We recently marked the one-year anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion—an investigation that has yielded 17 indictments, five guilty pleas, and constant headaches for Donald Trump’s presidential administration.
President Trump commemorated the occasion as only he could, with another angry, misleading tweet intended to rile up his base, denouncing the Russia investigation as a “witch hunt.”
In an attempt to delegitimize the Mueller probe, the president has tweeted about a “witch hunt” 39 times since it began. His supporters, meanwhile, continue to levy personal attacks against Mueller to erode the special counsel’s longstanding support among Republicans. Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway recently appeared on Fox and Friends with a clear threat: “I think those who have been digging and conjecturing for over a year should be careful what they wish for.”
Pro-Trump journalist Sara Carter made the ludicrous accusation that Mueller protected Mafia informant Whitey Bulger while serving as a federal prosecutor in Boston during the 1980s. She then shared the unfounded allegations with Sean Hannity. Adam Gingrich, who worked for the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania, introduced the Twitter hashtags #RiseUp and #FireMueller.
The conservative media — a constant thorn in President Bill Clinton’s side during Ken Starr’s investigation in the 1990s — has been all too willing to undermine the rule of law two decades later. Echoing the man in the White House, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson consistently decries the Mueller investigation as a “partisan witch hunt,” claiming it is “designed to topple a president.”
If Mueller is indeed a “partisan” Democrat, then he’s done a remarkable job of hiding it. A longtime Republican, Mueller led the Justice Department’s criminal division under President George H.W. Bush and served as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under his son, President George W. Bush. He has never once criticized President Trump on the record.
Pro-Trump Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for slandering an honest man and smearing his investigation to score cheap political points. For decades, the Republican Party has stood for the rule of law, cognizant of the need to hold our elected officials to a higher standard of accountability. It is one of the reasons why I myself am a Republican.
Regardless of whether the Trump campaign actually colluded with the Russian government, the investigation must run its course. After 17 indictments and five guilty pleas, we know that the Kremlin interfered with the 2016 election. The special counsel must be given as much time as necessary to determine if and to what degree the Trump campaign may have been involved.
Republicans have always pursued the truth. After the 2012 Benghazi attack that cost four American lives, Republicans demanded an investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in our failure to defend the U.S. embassy. As Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) put it: “I remain convinced our fellow citizens deserve all of the facts of what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi and they deserve an investigative process worthy of the memory of those who died and worthy of the trust of our fellow citizens.”
And he got one: The Benghazi investigation lasted two years and cost more than $7 million.
When Clinton’s 2016 email scandal suggested gross negligence on her part, Republicans again demanded the truth. At a rally in my home state, then-candidate Donald Trump claimed Clinton’s “corruption is on a scale we have never seen before,” describing her mishandling of 33,000 emails as “bigger than Watergate.” Even now, House Republicans continue to probe Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business years ago.
Surely the integrity of American elections is worthy of a tireless pursuit of the truth.
The rule of law is the rule of law. It holds no blind allegiance to party. Our public servants must uphold the rule of law universally with an unyielding dedication to discovering the truth, not to protecting their fellow Republicans or Democrats.
In fact, it is because a Republican is at the center of this probe that it is incumbent upon Republicans to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Democrats abandoned the moral high ground long ago. America cannot afford to have Republicans follow suit.
Jennifer Horn is the former chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.