Even The Wall Street Journal is calling for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to resign, joining critics who question the credibility of the investigation in light of the removal of an FBI official for texting anti-Trump messages.
The Journal’s editorial board leveled a blistering op-ed about the scandal, urging Mueller to step down following reports of bias that apparently led to the removal of FBI agent Peter Strzok from the probe and his demotion in the agency.
Reports from the New York Times and the Washington Post revealed last weekend that Strzok exchanged anti-Trump text messages with his colleague and mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and had been removed from the investigation in the summer. But this information was withheld from investigators in the House, and requests to allow Strzok to be interviewed were refused.
“The texts haven’t been publicly released, but it’s fair to assume their anti-Trump bias must be clear for Mr. Mueller to reassign such a senior agent,” the Journal noted, citing that Strzok had been involved in the interview of former national security adviser Michael Flynn as well as the Hillary Clinton email probe.
Possible connections to the Trump dossier and Mueller’s friendship with former FBI Director James Comey also raised questions about Mueller’s trustworthiness, according to the editorial.
All of this reinforces our doubts about Mr. Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair and credible probe of the FBI’s considerable part in the Russia-Trump drama. Mr. Mueller ran the bureau for 12 years and is fast friends with Mr. Comey, whose firing by Mr. Trump triggered his appointment as special counsel. The reluctance to cooperate with a congressional inquiry compounds doubts related to this clear conflict of interest.
“The history of the FBI is hardly without taint,” the Journal continued, noting the example of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and has ignored House subpoenas.
The latest news supports our view that Mr. Mueller is too conflicted to investigate the FBI and should step down in favor of someone more credible. The investigation would surely continue, though perhaps with someone who doesn’t think his job includes protecting the FBI and Mr. Comey from answering questions about their role in the 2016 election.
This isn’t the first time the Journal’s editorial board has called out the special counsel.
Back in October, following reports on the FBI’s part in uncovering evidence in the sale of Uranium One to Russian energy giant Rosatom, thereby transferring 20 percent of U.S. uranium stocks to the Russians, the editorial board said Mueller should resign.
“It is no slur against Mr. Mueller’s integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years,” the Journal wrote.