Rep. Trent Franks: Robert Mueller must resign

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has lost his credibility as the lead of the investigation into the unsubstantiated allegations of illegal collusion with Russia by Donald Trump. Mr. Mueller should resign immediately.

The authors of the federal law governing the special counsel placed safeguards in the code that explicitly prohibit anyone serving in that capacity with a “conflict of interest.” Even the appearance of a conflict is sufficient for qualifying as a violation, as the rule has been interpreted.

And the appearance of a "conflict of interest" is incontrovertible.

As it has been extensively reported in the media, Bob Mueller has enjoyed a long, close relationship with former FBI Director James Comey since at least 2003. They met while Mueller was the head of the FBI and Comey was Acting Attorney General – John Ashcroft, Bush’s Attorney General, had been hospitalized. Both Mueller and Comey were opposed to the controversial surveillance program by the NSA, and they capitalized on their shared opinion to talk former President George W. Bush out of renewing it.

This investigation has become a dizzying quagmire of ruptured trust.

In 2007, Comey gave testimony in which he described the episode in rosy terms of affection for Mueller: “He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.”

According to a report about the episode: Mueller was the “one person in government in whom [Comey] could confide in and trust.”

Those who worked under them have attested Mueller and Comey possessed a close friendship – they have been described as having been joined at the hip and being “brothers in arms.”

Now, recently, Mr. Comey has testified under oath before a Congressional Committee that he deliberately caused information to be leaked for the purpose of causing a special counsel to be appointed.

It worked. And we should not allow the leftist media to conceal the fact that the person appointed as that Special Counsel was the "one person in government in whom [Comey] could confide in and trust.”

Now, Mueller (who would be instantly be disqualified to even serve on the jury if this were a court case), has been tasked with judging the credibility of Comey versus the credibility of Donald Trump, the man who fired him publicly. Could Mueller be tempted to strike back against the president for firing his friend Comey in a high-profile fashion?

Such suspicions are not unfounded. The investigation became suspect when reports revealed at least four members of Mueller’s team on the Russia probe donated to support Hillary Clinton for president. These obviously deliberate partisan hirings do not convey impartiality.

The Code of Federal Regulations is clear on how to proceed: An employee who possesses “a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution…” “shall” disqualify himself – note that the word is not “may or “should.” It is mandatory.

It is crystal clear that Mueller is in violation of the law by remaining in his role. By being in violation of the law, he has undermined the very thing that provides him his authority as special counsel. How does he credibly execute the law when he ignores it himself?

Let us give the man the benefit of the doubt. Mr. Mueller may have pure intentions; but, even good, honest people can have their vision clouded when their friend’s reputation is on the line. This investigation has become a dizzying quagmire of ruptured trust.

Surveying the evidence, any reasonable person would admit Mueller clearly appears to be a partisan arbiter of justice. That appearance of a conflict not only undermines Mueller’s credibility; it legally requires him to resign.

Congressman Trent Franks is a senior Republican member in his 8th term representing the 8th District of Arizona and sits on the House Judiciary Committee.