A new information resurfaced recently pointing out that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is not only one-sided. On the contrary, it has a couple of connections with Barack Obama’s administration.
According to Politico, Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion is focused squarely on Mr. Trump’s former associates. One individual involved is Jeannie Rhee, a former Obama-era Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who also worked with Mr. Mueller recently at the WilmerHale law firm.
Although not explicit in how he directs his investigation, the way Mr. Mueller has configured the 17 federal prosecutors on his team reveals some startling connections with the prior administration that potentially jeopardize the impartiality of the case.
Most of his experienced attorneys have been assigned specific targets, such as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security advisor Michael Flynn. In the latter’s case, the central figure on the investigation is Jeannie Rhee.
After looking into the list of attorneys comprising Mr. Mueller’s investigative team, many Republicans have been quick to point out potential conflicts of interest. In particular, they cited the fact many on his team have donated thousands of dollars to Democrats.
Jeannie Rhee has worked for the Clinton Foundation, defending it from FOIA requests during the private-email server debacle, according to Breitbart. Ms. Rhee and another Clinton Foundation attorney, Jamie Gorelick, called the allegations that Clinton used a private email server “fatuous” and legally defective.
CNN reported that Ms. Rhee was the second-largest Democrat donor among Mueller’s team at the time, having donated $16,000 to the party since 2008. She also contributed to the Clinton campaign in 2015 and 2016, donating $5,400 in total. Additionally, she donated $7,300 to Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns.
Ms. Rhee isn’t the only Democrat sympathizer within Mr. Mueller’s team. James Quarles, another former partner at WilmerHale, also donated several thousand dollars to both former-President Obama as well as Ms. Clinton over the years, according to Fox News.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted that “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, 2017Advertisements
The Special Counsel’s spokesman, Peter Carr, said Mr. Mueller could increase his staff depending on “the needs of the investigation,” and that he may need to hire more attorneys in preparations for a Manafort-Gates criminal trial. A federal judge has proposed May 7th as a potential start date.
President Trump has previously stated he is aware that members of Mr. Mueller’s team have potential conflicts of interests and that he was going to make the information available “at some point.” Mr. Trump added that if Mr. Mueller went outside of his mandate and investigated matters unrelated to Russia, such as the President’s personal finances, that, too, would be spotlighted as outside of his scope.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein — who appointed Mueller and is supervising him because Attorney General Jeff Sessions is recused from the case — said on Fox News recently that Mueller’s investigation was “not a fishing expedition,” and Mueller would need Rosenstein’s approval to expand it.
“If he finds evidence of a crime that’s within the scope of what Director Mueller and I have agreed is the appropriate scope of this investigation, then he can [investigate]. If it’s something outside that scope, he needs to come to the acting attorney general, at this time me, for permission to expand his investigation,” Rosenstein said.
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