In the past few weeks, Robert Mueller and his team found themselves under heavy fire from seemingly the entirety of the GOP. Mueller has been accused of bias against Trump, and of usurping procedure to get documents from the president’s transitional period. Are you wondering why so many Republicans started slamming Mueller almost simultaneously?
It turns out that Mueller has taken a special interest in the Republican National Committee for its role in the Trump-Russia scandal. Mueller took a particular interest in investigating Cambridge Analytica, the voter data analysis firm used by the Trump campaign. The firm knew which swing states needed to have voters targeted on Facebook, despite never publicly demonstrating that they actually had the ability or know-how to pull it off.
Mueller wonders whether this company is chock full of next-level social data mining genies… or did they perhaps benefit from some information swapping with Russian hackers? In targeting Cambridge Analytica, Mueller is targeting the RNC. By transitive property, that means he is basically investigating the entire Republican party.
“They have begun questioning Republican National Committee staffers about the party digital operation that worked with the Trump campaign to target voters in key swing states. They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate, according to two of the sources.” per Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff.
But coming at Mueller with such obvious aggression is quite risky. Trump enjoys very little credibility on his cooperation with Muller’s investigation, while more than twice as many Americans approve of Mueller’s investigation as disapprove.
So why are the Republicans so willing to gamble with the credibility of the entire party? They seem to want to sow distrust in Mueller. Last month, deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was compelled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The deputy attorney general was asked whether he thought Mueller had overstepped his authority. Rosenstein said, “It [Mueller’s capacity as special counsel] authorizes him to investigate anybody who there is predication to believe obstructed justice.”
Rod Rosenstein was repeatedly baited into saying something, anything, that would remotely undermine Mueller’s integrity. Instead he did nothing but express his confidence in Robert Mueller. Presumably, that means the Republicans will need to back up and punt as they wait for an alternative strategy to get at him.