Rep. Trent Franks calls on Robert Mueller to resign

Republican lawmaker from Arizona says the special counsel has too many conflicts of interest to manage the Russian interference investigation fairly


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, forget the fear that Donald Trump as president is so tired of what's going on with Robert Mueller in a biased investigation, the White House has said, that there's a possibility he could fire him. 

To hear congressman Trent Franks tell it, the House Judiciary Committee member, a very influential person in general, Mueller should leave, step down now right now over conflict of interests and a host of other things. 

The congressman joins me right now to explain. 

Congressman, your argument with Mr. Mueller is that there are plenty of conflicts there? Explain. 

REP. TRENT FRANKS, R-ARIZONA: Well, I really do believe that. 

This is not to slander Mr. Mueller's personal integrity. This is simply to say that the statute is very clear here. There are an abundance and ubiquitous conflicts that he has here. 

And the statute, it doesn’t say they should or may step down. It says they shall in that situation. 


CAVUTO: But where is the exact conflict that bothers you the most? 

FRANKS: Well, I suppose that the statute, if you put it up on the screen sometime, I think that would make it really clear to people. 

But it essentially says that anyone who has a personal relationship with someone that is involved in the conduct that's being investigated -- and, certainly, one of the main investigations taking place was the conversation between Mr. Comey and the president. 

And Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller are very good friends. And the more you look at it, the closer that friendship appears to be. And, consequently, I just don’t see how Mr. Mueller can be an unbiased arbiter between those two perspectives, when his perspective on which one is telling the truth has a major impulse for the whole investigation. 

CAVUTO: Well, Congressman, Others have said that they had worked together for many, many years. They're not necessarily good friends. 

But they do have some common areas, where they both opposed President Bush's courtroom surveillance program, and they developed a relationship there. Furthermore, Mr. Comey had testified under oath that he deliberately caused information to be leaked with the purpose that it would eventually lead to the appointing of a special counsel, hence Mr. Mueller. 

Are you saying that he knew in advance...

FRANKS: Well, that's not a casual...

CAVUTO: No, I understand what you’re saying, sir.

But do you think that that telegraphed that he knew Mueller would in fact get that job? 

FRANKS: Well, I can't speak to that. At least I won’t speak to it, because I think that I have to stay focused on the things that we do know. 

But for the -- for the -- Mr. Comey to testify in open committee that, yes, he caused information to be leaked with the sole intention of creating a special counsel, and then for that to be someone that turns out to be a friend of his, I just have to... 

CAVUTO: Well, he said one person -- quoting Comey -- 'One person in government whom I could confide and trust. '


It's astonishing that then would become -- the special counsel would be that one person that he felt like he confide in and trust. 

The truth is, if this were a court case, Neil, Mr. Mueller couldn't become a member of the injury. He would be clearly put out of the jury pool because he simply would not be qualified to be a member of the jury because he would be clearly biased. 

And the bottom line is...

CAVUTO: But you extend it beyond that. You extend it beyond that. 

I know he's hired quite the legal team, I think 16, by last count, Congressman. I'm talking about Mr. Mueller. Four of them have ties to the Clinton administration or Hillary Clinton herself or to the Obama administration. Four were Hillary Clinton donors. 

So, I can see your concern there. But others, even knowing that, like Ken Starr, the former independent prosecutor going after Bill Clinton, told ABC News of Mr. Mueller, 'This is a great, great team of complete professionals.'

So he wasn't worried. Why are you? 

FRANKS: Well, I guess I’m worried because I just see the whole picture here. 

And, in fact, it was some of those appointments that made me decide that I had to say something here. We looked at the statute. And the statute is very clear. And it’s not only clear if there's a conflict, Neil.

CAVUTO: Right. 

FRANKS: It's clear if there's an appearance of conflict. 

And for anyone to suggest that there's not an appearance of conflict here is just completely out of the realm of reason.

CAVUTO: So, let's say he heeds your advice, and others agree -- some are wincing, even those who support him, at the number of Hillary Clinton donors who are part of that team. 

But let's say he leaves and resigns and this does become an issue. It doesn't look that way now, but things could change. Now, should a new special counsel be appointed then? 


FRANKS: Well, I was very much against a special counsel in the very first place, because I thought this was clearly a fishing expedition. 

If you look at the conduct of the Clintons and even the Obama administration, it seemed like there's such a duel approach here. And I just find it astonishing that we couldn’t find a special counsel for some of these other things, when there was such an abundance of information. 

And yet, for this, we do? And I just see this as something... 

CAVUTO: No, no, you make a good point and what might not be fair or right in comparison. But a lot has developed since, right, this meeting of Donald Trump Jr. that might be much ado about nothing, now talk that the president might have coached his son on putting out a statement. Again, it could be much ado about nothing. 

These other Russian meetings that were formerly forgotten or unknown or not states, and now -- now revealed, that there does seem to be, as Lindsey Graham and others have said, a pattern of not telling all, that now a special counsel or some type of person like that has to finish. 

What do you think? 

FRANKS: Well, the special counsel is going in all kinds of different directions now. 

Now it's down to financial situations, tax records, those kinds of things, personal information. And this ostensibly was about -- supposed to be about an illegal collusion with Russia. And I have seen nothing there that indicates that there’s an illegal collusion with Russia. 

CAVUTO: You don’t think they should look at those financial ties, if there are some that are curious, or not? 

FRANKS: I'm just suggesting that, when you have a special counsel, it can go off the rails in any direction in the world. 

CAVUTO: Yes, they always do. They always do. 

FRANKS: And so, consequently, they should be appointed with great caution. 

And because there's a -- you can understand the president’s frustration here, when he appointed an attorney general...

CAVUTO: But you wouldn't advise the president to fire him? 

FRANKS: No, I'm not suggesting that. 

But I’m saying you understand his frustration when he appoints an attorney general who is in my judgment a great man, Pete Sessions -- I’m sorry, not Pete Sessions -- he's a good friend of mine too.


FRANKS: But Jeff Sessions is a great man. But when he took himself out of the way, it really handed it over to the left to do this.

CAVUTO: I got you. Congressman, I hear you. We’re going to pursue more on this after this. 

FRANKS: All right. OK, thank you. 

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