In his Dec. 24 Sunday Opinion commentary, former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr proposed a “reset” of the Russia investigation in which Congress “steps up” to establish a bipartisan investigative panel and the “executive branch’s approach” changes from criminal law enforcement to some kind of nebulous fact-finding. Despite its bland profession of respect for the probe, Starr’s column was really just a subtler version of suddenly pervasive efforts by Trump apologists to undermine the investigation into Russian tampering with the 2016 election.
The reasons given for Starr’s reset are wholly specious: There is ostensibly a “drumbeat of criticism” aimed at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III which “has become deafening,” including “cascading revelations of anti-Trump bias.” This is true only on Fox News, in President Trump’s tweets and in the shoe pounding of the Freedom Caucus at legislative hearings.
The claims of bias amount to some private comments of an FBI official criticizing candidate Trump (and other candidates). Despite the fact that government employees are entitled to have political opinions (so long as they do not interfere with their work, and there was no evidence of this), Mueller promptly removed this official. Additionally, Mueller “has chosen poorly by having smart but deeply politicized senior aides” who have “virulently anti-Trump political leanings.” The evidence for this? Some of his staff have made past political contributions to Democratic candidates. Also, the FBI deputy director, who is not even on Mueller’s team, has a wife who ran for a state legislative seat in 2015 with financial support from a friend of the Clintons, after the deputy director (who was not then deputy director) disclosed and cleared this internally at the FBI.