DECEMBER 07, 2017
In the wake of the Times report, lawmakers have moved to publicly express doubt in the special counsel. “The question really is, if Mueller was doing such a great job on investigating the Russian collusion, why could he have not found the conflict of interest within their own agency?’’ Congressman Mark Meadows, the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, asked during a news conference on Wednesday. The same day, Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the F.B.I. and the D.O.J. demanding more information about the conversations between F.B.I. lawyer Lisa Page and Strzok, the latter of whom also played a key role in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’suse of a private e-mail server at the State Department. “Strzok’s behavior and involvement in these two politically sensitive cases raises new concerns of inappropriate political influence in the work of the F.B.I.,’’ the Iowa lawmaker wrote.
Activists and pundits have similarly accelerated their drumbeat of condemnations. Fox News host Sean Hannity lambasted Mueller on Tuesday as “a disgrace to the American justice system.” Tom Fitton, the president of conservative activist group Judicial Watch, has called for Mueller’s dismissal and argued that the F.B.I. sought to cover up the circumstances surrounding Strzok’s transfer. “[Rod] Rosenstein needs to explain what he was doing, what he knew and when, and Mueller needs to explain himself as well. I think Mueller has fewer and fewer supporters in the Republican establishment, because of what he allowed to happen,” Fitton told The Washington Post.