“IN RESPONSE TO MEDIA SPECULATION…”
by Sharon Rondeau
A statement Cobb made on Saturday morning calling for an end to Mueller’s investigation of the Trump White House for alleged “collusion” with the Russians was solicited by a reporter for The Daily Beast the day after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions terminated former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Justice Department’s inspector general reportedly recommended that McCabe be terminated. He had been under investigation on several fronts since before Trump took office in January of last year.
On Friday night, Trump had almost immediately celebrated McCabe’s termination on Twitter as “a great day for democracy.”
Congressional Democrats expressed trepidation that Trump intended to dismiss Mueller imminently, while the mainstream media, which has speculated for months that Trump would do so, appeared convinced that it would happen.
The Beast reported that Cobb is a “personal lawyer” for Donald Trump, although it was unclear if Cobb was speaking for the White House or for himself on Saturday. The outlet reported Cobb’s statement as:
I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.
Last July, USA Today reported that Cobb was added to Trump’s legal team as “White House Special Counsel.”
Former Obama cabinet members reacted to Trump’s several tweets swiftly and viscerally, with former CIA Director John Brennan tweeting, “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/974859881827258369 …“
Some viewed Brennan’s tweet as highly unusual directed at a sitting president.
Obama’s United Nations ambassador, Samantha Power, then tweeted what appeared to some to be a warning or threat invoking Brennan’s perceived power.
Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, also weighed in:
The Trump White House has opined on several occasions that there was no “collusion” between anyone on the campaign or Trump himself and the Kremlin. In early December, Cobb had opined that Mueller might finish his work by January.
Mueller’s investigation into Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential election yielded 16 indictments from a Washington, DC-based federal grand jury, all of Russian citizens and entities who likely will not see extradition from Russia to the U.S.
Cobb directed his desire for a speedy conclusion to Mueller’s probe to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who hired Mueller despite the fact that Mueller had interviewed with Trump the day before for the FBI directorship, a position Mueller held from September 2001 to September 2013. James B. Comey succeeded Mueller after he was nominated by Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Mueller was once Comey’s boss, while Comey was also Mueller’s supervisor at one time.
Comey, who Trump fired last May, touted his upcoming book, opining on Twitter that “the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”
Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe all reportedly signed warrant applications to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, submitting as “evidence” a “dossier” assembled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. After signing at least one warrant request to the FISC court himself, Comey told Trump that the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”
On Sunday evening, apparently in response to the media furor caused by his initial remark, Cobb said that the White House is not involved in any discussions to “fire” Mueller. His full statement Sunday night reads:
In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
Fox News reported, as did CNN, that Trump’s “personal lawyer,” John Dowd, had originally issued a statement calling on Rosenstein to bring an end to Mueller’s mission, followed by Cobb’s remarks on Saturday.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were critical of the timing of McCabe’s firing on the eve of the expected inception of his pension on Sunday, with Graham calling for an investigation into whether or not the decision was “politically motivated.”