Gowdy criticizes illegal grand jury leaks by Mueller's office
House Oversight Committee chairman Trey Gowdy told Fox News's Chris Wallace that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should crack down on leaks from his office regarding grand jury deliberations.
A leak on Friday revealed that charges had been filed in connection with the Russian collusion investigation. Although at the time, no names were mentioned, we discovered today that former Trump campaign chief Robert Manafort and a close aide had been charged.
"It is kind of ironic that the people in charge of investigating the law and executing the law would violate the law," Gowdy told host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." "Make no mistake, disclosing grand jury material is a violation of the law. So, as a former prosecutor, I'm disappointed that you and I are having the conversation because somebody violated their oath of secrecy."
"The only conversation I've had with Robert Mueller, it was stressing to him the importance of cutting out the leaks with respect to serious investigations," Gowdy said.
Still, the South Carolina Republican said he's not pushing for Mueller's investigation to be curtailed or shut down.
"I readily concede I'm in an increasingly small group of Republicans," Gowdy said. "Bob Mueller has a really distinguished career of service to our country. I don't think any of your viewers can think of a single thing he did as the FBI director that caused them to have a lack of confidence in him."
"He's a pretty apolitical guy," Gowdy added.
Does an "apolitical guy" manipulate the media by getting Washington in a tizzy for an entire weekend anticipating whom the grand jury has indicted? Mueller knew full well that the leak on Friday that promised an indictment without revealing who would be charged would create a sensation inside the Beltway. It did.
The leak was not only illegal. It violated the due process rights of the accused. But constitutional rights apparently pale in comparison to Mueller's media strategizing.
Mueller is forced to play the media game because he has nothing so far on the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia. He has indicted Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, on charges relating to activities before the two men even worked for Trump. His obvious ploy is to get one or both men to flip on other principals being investigated. Mueller may have something specific in mind, or he may simply be involved in a fishing expedition – shaking the tree to see if anything falls to the ground.
Will anyone bother to mention that these charges are completely unrelated to the Russia probe? CNN managed to avoid saying anything until the fourth paragraph:
The charges do not necessarily relate to actions during the 2016 campaign, but they do show how Mueller is homing in on key figures in Trump's orbit.
Is Mueller "homing in"? If he is, he's a got a faulty homing device. He can't find anything related to the 2016 election, so he's looking for wrongdoing elsewhere. If, as expected, Manafort tells Mueller to go climb a tree, that he's got nothing on anybody, Mueller will be back to square one in his investigation.