Republicans Attack Team Mueller as Corrupted by Bias

[Content Note: Disablist language.]

Republicans are slavering at an opportunity to try to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, because his investigators are human beings, some of whom have a very common opinion of Donald Trump:
Two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel's investigation into Donald Trump's presidential campaign described him as an "idiot" and "loathsome human" in a series of text messages last year, according to copies released on Tuesday.

One said in an election night text that the prospect of a Trump victory was "terrifying."

Peter Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team earlier this year following the discovery of text messages exchanged with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer.

Hundreds of the messages, which surfaced in a justice department investigation of the FBI's inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, were provided to congressional committees.

The existence of the text messages, disclosed in news reports earlier this month, provided a line of attack for Trump, who used the revelation to disparage FBI leadership as politically tainted. Republicans have also seized on the exchange to suggest the Mueller team is biased against Trump.

The issue is likely to be a focus of a congressional hearing on Wednesday involving deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May and oversees his team's work.

...The texts seen by the AP began mid-2015, soon after the FBI launched its email server investigation, and continued over the next year and a half as the presidential race was in full swing.
At the New York Times, Nicholas Fandos notes: "Democrats say the pattern is becoming clear: As Mr. Mueller moves closer to Mr. Trump's inner circle, Republicans try to discredit federal law enforcement and undercut the eventual findings of the special counsel. The Republican effort may also be intended to blunt the political repercussions should Mr. Mueller be fired, Democrats say."

That is exactly right. Congressional Republicans know damn well that any investigator in the federal government has his or her own political opinions and that we trust them to do their jobs as objectively as is humanly possible anyway. Federal investigators vote. They have views on policy and politicians.

And, sometimes, their opinions about politicians they're investigating are shaped by what they learn through the investigative process, as opposed to their opinions shaping the investigative process.

Simply having an opinion about Trump — no less one that has been expressed by members of his own cabinet — is not evidence of bias. If Republicans want the public to believe that Mueller's team is intractably corrupted by bias, they need to find and disclose evidence of how negative opinions of Trump actually influenced the direction of the investigation. Otherwise, it's just an accusation that presumes an unsubstantiated conclusion.

They're hoping the hint of bias is enough. And among their base, many of whom substitute accusations for facts about their ideological opponents all the time, it may be.

But for the rest of us, it's just another transparent attempt to protect the indefensible Trump from accountability. So they can pass a tax cut. And whatever other legislative acts of destruction they've got in their pockets.

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