Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election has been pushing ahead. But the discreet investigation has kept the public guessing as to what findings it will ultimately reveal.
A new occurrence is provoking questions about the inner-workings of the Special Counsel. As reported by ABC News, Peter Strzok, a top FBI investigator who was chosen by Mueller just weeks ago to lead the Special Counsel, has walked away from the investigation.
Strzok’s departure comes as a shock to observers of the investigation. Although the Special Counsel has been overshadowed by other current events like the deaths at Charlottesville, Mueller’s team has been extremely active during the last month.
Under the direction of the Strzok-led Mueller team, the FBI last week performed an early-morning raid of the home of President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as covered by Christian News Alerts.
As Breitbart noted, Manafort has turned over many documents to the intelligence community and provided information related to his work with Ukrainian President, Victor Yanukovych.
Prior to the search of Manafort’s home, Mueller began using a grand jury to collect documents and other evidence for his investigation, reported CBS News. The use of the grand jury was seen as a sign that the Russia probe is gaining momentum.
Yet in the midst of all this movement, Strzok has walked away. The widely-respected official is now working at the FBI’s human resources division. Neither Strzok nor the spokesman for the Special Counsel has provided an explanation for the change.
Prior to his involvement in the Special Counsel, Strzok oversaw the FBI’s counterespionage section, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and participated in the FBI interview of Clinton herself.
Mueller’s Special Counsel has been a focal point of contention between Trump detractors and supporters. The President’s strongest advocates claim the Special Counsel is a politicized vehicle being used to fabricate evidence against the Trump administration. As The Hill noted, Mueller has a close relationship with former FBI chief James Comey, who was fired by Trump.
This has led to speculation that Comey leaked notes of his conversations with President Trump with the specific intention of creating a Special Counsel led by Mueller. CNN pointed out that Trump himself called the relationship between Mueller and Comey “bothersome,” questioning the objectivity of the man investigating “Russian collusion.”
Suspicions of Mueller have been further exacerbated by his hiring of several Special Counsel lawyers who have donated extensively to Democrat politicians (including to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the presidency), a fact reported by The Washington Post.
The top dog on Robert Mueller’s investigation team quit. Was he concerned about the bias of Clinton donors on the team?
As Business Insider observed, one of Mueller’s most prominent hires is Jeannie Rhee, a lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton in the lawsuit that sought access to her private email server and who also defended The Clinton Foundation in a 2015 racketeering lawsuit.
These revelations have contributed to accusations that Mueller’s Special Counsel lacks impartiality. Whether these were factors in Strzok’s withdrawal from the Mueller team is not yet known.