Mueller has a conflict of interests in Trump probe
Fired FBI Director James Comey has emerged as the main figure in what some Democrats believe will be an obstruction of justice case against President Trump in the Trump-Russia matter. Comey's stories of conversations with the president, plus the fact that he was fired, ostensibly as a result of the Russia probe, make him potentially the star witness in the case.The question will become whether anyone in Congress will raise the issue and force the point. If he were going after a Democrat President you can bet the issue would be raised.
Which brings up an intriguing legal question. Comey is a good friend of special counsel Robert Mueller — such a good friend, for about 15 years now, that the two men have been described as "brothers in arms." Their work together during the controversies over Bush-era terrorist surveillance has been characterized as "deepening a friendship forged in the crucible of the highest levels of the national security apparatus after the 9/11 attacks," after which the men became "close partners and close allies throughout the years ahead."
Now Mueller is investigating the Trump-Russia affair, in which, if the increasing buzz in the case is correct, allegations of obstruction against the president will be central. And central to those allegations — the key witness — will be the prosecutor's good friend, the now-aggrieved former FBI director.
Is that a conflict? Should a prosecutor pursue a case in which the star witness is a close friend? And when the friend is not only a witness but also arguably a victim — of firing — by the target of the investigation? And when the prosecutor might also be called on to investigate some of his friend's actions? The case would be difficult enough even without the complicating friendship.
And finally, from another Hill lawyer:It's somewhat ironic, no? I mean, the whole purpose of the special counsel is to have a prosecutor from outside the government and outside of the normal chain of command because inherent conflicts render the Justice Department incapable of handling it. So, now the special counsel is a close friend (mentor/mentee relationship) with the star witness, who by his own admission leaked the memos at least in part to engineer the appointment of a special counsel. Only in Washington. You can't make this stuff up.