Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) says that former FBI Director and Russia special counsel Bob Mueller is a Republican, and "anything but" another Washington, D.C., partisan. But a number of other House Republicans say just the opposite.
During an interview with TheBlaze in June, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) called on Mueller to resign as head of the special counsel, who Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed to look into Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as any allegations of collusion between the Kremlin and President Donald Trump's campaign. Trump appointed Rosenstein to his current job.
Gohmert, a staunch Trump ally, pointed to the "cozy relationship" between Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired.
At the time, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich pointed out how a number of people Mueller appointed to serve on the special counsel that is investigating Trump donated to the president's general election rival, Hillary Clinton, as well as Trump's Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
“I mean, these are people who, frankly, look to me like they’re setting up to go after Trump,” Gingrich said last month.
Wisconsin conservative radio host Jay Weber agreed. During an interview with Ryan on Monday, Weber referred to the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt." Trump took to Twitter just last week, using the exact same phrase to describe the ongoing probe.
To help make his point, Weber noted that Mueller, who worked alongside Comey at the Justice Department during former President George W. Bush's administration, is a "lifelong friend of James Comey." Weber said.
"Then, he [Mueller] goes on and he chooses to fill his team with Hillary Clinton donors and supporters," Webb added.
The basis for Weber's argument is supported by an FEC database search, which TheBlaze conducted in June. The search revealed that Michael Dreeben, who Mueller appointed as part of the special counsel, donated $500 to former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and another $1,000 to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s 2006 senatorial campaign.
It also showed that Jeannie Rhee, who Mueller also appointed to the special counsel, gave a combined total of $9,150 to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as Democratic Sens. Mark Udall (Col.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), and Chris Van Hollen (Md.) since 2004.
Weber continued Monday by telling Ryan that "it seems like the Republican response to this is, 'Well, let's just let Mueller do his job.'"
Ryan pressed back hard against the idea that Mueller is somehow a Washington, D.C., partisan working in the interests of the Democratic Party. In fact, Ryan went so far as to say that Mueller is not a Democrat, nor an independent, but a member of the president's own political party.
"Remember, Bob Mueller is a Republican who was appointed by a Republican, who served in the Republican administration and crossed over and stayed on until his term ended," Ryan said. "I don't think many people are saying Bob Mueller is a biased partisan. He's really, sort of, anything but."
George W. Bush appointed Mueller as FBI director just months before the 9/11 terror attacks. Mueller remained in the role until September 2013.
Ryan also pointed to two congressional investigations looking into the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia. The fact that there are three separate investigations, Ryan said, "sort of de-politicizes this stuff and gets it out of the political theater."
Ryan said during the interview Monday that the facts "will vindicate themselves." Until then, he urged members of Congress to "go do our jobs."
"What we're not focused on doing is spending all of our time on Russia, spending all of our time on this intrigue," Ryan said.
"We want to spend our time focusing on solving people's problems. Working on the problems that people care about, their problems. Not this stuff. Their problems," Ryan emphasized.
(H/T: The Hill)