Kirsters Baish| On Monday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker participated in his very first question and answer session with the media during which Whitaker stated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe was “close to being completed.”
The Acting Attorney General’s comments came just mere days after Special Counsel Mueller “ordered the dramatic predawn arrest of former Trump adviser Roger Stone on charges he allegedly lied to Congress and directed another witness to do the same,” according to Fox News.
Whitaker stated, “I’ve been fully briefed, and I look forward to Mueller delivering the final report. Right now, the investigation is, I think, close to being completed.”
Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff answered on Twitter, saying that Whitaker’s comment was inappropriate.
Schiff wrote, “An Acting Attorney General who refuses to follow the advice of ethics lawyers and recuse himself from an investigation in which he has shown a clear bias is the last person who should speak for the Special Counsel. While the probe is ongoing, Mueller can speak for himself.”
An Acting Attorney General who refuses to follow the advice of ethics lawyers and recuse himself from an investigation in which he has shown a clear bias is the last person who should speak for the Special Counsel.
While the probe is ongoing, Mueller can speak for himself. https://t.co/7sy10bNcAF
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 29, 2019
Earlier in January, the President’s legal team “pushed back on the suggestion the White House could seek to keep parts of Mueller’s final report under wraps,” Fox explains.
“We prefer that as much of the report as possible is public,” The President’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told the network. “We believe a selective release would be problematic.”
In his Monday comments to reporters, Whitaker stated, “Fundamentally, the Mueller investigation has a very defined scope.”
Fox News explains:
Mueller was appointed in May 2017, shortly after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, to conduct an investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government” and individuals associated with then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any matters arising “directly” from the probe.
Asked by Fox News if the Justice Department would investigate witnesses who Republicans have accused of misleading Congress — including Comey and fired FBI agent Peter Strzok — Whitaker responded, “We take very seriously lying to Congress. If referrals are made by committees, we would investigate.”
Throughout the entirety of the probe, Special Counsel Mueller has successfully secured convictions of multiple former advisers to President Donald Trump. This includes his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, as well as his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. “None of the charges directly pertained to a criminal conspiracy with Russian officials related to efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections,” Fox explains.
Fox gives a good example of these efforts in mentioning “the special counsel’s 24-page indictment unsealed on Friday” which “alleged that Stone worked to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.”