Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump’s election campaign and Russia is reaching a critical stage. Mueller has already laid charges against four members of Trump’s campaign team. At least two of those charged, General Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, are cooperating with Mueller as part of a plea bargain deal. As reported by the Inquisitr last week, a third member of that quartet, Rick Gates, is also believed to be in negotiation with Mueller’s investigation team. Mueller has also reportedly indicated that he wishes to interview President Trump.
Mueller has not laid any charges since Mike Flynn was indicted at the end of November, but Flynn’s testimony claims that he was under orders from a “senior member” of Trump’s team when he was in contact with Russian officials indicates that further charges are likely to follow. President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is strongly rumored to be Mueller’s next target.
It is against this background that CNN claims President Trump has escalated his war on special counsel Mueller and the Department of Justice. Just before Christmas, Trump launched a scathing attack on FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who he accused of bias against him. McCabe was due to retire this spring but has made the decision to retire early, reportedly as a result of pressure from the White House.
According to Vanity Fair, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the next target in President Trump’s war against Mueller and the Department of Justice. Rosenstein reportedly approved the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Mr. Page provided testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that contradicted claims made by other members of Trump’s team. Carter Page stands accused of being “a foreign agent,” and of negotiating the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Russia on behalf of President Trump before his inauguration.
Who Else In The FBI Is President Trump Accused Of Targeting?
According to Foreign Policy, Andrew McCabe is not the only FBI official targeted by President Trump. They claim that Trump is also seeking to undermine the credibility of James Comey’s chief of staff Jim Rybicki and James Baker, formerly the FBI’s general counsel. Both men are likely to be key witnesses if a case for obstruction of justice is brought against Donald Trump. It is believed that Rybicki and Baker will corroborate James Comey’s claims that President Trump obstructed justice by pushing him to lay off investigating Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials.
Of course, President Trump’s chief target is Robert Mueller himself. According to the New York Times, Trump ordered Mueller’s firing as long ago as last June. They claim that Trump only backed down from sacking Mueller when White House counsel Donald F. McGahn threatened to resign and refused to order the Department of Justice to fire Mueller. McGahn reportedly advised Trump that firing Mueller would be “catastrophic” for the Trump presidency.
President Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Trump claims the Mueller investigation is nothing more than a politically-inspired “witch hunt.” The president has repeatedly used social media to attack what he calls FBI bias against him, and as reported by the Inquisitr yesterday, some sections of the pro-Trump media are now pushing the idea that Mueller, the FBI, and his own Department of Justice are part of a “deep state” conspiracy to undermine Trump’s presidency.
CNBC reports that the attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation are now so serious that lawmakers from both sides of the house are repeating calls for legislation to protect special counsel’s independence.
Of course, no one should underestimate the complexity of the Mueller investigation. This is, after all, an unprecedented situation, one that makes Watergate look simple and straightforward. If, as he claims, President Trump has done nothing wrong, then it must be in his best interests to allow Mueller to finish his investigation unhindered. Mueller cannot find evidence of wrongdoing if it doesn’t exist. The alternative hardly bears thinking about.