Recent remarks from both sides of the aisle have linked the recent termination of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday and made it clear that these are totally separate issues.
“Let me be clear about this, What Mr. McCabe did has absolutely nothing to do with the Mueller investigation,” Graham told host Jake Tapper. “The dossier, I think, was mishandled by the FBI, I think was inappropriately used and presented to the FISA court. That’s a separate issue than the Mueller investigation…. They’re separate in time, they’re not connected in any way.”
In a statement, McCabe had said his termination, days before he was set to retire, “is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day.” He added, “Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”
President Donald Trump and his team have also seemed to link these issues in the wake of McCabe’s firing. Trump attorney John Dowd said in a recent statement:
I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier
Trump himself also tweeted about the investigation over the weekend, referring to Mueller by name when he hadn’t done so in the past. The president said the investigation “never should have been started,” and said it was based on the “Fake Dossier” which was used “for surveillance of my campaign.”
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018
This, of course, ignores the fact that the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign began months before they acquired a FISA warrant for Carter Page, and the fact that Page was no longer with the Trump campaign when they began their surveillance of him.
Graham said that not only is Robert Mueller’s investigation separate from the FISA warrant issue and any problems with McCabe and the FBI, but Mueller should continue his investigation and must be able to do so completely unfettered.
“I pledge to the American people as a Republican to make sure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference,” he said. “I think he’s doing a good job, and everything about McCabe and the FBI handling of the dossier has nothing to do with the Russia investigation and Mr. Mueller.”
Tapper said that Trump’s tweets seem to indicate that he’s considering having Mueller fired, and asked Graham what he thinks of this. Graham noted that the Special Counsel can only be terminated for good cause, and he sees no reason to fire him. If Trump tried to get rid of Mueller anyway, it would be a serious problem, Graham warned.
“As I said before, if he tried to do that, it would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation.”
[Image via CNN screengrab]