Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reaching out to the DOJ for its resources, including FBI agents, as he continues to expand his investigation into claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to a Bloomberg report.
The investigation has produced a number of indictments, and several guilty pleas, although those are not connected to election interference.
But it has so far released no evidence that its obvious target, the Trump campaign, was involved, and it is coming under increasing criticism for failing to conclude.
“Finish it the hell up,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray recently.
Video of Gowdy:
Those outside the investigation repeatedly have criticized the fact that Mueller’s investigators have the appearance of bias – many of them financially supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Several lawyers also have been removed because of that obvious bias, and he’s coming under increasing scrutiny for the millions of dollars he’s spending.
He’s also demanded that witnesses give to him their personal phones, there have been demands for information about Mueller’s own contacts with the media about the investigation, and a new report on Thursday even charges that ethical questions were being raised because an agent reported the AP was able to “shape” the investigation against Trump by revealing information to investigators.
Bloomberg’s report said Mueller’s “making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents.”
The report called it a sign that Mueller might be wanting to hand off parts of his investigation.
Bloomberg said Mueller also is facing headwinds because of the court challenges that hvave developed.
“According to his most recent statement of expenditures, more money is being spent on work done by permanent Department of Justice units than on Mueller’s own dedicated operation. The DOJ units spent $9 million from the investigation’s start in May 2017 through March of this year, compared with $7.7 million spent by Mueller’s team,” the report said.
The foundation of the investigation itself also has been challenged, since it likely was prompted at least in part by the so-called “dossier,” a list of likely false claims about Trump that was created by a contractor with Russian ties working for a company supported by Clinton’s campaign.
It apparently was essentially a political hit piece. The problem is that it was submitted as fact to a special court that authorized spying on the campaign.
Mueller was told by Rosenstein to investigate whether Trump or his associates in the campaign colluded with Russia.
But Mueller’s assignments now, Bloomberg reported, have been handed over to investigators in New York, Virginia, Pittsburgh and “elsewhere.”
Gowdy’s demand to “finish” came during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee recently.
Rosenstein and Wray were there to explain why documents requested by Congress, who have oversight over the agencies, are being withheld.
Gowdy noted the FBI chose agent Peter Strzok, whose antagonism toward then-candidate Donald Trump is documented in text messages, to lead the Russia investigation.
Gowdy sarcastically described Strzok as “dispassionate and fair” when Strzok was lashing out against Trump as “destabilizing for the country” and “a disaster.”
Strzok was the agent who texted his paramour that he would “stop” Trump from becoming president.
A report from the DOJ’s inspector general pointed out over and over the evidence of bias against Trump deeply embedded in Mueller’s operation.