Thursday that warned about Mueller not focusing on the Russia investigation.
President Trump can fire Mueller, which his friend Chris Ruddy floated was a possibility on PBS Monday. The White House has denied that Trump currently intends to do this.