As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election draws closer to the White House and President Donald Trump, a group of House Republicans met in secret over the past few weeks. They’re trying and find dirt on the FBI and Department of Justice they can use to undermine the credibility of the American criminal justice system.
According to Politico, the secret group, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), has neglected to inform Democrats on the committee of their conclaves, but they have been in regular consultation with the general counsel of the House. The goal of these clandestine meetings is simple:
“The people familiar with Nunes’ plans said the goal is to highlight what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement. The group hopes to release a report early next year detailing their concerns about the DOJ and FBI, and they might seek congressional votes to declassify elements of their evidence.”
But the larger purpose of both this group and the White House is to call into question the independence and legitimacy of Robert Mueller and his investigative team. They may also be trying to lay the groundwork for a defense of the president if he attempts to fire Mueller and derail the investigation.
When asked about the secret working group, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), commented:
“I don’t talk about what we do behind closed doors.”
The Democratic Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (Calif.) said efforts to question the integrity of the DOJ and FBI could have long-term negative consequences for the country:
“I think what we are seeing in our committee … is an effort to attack the Department of Justice, an effort to attack the FBI, to attack Bob Mueller, is an effort to undermine the investigations and these institutions out of fear of what they’ll find and try to discredit them in advance. It’s a pernicious thing to do that will ultimately inflict long-term damage on these institutions.”
And the fact that Republicans refuse to allow Mueller to conduct his investigation unimpeded also raises a larger question: If Trump and his associates are innocent, why are the White House and its Congressional defenders trying to short-circuit the very probe that could put the entire matter to bed?
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