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WSJ: Mueller has a ‘credibility problem’

“All of this reinforces our doubts about Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair and credible probe”

(National SentinelSpecial Counsel: President Donald J. Trump may at times be “his own worst enemy” regarding ill-advised tweets such as those over the weekend regarding the Michael Flynn guilty plea and the ongoing Russian collusion investigation, The Wall Street Journal editorial board said on Monday.

But that said, the man hounding him and his administration — special counsel Robert Mueller — has a “credibility problem” himself, the editors wrote.

The Washington Post and the New York Times reported Saturday that a lead FBI investigator on the Mueller probe, Peter Strzok, was demoted this summer after it was discovered he’d sent anti- Trump texts to a mistress. As troubling, Mr. Mueller and the Justice Department kept this information from House investigators, despite Intelligence Committee subpoenas that would have exposed those texts. They also refused to answer questions about Mr. Strzok’s dismissal and refused to make him available for an interview,” the board said.

News about Strzok leaked only after the Justice Department understood it could no longer stonewall Congress over the matter. What was also apparent, the WSJ board noted, was that both the Times and the Post praised Mueller for “acting ‘swiftly'” to remove him.

The Justice Department only agreed to make Strzok available to the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday after months of ignoring subpoenas and interview requests. Also, committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and other House leaders, were preparing contempt charges against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the latter being the one who appointed Mueller in the first place.

“This is all the more notable because Mr. Strzok was a chief lieutenant to former FBI Director James Comey and played a lead role investigating alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election,” the board added.

“Mr. Mueller then gave him a top role in his special-counsel probe. And before all this Mr. Strzok led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and sat in on the interview she gave to the FBI shortly before Mr. Comey publicly exonerated her in violation of Justice Department practice,” said the editors.

All of that regarding Strzok is on top of the fact that he exchanged anti-Trump texts — and, reportedly, sex — with FBI attorney Lisa Page, who also worked for both Mueller and deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, “who was accused of a conflict of interest in the Clinton probe when it came out that Clinton allies had donated to the political campaign of Mr. McCabe’s wife,” the editors wrote.

And while the texts have yet to be released publicly, the paper noted that it’s likely they’re explosive enough that Mueller felt he had no other choice but to demote Strzok — despite the fact that nearly all of Mueller’s legal team he hired to assist in the collusion probe also have ties to Democratic political candidates including Hillary Clinton.

“There is no justification for withholding all of this from Congress, which is also investigating Russian influence and has constitutional oversight authority,” the editors said. “Justice and the FBI have continued to defy legal subpoenas for documents pertaining to both surveillance warrants and the infamous Steele dossier that was financed by the Clinton campaign and relied on anonymous Russian sources.”

The board noted further that thus far, there is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. However, there is evidence of anti-Trump bias within Mueller’s investigative circle. Meanwhile, House investigators have found enough evidence to suggest that anti-Trump bias motivated then-FBI Director James Comey to launch an investigation into Team Trump during last year’s campaign.

“The public has a right to know whether the Steele dossier inspired the Comey probe, and whether it led to intrusive government eavesdropping on campaign satellites such as Carter Page,” the board wrote.

“All of this reinforces our doubts about Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair and credible probe of the FBI’s considerable part in the Russia-Trump drama. Mr. Mueller ran the bureau for 12 years and is fast friends with Mr. Comey, whose firing by Mr. Trump triggered his appointment as special counsel,” said the editors. “The reluctance to cooperate with a congressional inquiry compounds doubts related to this clear conflict of interest.”

The paper isn’t the first to suggest this conflict of interest.

“Bob Mueller should have never been offered nor accepted the job as special counsel as he has a huge conflict of interest,” said former assistant director of the FBI Jim Kallstrom in an interview with Breitbart News. “He should have recused himself.”

In early November, House Republicans introduced a resolution calling on Mueller to step down in the wake of recent media reporting indicating he may be compromised in his Russia-related probe of President Donald J. Trump and campaign associates.

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