Democratic ties of top investigators in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team have raised more questions about bias in the probe.
Republicans are crying foul over the latest connections of Mueller’s investigators and Hillary Clinton, questioning whether the independent probe is tainted unfairly against President Donald Trump.
One Mueller investigator reportedly attended Clinton’s election night party in New York City last November, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday. Andrew Weissmann also was quick to praise outgoing acting Attorney General Sally Yates back in January after Trump took office and she was fired when she refused to defend the president’s travel ban.
Another two investigators on Mueller’s supposedly impartial team are now on the Republican radar for their past legal work for those connected with Clinton, Fox News reported.
Mueller’s former chief of staff when he served as FBI chief, Aaron Zebley, represented Justin Cooper who set up Clinton’s infamous private email server. Cooper, a former partner at the law firm WilmerHale like Weissmann, was a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton and admitted to “two instances where he destroyed [Hillary] Clinton’s old mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer,” according to Fox News.
Another former partner at WilmerHale, where Mueller used to work is attorney, is Jeannie Rhee who has her own long history of Clinton connections.
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She represented former Obama National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes during the investigation by the House Select Committee on Benghazi and she also represented the Clinton Foundation in a racketeering case in 2015. Rhee even defended Clinton herself in a lawsuit that sought access to her private emails.
“You’ve got Donald Trump being persecuted by Hillary Clinton’s fan club—that’s inequitable,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Friday.
“Many of the members of Mueller’s team donated to the Clinton campaign,” the Florida Republican said. “We have a lot of highly qualified federal prosecutors in the Justice Department and we could have found a bunch of them who didn’t donate to either candidate. But that didn’t occur, and that’s troubling.”
In fact, at least seven of the investigators have made past donations to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee, according to Fox News.
Obama’s 2008 campaign saw $2,300 in donations from Weissmann who gave at least $2,000 to the DNC in 2006. A total of $5,400 was donated to Clinton in 2015 and 2016 by Rhee as well as a combined $4,800 to former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2011.
Though Zebley has “no history of political donations or any affiliation with a political party,” according to Fox News, Republicans have been on alert especially following last week’s revelation that Peter Strzok, another Mueller investigator, was removed from the Russia investigation due to anti-Trump texts.
“Mueller did not have to select attorneys who had made donations to, or even represented, Democratic candidates, but as those partisan connections are becoming clearer, it gives an appearance of bias that could have been avoided,” former high-ranking Justice Department official James Trusty told Fox News.
“Add a lead investigator having a 10,000 text affair with an already dubious selection for the team (in terms of litigation experience) and you might start seeing a real death-spiral in terms of any public support for the investigation,” Trusty, who served under the Bush and Obama administrations, said.
The special counsel’s office had no comment when asked by Fox News about the bias concerns though a spokesman told Fox News on Friday Weissmann is still a member of Mueller’s team.
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