Politics

Could Robert Mueller Be Giving Up on Russia-Trump Collusion?

There's been a continuing lack of evidence, as 'The Ingraham Angle' made clear — and it raises questions about former FBI supervisor

Responding to a congressional Republican’s call to end the House investigation into Russian election meddling, former Whitewater prosecutor Solomon Wisenberg noted Thursday night on “The Ingraham Angle” that the probe appears no closer to implicating President Donald Trump than when it first began.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News earlier in the day that the panel has “gone completely off the rails and that this investigation needs to end.”

Wisenberg, who served on the team that investigated then-President Bill Clinton, said on the Fox News nighttime show that independent counsel Robert Mueller has more power than congressional committees and that the public does not know what he does.

“Now having said that, what we do know publicly right now, including what people have said about how they were questioned by Mueller — we still don’t have on the public record any evidence of collusion by Trump or people closely affiliated with Trump,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Wisenberg (shown above, far right) said Mueller has moved beyond the scope of his mandate by indicting Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on conduct that predates the campaign. This indicates that Mueller has received specific permission from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to do so, Wisenberg said.

“We know from the Manafort indictment and the Gates indictment — all you have to do is look at it — that he got authorization long ago to go beyond the four corners, at least these specific things he’s supposed to be looking at,” he said. “And I’m surprised it hadn’t … been commented on much earlier.”

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Wisenberg also questioned whether Justice Department officials and the FBI violated procedures — and possibly broke the law — in seeking a warrant to eavesdrop on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. The Justice Department, in the application to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, cited an unverified dossier on Trump prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele. He was working for an opposition research firm paid by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Wisenberg faulted former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who testified behind closed doors before the House intelligence panel in December that the dossier was key to obtaining the FISA warrant, according to a memo prepared by GOP staffers on the committee.

“He was responsible for that FISA warrant, and that FISA warrant, he has admitted — and the [Rep. Adam] Schiff memo did not contradict this — that if they had not had the Steele dossier, they would not even have submitted that,” he said. “And that’s a shocking thing.”

But Democratic lawyer Scott Bolden (pictured above left), who also appeared on “The Ingraham Angle,” told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Republicans are exaggerating the impact of the dossier.

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“It seems to me the fundamental difference between the Democrats and Republicans, obviously, is [that] the Republicans think that it was the heart of the FISA warrant, and the Democrats think it was part of it,” he said.

Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member from California (pictured above, second from right), said the latest revelations are “one more brushstroke in a painting” that points to a lack of respect for conflict of interest rules and ethics. She agreed with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who suggested in a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions the FBI may have broken the law.

“It’s not just lying to the FISA court,” she said. “But it is obstruction of justice. It is conspiracy to violate the rights of American citizens. It is criminal and civil rights violations.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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