Three members of the House Tea Party faction have proffered a resolution to demand Robert Mueller resign as special counsel over the Uranium One conspiracy theory.
“A spokeswoman for [Florida Rep. Matt] Gaetz said they expect to pick up more support from the Freedom Caucus, the bulk of whose members signed onto an earlier Gaetz bill calling on the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to look into Comey’s actions,” the Washington Post reports.
Best-known for his bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, Gaetz has been joined by Andy “kids don’t need healthcare” Biggs of Arizona and Louie Gohmert of Texas, who is widely considered the dumbest man in Congress.
“But Gaetz may struggle to build wider support,” Karoun Demirjian explains. While there are a few other hard-right House Republicans calling for Mueller to resign or be forced aside, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, so far they represent a minority within the GOP caucus.
The nonbinding resolution is thus unlikely to pass, and would probably have no effect on Mueller or the investigation of Donald Trump’s Russian influence scandals even if it did because such legislation has no force of law.
But it is a good sign that the special counsel’s office has rocked the president to the core this week with two indictments and the guilty plea of campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
Information that Papadopoulos admitted in court has put Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a campaign meeting where outreach to the Russian government was under discussion. That contradicts Sessions’s sworn Senate testimony, and makes him a perjurer. It also means that Trump was aware of efforts within his campaign to collude with Russia.
“Evidence has emerged that the FBI withheld information from Congress and from the American people about Russian corruption of American uranium companies,” Gaetz writes in his proposed bill. Which is preposterous, since the FBI had no role whatsoever in the Uranium One deal, the seller in question is Canadian, and his company is based in South Africa. None of the uranium in question could be exported to Russia, which lacks an export license.
Much ado about nothing
It gets worse from there. Gaetz rails that Muller’s “impartiality is hopelessly compromised” because the case did not result in prosecutions:
Although federal agents possessed this information in 2010, the Department of Justice continued investigating this “matter” for over four years. The FBI, led at the time by Robert Mueller, required the confidential witness to sign a non-disclosure agreement. When the witness attempted to contact Congress and federal courts about the bribery and corruption he saw, he was threatened with legal action. By silencing him, Obama’s Justice Department and Mueller’s FBI knowingly kept COngress in the dark about Russia’s significant and illegal involvement with American uranium mining companies.
This characterization of the NDA comes from the witness’s lawyer, who tried to file a (profitable) whistleblower lawsuit in 2016. It has largely been transmitted to the wider media by John Solomon, a reporter at The Hill.com with a long record of pushing discredited narratives. The DoJ has already cleared the witness to appear before Congress after reported pressure from the White House.
The FBI unsealed its indictments related to the Russian bribery investigation in 2014. Uranium One was not part of that case. Contrary to the propaganda unleashed by right-wing blogs, NDAs are a normal feature of FBI cases related to national security, and they are especially tight in regard to information learned in the course of any such investigation.
At heart, this entire long-running nontroversy has been a weak attempt to cast aspersions on Hillary Clinton, who had no role whatsoever in the Uranium One deal, and Barack Obama, who supposedly covered up her nonexistent role in order to help her win the election.
Now Gaetz is reviving this conspiracy theory to target Robert Mueller without specifying what he allegedly did wrong. As you might expect, Breitbart editor Alex Marlow has promised to give the resolution lots of gushing coverage.
In other words, like the House investigations that have been launched to weaponize the Uranium One story, Gaetz’s bill is a weapon of mass distraction intended to divert Trump’s base from the very real, and damning, revelations that the special counsel’s office is laying out against the president and his campaign right now.
Mueller must be getting perilously close to showing America a “smoking gun.”
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