Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has made a name for herself as one of the few journalists in the mainstream media who woke up, took a look behind the curtain, and realized she was working for people who wanted to obscure the truth as much as they wanted to expose it. After realizing that her bosses at CBS would kill any story that might put the Obama administration in a bad light, she lit out for the territories and has been a beacon for truth in reporting ever since. As such, when she writes an op-ed about the current state of politics, anyone interested in what’s really going on would be wise to pay close attention.
This week, Attkisson, having perused the list of questions (published by The New York Times) that Robert Mueller wants to ask President Donald Trump, she determined that the special counsel is laboring under “at least three serious conflicts of interest.”
Conflict #1: Mueller is investigating rumors of his own firing.
“Think of it this way: You’re the boss at a company and decide to fire an important manager,” Atkisson writes. “Maybe you believe he acted improperly, conspired against you, or is simply not the right man for the job. He’s unhappy you fired him. Now imagine the fired employee — or his good friend and colleague — is awarded the power to judge and assess your motives regarding that firing and other matters. Would it be fair to have the very people who feel wronged be put in charge of determining your fate?”
This, Attkisson warns, is very close to the situation that Donald Trump finds himself in. Mueller’s questions included several that refer to news reports that said Trump was thinking about firing the special counsel. Even without those, there is the matter of Jim Comey’s firing. Comey, who was and presumably is a close friend of Mueller’s. This is the very definition of a conflict and it should have precluded Mueller’s appointment to begin with.
Conflict #2: Mueller is too close to the Justice Department and the FBI.
As Attkisson notes, there is one major counter-point to the question of whether or not Trump colluded with Russia. It is the evidence-rich theory that the Obama DOJ had it out for Trump and illegally used the powers of the state to investigate their political opponents. To properly investigate these claims requires an impartial prosecutor who is as willing to take down the leaders of the intelligence community as he is to take down the President of the United States. Is Mueller such a man? As she writes, “Mueller was an integral part of this very community for the better part of three decades.”
Conflict #3: Comey and Rosenstein
“Though we didn’t know it at the time, it was his old friend Comey who secretly leaked — or gave — information to the New York Times to spur the appointment,” Attkisson writes. “And Mueller’s actual appointment was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who we now know signed his name to at least one of the controversial wiretaps against a Trump campaign associate. To make matters more complex, Rosenstein is the one who provided President Trump a strongly worded memo supporting the decision to fire Comey — an act for which Mueller also apparently is investigating Trump.”
And really, these conflicts only scratch the surface. We could also include the fact that Mueller was appointed by (and worked closely under) President Bush, a man Trump has ridiculed and derided for a number of reasons. Might Mueller, instrumental in the domestic half of the War on Terror, have taken personal exception to some of Trump’s comments? Then there are the conflicts of his team, many of whom are Democrats who actively contributed money to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Are they really bringing their best impartial selves to the investigation?
Maybe Mueller is the man of absolute integrity that his defenders say he is and none of this matters. All we know is that for a supposedly independent prosecutor, he has an uncomfortable number of personal connections to this case.