Since his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has enjoyed fairly bipartisan praise in Washington D.C. for his apparent impartiality.
That said, Newt Gingrich, a former 'informal advisor' to President Trump, thinks that Comey cast a dark shadow over Mueller's independence last week when he admitted under oath, before the Senate Intelligence Committee, that he leaked FBI documents to the New York Times with the express intent of getting a Special Counsel appointed to investigate Trump and various members of his campaign team. All of which prompted the following tweet from Gingrich early this morning:
"Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink."
Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017
As The Hill notes, several of Mueller's early, notable hires have all been contributors to Hillary's and/or Obama's previous campaigns.
Michael Dreeben, who serves as the Justice Department’s deputy solicitor general, is working on a part-time basis for Mueller, The Washington Post reported Friday.
Dreeben donated $1,000 dollars to Hillary Clinton’s Senate political action committee (PAC), Friends of Hillary, while she ran for public office in New York. Dreeben did so while he served as the deputy solicitor general at the Justice Department.
Jeannie Rhee, another member of Mueller’s team, donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC Hillary for America.
Andrew Weissmann, who serves in a top post within the Justice Department’s fraud practice, is the most senior lawyer on the special counsel team, Bloomberg reported. He served as the FBI’s general counsel and the assistant director to Mueller when the special counsel was FBI director.
Before he worked at the FBI or Justice Department, Weissman worked at the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, during which he donated six times to political action committees for Obama in 2008 for a total of $4,700.
James Quarles, who served as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, has donated to over a dozen Democratic PACs since the late 1980s. He was also identified by the Washington Post as a member of Mueller's team.
Starting in 1987, Quarles donated to Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis’s presidential PAC, Dukakis for President. Since then, he has also contributed in 1999 to Sen. Al Gore’s run for the presidency, then-Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential bid in 2005, Obama’s presidential PAC in 2008 and 2012, and Clinton’s presidential pac Hillary for America in 2016.
This latest Twitter warning followed similar comments made by Gingrich over the weekend on Fox News. Among other things, the former Speaker of the House said that Mueller's investigation is shaping up to be a "witch hunt."
"First of all, look at what Comey said. Comey said 'I deliberately leaked, through an intermediary, to create this counsel'...who happens to be one of his closest friends. And look at who Mueller is starting to hire. I mean these are people that frankly look to me like they're setting up to go after Trump. Including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information in two major cases."
"I think this is going to be a witch hunt. Comey himself, by his own testimony, tainted this particular process."
"You know, the Director of the FBI deliberately leaking in order to create a special counsel, who we're now supposed to believe is going to be this neutral figure, I think that's just nonsense."
Meanwhile, appearing on the John Catsimatidis radio show, Gingrich went one step further and called on Congress to "abolish the independent counsel."
"I think Congress should now intervene and they should abolish the independent counsel, because Comey makes so clear that it's the poison fruit of a deliberate manipulation by the FBI director leaking to the New York Times, deliberately set up this particular situation. It's very sick."
"It's very clear that Comey hates Trump."
Of course, as a former surrogate of the Trump campaign, Gingrich's opinions on the topic of Mueller's independence will undoubtedly be quickly dismissed by the left and most of the media.
So what say you, does Gingrich raise valid concerns in light of Comey's testimony or is he just a conflicted surrogate attempting to mount a Trump offensive?