Three Republican congressman introduced legislation on Friday to remove Robert Mueller as special counsel in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, citing reasons related to the 2010 sale of Uranium One to Russia.
Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced the bill. They say Mueller should recuse himself from the investigation because he was director of the FBI when U.S. government agencies approved the sale of Uranium One to a Russian nuclear-energy firm. Gaetz explained in a statement that Mueller’s FBI found evidence of criminal corruption in the deal, but chose to not bring charges against anyone.
From the statement:
Evidence has emerged that the FBI withheld information from Congress and from the American people about Russian corruption of American uranium companies. A confidential U.S. witness, working in the Russian nuclear industry, revealed that Russia had deeply compromised an American uranium trucking firm through bribery and financial kickbacks.
Although federal agents possessed this information in 2010, the Department of Justice continued investigating this “matter” for over four years. The FBI, led at the time by Robert Mueller, required the confidential witness to sign a non-disclosure agreement. When the witness attempted to contact Congress and federal courts about the bribery and corruption he saw, he was threatened with legal action. By silencing him, Obama’s Justice Department and Mueller’s FBI knowingly kept Congress in the dark about Russia’s significant and illegal involvement with American uranium companies.
“These deeply troubling events took place when Mr. Mueller was the Director of the FBI. As such, his impartiality is hopelessly compromised,” Gaetz said. “He must step down immediately.”
Hill investigators also are looking into a Russian firm’s uranium deal that was approved by the Obama administration in 2010 despite reports that the FBI – then led by Mueller – had evidence of bribery involving a subsidiary of that firm.
The controversial Uranium One deal has been tied to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill, and even former President Barack Obama. If Mueller, indeed, ignored wrongdoing in the deal, then his credibility and impartiality could be questioned, which would damage credibility of the Trump-Russia investigation.
This is not the first time Mueller has faced calls to step down.
Critics question whether Mueller’s own ties to the bureau as well as fired FBI director James Comey now render him compromised as he investigates allegations of Russian meddling and collusion with Trump officials in the 2016 race.
Congressional Republicans over the summer raised concerns over Mueller’s relationship with Comey, whom Trump ousted from the FBI in May. Reps. Franks and Andy Biggs, both Republicans from Arizona, had called for Mueller’s resignation for that reason.
“The federal code could not be clearer – Mueller is compromised by his apparent conflict of interest in being close with James Comey,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who first called for Mueller to step down over the summer, said in a statement to Fox News on Friday. “The appearance of a conflict is enough to put Mueller in violation of the code. … All of the revelations in recent weeks make the case stronger.”
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