The chairman of the House Oversight Committee expressed skepticism Wednesday evening about the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be special counsel in the Russia investigation.
In an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Mueller is “as good as it gets” and that his credentials are “impeccable,” but worried that the investigation will be politically exploited by Democrats on a daily basis.
“He served in the Bush administration, the Obama administration,” Chaffetz said. “He is unassailable in terms of his credentials.”
“He’s in the latter part of his career. He has nothing to prove. He’s been silent politically,” the congressman continued. “It doesn’t get any better than Robert Mueller if you’re going to do it.”
But Chaffetz added, “I also agree, I don’t think they should have … appointed somebody.”
Tucker asked why he thinks the administration broke down.
Chaffetz answered, “I think they’re feeling the political heat. Maybe they’re watching a little too much television and reading too many newspapers.”
“But I have not seen any evidence of actual collusion. Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute?” Chaffetz asked. “I haven’t seen that. There’s been a lot of flailing but that flailing started before January 20.”
Carlson remarked that other special prosecutor investigations have gone “far afield of where they started and really tie up an entire presidency.” He asked Chaffetz if he was concerned the same thing could happen with Mueller’s investigation.
“They have such wide latitude to go wherever they want to go so I don’t know what lane he’s going to be in,” Chaffetz replied, adding that he believes that Mueller has the discipline to hopefully stay within the lanes — “but I don’t know what those lanes are.”
Chaffetz said he was “worried” that the investigation would cause congressional Democrats to “politically exploit this on a daily drumbeat, making up theories, making up stories, trying to get somebody to grab onto a piece of meat and say, ‘Oh, this is true’ when you don’t have the definitive word from someone who is going to be essentially silent over the next – I don’t know how long — Six months? Two years? I don’t know.”
Earlier on Fox News, Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University called the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Russia conspiracies “a healthy dose of Tylenol to bring this fever down.” He said that the decision to appoint Mueller might have been the best thing that could have happened to President Trump because it could be the vehicle to clear his name in the face of what looks like mostly baseless accusations.
Chaffetz wasn’t as optimistic as Turley about the delirious Democrats’ fever breaking, however.
“They’re just going to change their talking points and say ‘this administration is in chaos and by the way, it’s under investigation itself. It had to have a special counsel,'” Chaffetz said. “I mean you can already hear them in advance. It’s an insatiable desire. They have no ideas, they have no policies, so it’s their scorched-earth mentality and approach to just say let’s burn it to the ground.”
Asked whether he thinks Democrats genuinely believe the conspiracy theories they’ve been propagating about Russian collusion, or if they’re just trying to harm the Trump presidency, Chaffetz said, “If they do, where’s the evidence? I’m happy to pursue it but I don’t have anybody actually presenting me any evidence. And now that we’re this many months into it, come up with something. Last week or so Maxine Waters saying that somehow I was suspect — my ties to the Kremlin. Are you kidding me? I live in Utah, for goodness sake,” he laughed. “They are just non-stop, no accountability.”
Pressed further, he said, “I think some of them probably want to believe it, even absent evidence…I think their sincerity is probably there, but a lot of them…I just don’t…if you try to go even an inch deep into what sort of evidence they have — they’ve got nothin’ — nothin’.”