Things didn’t turn out so well the last time an independent counsel pulled something as bold as Robert Mueller’s recent seizure of thousands of emails to and from President Donald Trump’s transition team.
Retired Col. Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra affair in 1987 during the Reagan era, recalled Tuesday on “The Ingraham Angle” that an appellate court ended up throwing out his conviction related to that scandal. The reason was that independent counsel Lawrence Walsh had used tainted evidence arising from North’s testimony before Congress — testimony for which North had received immunity.
Walsh’s investigation dragged on for seven years, North noted.
Independent counsels, first and foremost, are a way for Congress to shirk its oversight responsibilities, according to North.
“Number two, they are fishing licenses for everybody who gets hired to be a special prosecutor, and all their staffs, whose goal it is to bring down a president,” he said.
North, a long-time military analyst and documentarian for Fox News Channel, pointed to parallels between the Walsh Iran-Contra investigation and Mueller’s current probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and representatives, official and otherwise, of the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Mueller raised eyebrows by seizing Trump transition emails from the General Services Administration — even though the GSA’s general counsel agreed his agency did not have the authority to release the documents to a third party.
North also took note of the lawyers on Mueller’s staff who have contributed money to Democratic candidates and of FBI agents with apparent animus toward the president.
“Bottom line, he’s surrounded by people who hate Trump,” he said.
North said Mueller has impeccable credentials but added that the process is sullying his own reputation.
“Why does Bob Mueller want to continue in the job? That’s a question he’s got to be asking himself tonight,” he said.
In a related development Tuesday, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe wrapped up seven and a half hours of testimony behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee. McCabe has come under fire for apparent conflicts of interest.
His wife ran for the Virginia state legislature as a Democrat and received substantial financial support from then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close confidant of former President Bill and Hillary Clinton. At the same time, McCabe was deeply involved in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information as secretary of state.
More recently, McCabe has drawn scrutiny over uncovered text messages in which fellow FBI agent Peter Strzok referenced a meeting in McCabe’s office and of needing an “insurance policy” related to Trump’s candidacy.
Host Laura Ingraham asked lawyer Sol Wisenberg what the length of McCabe’s appearance before the committee indicates.
“It tells you they’re very angry at him,” said Wisenberg, who worked on the staff of independent counsel Ken Starr during the investigation of Bill Clinton’s false statements under oath about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“I mean, you’re talking about the person who wouldn’t understand a conflict of interest if it jumped up and bit him on the butt,” Wisenberg said.
Wisenberg said McCabe should have been fired long ago. “Nobody can believe that he’s still there,” he said.
Of Strzok’s “insurance policy” comment, Wisenberg said, “What possible innocent explanation is there? He says we can’t take the risk that Trump will be elected.”