By Michael McCurry
In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called for the resignation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller after the Florida Representative’s alleged “indisputable conflicts of interest.”
“We are at risk of a coup d’état in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States,” Gaetz said. “That is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mr. Mueller and others at the Department of Justice.”
Last week, Gaetz introduced a resolution claiming Mueller to be compromised due to his service as FBI director when the Obama administration signed off on a deal allowing a Russian company to purchase a Canadian energy company with uranium operations in the U.S. in 2010.
Gaetz’s resolution has two co-sponsors who are both members of the House Freedom Caucus: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
In his speech to the House floor, Gaetz also called on the Justice Department to appoint a new special counsel to “investigate the Clinton Foundation, the Uranium One deal and the Fusion GPS dossier.”
The Uranium One deal, which has become a significant topic among some Republicans, has gained minimal mainstream traction outside of the far-right echo chamber. Picking apart the Uranium One deal has also received the attention of President Donald Trump as of late.
“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” Trump wrote on Twitter in October.
As for Mueller, prominent Republicans have expressed confidence in his impartiality. Two competing bipartisan groups of senators have even pushed for protection in the case of a surprise Trump firing.
The first group’s measure, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee members Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), would allow Mueller to challenge his firing by a panel of three federal judges—but only after he’s been terminated. A different proposal from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and New Jersey’s own Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would force the top Justice Department officials to go before the three-judge panel to explain why Mueller should be terminated.
Even House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Fox News Sunday, “We need to let these career professionals do their jobs, see it through.”
“So, no, I don’t think he should be stepping down, and I don’t think he should be fired,” Ryan said. “And the President has made it clear; he’s not going to do that.”
Nevertheless, Gaetz and the team of Republicans are pressing forward.
Mueller has been brought back into full public view after his investigative team issued their first arrests in the ongoing Russia investigation. With the indictment of former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his close business partner, Rick Gates, as well as former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos who admitted that he lied under oath about his previous Russian contacts, the Mueller probe has undoubtedly become a significant focus of everyone around Washington.
While the recent revelations do not confirm direct collusion from Trump himself, they underscore the true breadth of the connections between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government.
Violet Kimble (’21) believes that while Trump was involved, he didn’t understand the magnitude of his actions. “I don’t think Trump understood what he did but I think he did it.”
Tyler Salter (’19) shared a similar belief. “I think Donald Trump probably knew what happened and was going on and didn’t care cause he didn’t think he was getting the presidency,” he said.
Mueller’s next move is the focus of many around the country as the investigation keeps chugging on at a rapid pace. What he does next could certainly cause another shock wave around Washington, and undoubtedly in the White House.