While Rep. Jason Chaffetz joined his colleagues on Capitol Hill in hailing the choice of a special counsel in the Russia investigation, he was not so sure of the need for one.
The Justice Department’s pick of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into alleged ties between President Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials was “as good as it gets” for Chaffetz.
“His credentials are impeccable. He served in the Bush administration, the Obama administration. He is unassailable in terms of his credentials, his background,” the chairman of the House Oversight committee told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Wednesday. “He’s in the latter part of his career, he had nothing to prove. He’s been silent politically. It doesn’t get any better than Robert Mueller.”
But Chaffetz questioned the need for any special counsel in the investigation, which was being led by former FBI Director James Comey who was fired by Trump last week.
“Look, I have not seen any evidence of actual collusion. Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute? I just — I haven’t seen that. There has been a lot of flailing but that flailing started before January 20,” he said, adding that he was surprised and caught off guard by the announcement.
Carlson agreed with the congressman that it was not clear what the investigation would actually be focused on.
“Is it about, number one, it appears to be about Russian influence on the election. And then, was there any collusion? But does that seep out, and at what point does that let off?” Chaffetz said. “I physically don’t know exactly where those lanes are.”
The Utah Republican also noted that an investigation like this could “go on for years and there could be long periods of just silence.”
In another segment, Carlson had argued that, while Democrats celebrated the appointment of Mueller after they had demanded an independent investigation for months, they could end up regretting it. A lengthy probe could extend past the Trump presidency and could, potentially, open up a can of worms for top Democrats like the Clintons.
Chaffetz also feared what a drawn-out investigation could mean.
“What I worry is that the Democrats are going to politically exploit this on a daily drumbeat, making up theories, making up stories, trying to get somebody to grab onto a piece of meat and say, ‘Oh, this is true,’” he said. He explained that the talking points would change but Trump’s critics would probably not let up on criticism despite the investigation moving forward.
“They have no ideas. They have no policies and so it’s their scorched earth mentality and approach to just say burn it to the ground,” he said, adding that he would be happy to pursue claims of collusion between Trump and the Russians but no one has been able to present any evidence so far.
“If you even try to go an inch deep into what sort of evidence they have, they got nothing,” he said.
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