After being appointed late last month by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to head a Special Counsel investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, in addition to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election through propaganda and fake news, former FBI Director Bob Mueller has been rounding up attorneys in Washington D.C. to assemble his team.
But according to an assessment done by CNN, those hired so far are mostly Democrat donors. Two already on board gave the max amount to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.
Three members of the legal team known to have been hired so far by special counsel Robert Mueller to handle the Russia investigation have given political donations almost exclusively to Democrats, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
More than half of the more than $56,000 came from just one lawyer and more than half of it was donated before the 2016 election, but two of the lawyers gave the maximum $2,700 donation to Hillary Clinton last year.
While only five attorneys have been publicly identified as working on the Russia probe, there could be more on Mueller's team.
Three of the five lawyers have donations in FEC records. They gave overwhelmingly to Democrats, totaling more than $53,000 since 1988. More than half of the donations came from just one of the lawyers, James Quarles, whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale.
Quarles has given nearly $33,000 to political campaigns over the years. He gave money to Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In addition, Quarles gave more than $10,000 to help Democrats get elected to the House and another $10,000 on the Senate side, including money to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
But Quarles is also the only lawyer among Mueller's team for which records were available who ever donated to Republicans. He gave $2,500 to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz in 2015 and gave $250 to then-Sen. George Allen of Virginia in 2005.
This certainly raises questions about the impropriety of the investigation and fuels accusations the special investigation is simply a witch hunt. That being said, a few things to keep in mind.
1) Mueller is a highly praised and respected professional. In fact, he was considered by the White House as a possible replacement of fired FBI Director James Comey. When tapped by Rosenstein to lead the special Russia investigation, Democrats and Republicans both agreed he was a solid choice. As of this morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he has confidence in Mueller to do a fair and thorough job. The hope is he will demand attorneys put their politics aside and let the facts lead where they may.
2) From my own sources, I know conservative and Republican attorneys have been asked to apply for positions on Mueller's team. Whether or not they have applied to do the job is a different story and of course, being asked to apply is not the same as being handpicked (as the Democrats on the team seem to have been) for these important positions.
3) They better balance this out, quickly. Even if it means begging Republicans or conservative attorneys to come on board.
Parting thought: The balance here is most certainly a problem, but in today's atmosphere of partisan politics, can anybody truly do their job without being accused of playing politics? And if the answer is no, how is anything significant or results driven going to get accomplished?