Republican activists and lawmakers are engaged in a multi-front attack on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of possible connections between associates of President Trump and Russian agents, trying to stop or curtail the investigation as it moves further into Trump’s inner circle.
For months, the president and his allies have been seizing on any whiff of possible impropriety by Mueller’s team or the FBI to argue that the Russia probe is stacked against Trump — potentially building the political support needed to dismiss the special counsel.
Several law enforcement officials said they are concerned that the constant drumbeat of conservative criticism seems designed to erode Mueller’s credibility, making it more politically palatable to remove, restrict or simply ignore his recommendations as his investigation progresses.
Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, one of the president’s informal advisers as well as one of his most vociferous defenders, on Tuesday night called Mueller “a disgrace to the American justice system’’ and said his team is “corrupt, abusively biased and political.’’
Several conservative lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday demanding more details of how the FBI proceeded last year in its probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email and Russian election interference. This week, the conservative group Judicial Watch released an internal Justice Department email that, the group said, showed political bias against Trump by one of Mueller’s senior prosecutors.
The email released by Judicial Watch this week was sent by Andrew Weissmann, now on the Mueller team, back in January, when he was a senior Justice Department official in the criminal division. After then-acting attorney general Sally Yates was fired for instructing department employees not to defend Trump’s first travel ban in court, Weissmann sent her a note saying he was “so proud and in awe’’ of her. Judicial Watch said the email shows Weissmann is biased against the president.