President Donald Trump listed multiple reasons Thursday why Robert Mueller should not be serving as special counsel in the Russia investigation.
“When you see Mueller with the conflicts, he is so conflicted,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt.
“Comey’s his best friend,” Trump added, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. “He had a really nasty business transaction with me, which he never reported. I’ve been talking about, he never reports it.”
“He wanted the FBI job that Christopher Wray has,” Trump added.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 23, 2018
Comey and Mueller served together in the Justice Department during the administration of George W. Bush.
According to Politico, “While (then-FBI director) Mueller technically reported to Comey as deputy attorney general, Comey, two decades his junior, treated Mueller as a close friend and almost mentor.”
The two had known each other for years prior, as they rose through the ranks as prosecutors in the DOJ.
Trump told Reuters earlier this week that he is concerned the two men could be setting a perjury trap for him if he were to agree to be interviewed by special counsel prosecutors.
“So if I say something and he (Comey) says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: ‘Well, I believe Comey,’ and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good.”
One avenue of inquiry Mueller has reportedly been pursuing is whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey in May 2017.
Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
The president’s reference to a “nasty business transaction” involved club dues at Trump’s golf course in northern Virginia of which Mueller was a member.
The dispute prompted the then-FBI director to end his membership, The New York Times reported.
Finally, Trump pointed to his decision not to hire Mueller as FBI director as another conflict of interest.
According to CNN, Trump interviewed Mueller to potentially replace Comey, but decided against him. A day later, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel.
The president has repeatedly characterized the team Mueller has chosen as “angry” Democrats.
Earlier this week he tweeted, “Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency. Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone looking for trouble.”
He continued, “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”
In a May tweet, Trump questioned why the Mueller’s “13 Angry and heavily conflicted Democrats” are not investigating Hillary Clinton.
Why aren’t the 13 Angry and heavily conflicted Democrats investigating the totally Crooked Campaign of totally Crooked Hillary Clinton. It’s a Rigged Witch Hunt, that’s why! Ask them if they enjoyed her after election celebration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018
Politifact confirmed in March that at least 13 of the 17 lawyers on Mueller’s team are Democrats, six of whom contributed to Clinton.
Of the four remaining attorneys, the fact checker could not determine their party affiliation.
According to The Wall Street Journal one prosecutor — Andrew Weissmann — attended Clinton’s election night party in November 2016.
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