Mueller was appointed too early in Russia investigation, senator says
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said in an interview Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed far too early to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.
Johnson, who was on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he “would’ve much rather had the Senate and House Intelligence Committees complete their report” prior to Mueller’s selection.
The head of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said he is concerned that the position of special counsel hindered investigations, Politico reported.
“I just thought he was appointed too soon. I would’ve rather had the process play out,” Johnson said. “Because I think public disclosure, the public’s right to know, is — trumps everything else.”
President Trump last month trumpeted the House Intelligence Committee’s report that it found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians” in an all-caps Twitter post.
The top Democrat on the committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff, responded to Trump with tweet saying that the panel’s Republicans “lack the courage to stand up to a President of their own party when the national interest necessitates it.”
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told CNN Friday that he believes it’s “likely” that Trump will try to fire Mueller.
Coons said he’s “very concerned” because Trump previously said it would be a “red line” if Mueller started investigating his personal finances and family’s business.
He noted that several weeks ago Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization for business documents, and Trump has since attacked the special counsel by name.
Mueller, for his part, stated in a new court filing that former Trump campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates communicated with a person with ties to a Russian intelligence service in late 2016.
Just last month, Mueller motioned to dismiss a charges brought against Gates in a superseding indictment in Virginia federal court, following Gates’ guilty plea to the first round of charges brought forth in October 2017.