For once, there’s a story about the Russia scandal that isn’t based on a leak. According to a statement from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s spokesman Peter Carr, reported upon by CNN, Mueller has hired a total of 13 lawyers to help him deal with the Russian election meddling investigation.
Not all of the identities of these lawyers are known, but some of them are. Andrew Weissmann, for instance, is among those hired by Mueller’s office, and he led the investigation into corporate fraud at Enron. James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, also among the hired, came over from Mueller’s old law firm, WilmerHale.
It’s worth noting at this point that Mueller, who is a former head of the FBI, was interviewed for the same position following the firing of James Comey and just a short time before his appointment as Special Counsel was announced.
CNN says that there are concerns about some of the political leanings of those lawyers who have been named. According to a CNN analysis of publicly available FEC records, Quarles, Rhee, and Weissmann have donated a combined total of more than $53,000 to Democrats since 1988.
Some have alleged that Mueller himself also suffers from potential conflicts of interest, having met privately with the president shortly before his appointment as Special Counsel. During this meeting, Mueller no doubt discussed specifics of the Russia investigation, and now he’s leading it. There has been talk of Trump looking to fire Mueller in recent days.
Some on the right have also seemed to blame Mueller personally for apparent leaks out of his office. These leaks have detailed the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation, including that he’s looking into whether or not there is a credible case against the president for obstruction of justice.
Recent leaks have also indicated that Trump associates, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, his former campaign chair Paul Manafort, and his former National Security Adviser Carter Page are all having their personal finances looked at for evidence of financial crimes.
Were Trump to fire Mueller, as it’s been suggested that he’ll do, it would not stop the Russia investigation anymore than firing James Comey did.
Trump, for his part, seemed to acknowledge in an early Friday morning tweet that he is personally being scrutinized by the Special Counsel’s office.
‘I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.’
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
It will, according to CNN, be up to Mueller himself whether or not any charges should be filed in the Russia scandal.
Featured Image via Andrew Burton/Getty Images.