Skepticism of Mueller Is Fair Game, Former FBI Exec Says
Refuting freakout over any and all criticism of independent counsel, Hosko tells Ingraham questions are legitimate
Special counsel Robert Mueller should not be immune from questions or second-guessing, a former top FBI official who worked for him at the bureau said Monday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
Ron Hosko, who served as assistant director of the FBI and now is president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said he holds Mueller in high regard. But he added that the media should examine Mueller’s decisions in probing allegations about Russia’s intervention during the 2016 election.
Hosko specifically noted that questioning whether the lawyers and FBI agents on Mueller’s team are unbiased and capable of conducting a fair investigation is also legitimate.
“Those are fair questions to ask, given the background of some of the attorneys that have staffed that group,” he said.
Nearly a dozen of the attorneys Mueller has hired were generous contributors to Democratic candidates and Democratic causes. One once worked for the Clinton Foundation.
More recently, authorities acknowledged that FBI agent Peter Strzok — who participated in both the investigation of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information as secretary of state and the Russia probe — exchanged text messages with colleague Lisa Page bashing the president.
In one text during the campaign, Strzok expressed doubt that Trump would win the election but wrote that they couldn’t “take that risk,” likening it to an “insurance policy.” Mueller later dismissed him from the team but didn’t tell Congress until months later.
“Bob Mueller has the right to hire the team of his choosing,” Hosko said. “However, raising questions and looking at the composition of that team, I think, is entirely legitimate because at the end of the day, what you want is an unbiased investigation. The light is going to shine in. We are going to have an understanding.”
The text exchanges, Hosko said, were “embarrassing to the workforce over there.” He added that the “FBI knows, the rank and file know — and the leadership knows — that your personal biases can never infect your work.”
Hosko called for more investigation of Strzok, saying “we’re not gonna know until the FBI actually puts this guy forward to be interviewed by Congress.”
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel, who has written extensively about the Russia probe, told Ingraham that liberal sensitivity to criticism of Mueller indicates that he is vulnerable to such questions.
“The depth and the range of that complaint about him and the attacks on him are a signal of Democratic realization of how big a problem Bob Mueller has created for himself,” Strassel said. “Because let’s be clear: Bob Mueller has done this to himself. Nobody else. It’s not the conservative media.”
Strassel said she and other conservatives had high hopes when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller.
“We wanted to know. I still want to know,” she said. “Is there anything illegal or improper about Trump transition or campaign team ties to the Russians? But I think a lot of people expected that he was also going to look into what happened last year. What happened to the FBI?”
Strassel said people slowly are coming to the realization that Mueller’s team may be compromised.
“But they may have biases that prohibit them from fairly looking at the Trump team and what happened,” she said.
Strassel suggested it was naïve to believe that Mueller would reveal the full story of the 2016 election.
“That’s never what happens when you have a special prosecutor,” she said. “We’ve got these lower-level crimes [charged against Trump associates]. They somehow cast suspicion on the Trump team, but they don’t tell us anything because they’re not crimes that are in any way related to what the original crimes were.”