It is apparently part of Robert Mueller's contract with the media that he must always be described as "honorable" and a "lifelong Republican." (After this week, we can add "dazed and confused" to his appellation.)
If it matters that Mueller is a "lifelong Republican," then I guess it matters that he hired a team of left-wing zealots. Of the 17 lawyers in Mueller's office, 14 are registered Democrats. Not one is a registered Republican. In total, they have donated more than $60,000 to Democratic candidates.
Congressman Steve Chabot listed the Democratic political activism of nine of Mueller's staff attorneys at a December 2017 House hearing.
Here are a few from Chabot's list:
-- Kyle Freeny contributed to both Obama campaigns and to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
-- Andrew Goldstein donated $3,300 to both Obama campaigns.
-- Elizabeth Prelogar contributed to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns.
-- Jeannie Rhee donated $16,000 to Democrats, contributed $5,400 to the Clinton campaign -- and represented Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in several lawsuits.
-- Andrew Weissmann contributed $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee, $2,300 to the Obama campaign and $2,300 to the Clinton Campaign.
None had donated to the Trump campaign.
The media brushed off the conspicuous anti-Trump bias in Mueller's office with platitudes about how prosecutors are, "allowed to have political opinions," as Jeffrey Toobin said on CNN. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assured the public that their "views are not in any way a factor in how they conduct themselves in office."
Obviously, no one believes this -- otherwise "lifelong Republican" wouldn't be spot-welded to Mueller's name.
In a fiery rebuke at the hearings this week, Mueller denounced complaints about all the diehard Democrats on his legal team, saying, "I've been in this business for almost 25 years, and in those 25 years I have not had occasion once to ask somebody about their political affiliation. It is not done."
No kidding. He's been director of the FBI. He's been acting U.S. deputy attorney general. He's been a U.S. attorney. He's never been an independent counsel investigating the president before.
An independent counsel investigation isn't the kind of job where you want the hungriest prosecutors. You want drug enforcement agents who are hungry to bust up drug rings. You want organized crime prosecutors who are hungry to take down the mob.
But lawyers on a special counsel's investigation of the president of the United States aren't supposed to be hungry. They're supposed to be fair.
As for Mueller being "honorable," Steven Hatfill and the late Sen. Ted Stevens might beg to differ.
After the 2001 anthrax attacks, the FBI, under Director Mueller's close supervision, spent SEVEN YEARS pursuing Hatfill, a U.S. Army biodefense researcher. Year after year, the real culprit went about his life undisturbed -- until he committed suicide when, at last, the FBI zeroed in on him.
Mueller was deeply involved in the anthrax investigation, recruiting the lead investigator on the case and working "in lockstep" with him, according to a book on the case, "The Mirage Man" by David Willman.
During this multi-year investigation of the wrong man, Mueller assured Attorney General John Ashcroft, as well as two U.S. senators that Hatfill was the anthrax mailer. Presciently, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz asked then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey if he was sure Hatfill wasn't another Richard Jewell, an innocent man who, a few years earlier, had been publicly identified by the FBI as the main Olympic bombing suspect. Comey replied that he was "absolutely certain that it was Hatfill."
The hounding of Steven Hatfill finally ended in 2008, with the bureau paying the poor man millions of dollars. In open court, a federal judge, Reggie B. Walton, assailed Mueller's FBI for its handling of the case.
Far from apologizing, the director stoutly defended the bureau's relentless pursuit of the blameless Hatfill, saying: "I do not apologize for any aspect of this investigation." He said it would be incorrect "to say there were mistakes."
Maybe he can use that line to defend the similarly monomaniacal zealots he put on the Russia investigation.
Eight days before the 2008 elections, the government convicted Sen. Stevens of failing to properly report gifts on his Senate financial forms. The longest-serving Republican in Senate history lost his re-election by less than 2 percent of the vote.
Months later -- too late for Stevens' political career -- Obama Attorney General Eric Holder moved for a dismissal of all charges against Stevens after discovering that the government had failed to turn over crucial exculpatory evidence. The trial judge not only threw out the charges, but angrily ordered an independent counsel to investigate the investigators.
Unlike the disastrous Hatfill case, the extent of Mueller's oversight of the Stevens investigation is less clear. Was he aware of the bureau's malicious pursuit of a sitting U.S. senator on the eve of his re-election? Either he was, which is awful, or he wasn't -- which is worse.
In addition to "honorable," another way of describing Mueller is: "Too Corrupt for Eric Holder."