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New details on Russia, Democrats and the FBI lead to calls for Mueller to resign

FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington as part of an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a person familiar with the probe. The use of a grand jury, a standard prosecution tool in criminal investigations, suggests that Mueller and his team of investigators is likely to hear from witnesses and demand documents in the coming weeks. The person who confirmed to The Associated Press that Mueller had turned to a grand jury was not authorized to discuss the investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

There is a new call for the Robert Mueller to step down from leading the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, this time from the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.

In an opinion piece published this week, The Wall Street Journal called on Mueller to resign, citing new revelations that the FBI may have may have worked with the Democrats to spread Russian disinformation against Donald Trump.

"It is no slur against Mr. Mueller’s integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years," the Journal's editorial board wrote. "He could best serve the country by resigning to prevent further political turmoil over that conflict of interest."

The call marks a significant change in tone from the nearly universal praise of Mueller when he was first appointed to lead the special counsel investigation in May.

"This was somebody Donald Trump was seriously considering putting into his own administration," explained Democratic strategist Harrell Kirstein. "What he ultimately is going to be judged by is what he delivers at the end of it."

The concern over Mueller has been linked to a Washington Post report this week that the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee helped pay for research that went into the infamous Trump dossier. That dossier, written by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, suggested that Trump's campaign had colluded with Russia and that Moscow had compromising information on Donald Trump.

The report also contained information indicating that the FBI agreed to pay Christopher Steele for the information on Russian election interference and that the former British spy had shopped his dossier on Trump to other foreign intelligence services. At the time, the FBI was being led by James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May.

Former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka agreed that Mueller should step aside, arguing that he cannot be an impartial investigator because of his previous relationship with Comey when the two worked together at the Department of Justice.

"His closeness to James Comey and the fact that he was implicated to the sale of uranium and CFIUS [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States]," Gorka said citing a controversial deal approved by nine government agencies, including the State Department, then run by Clinton. The deal authorized a Russian-owned company to receive significant ownership of U.S. uranium mining rights.

Despite a Justice Department corruption investigation into the Russian company, the deal was approved in 2010. At the time, Robert Mueller was director of the FBI, a fact that has raised questions among critics.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt," but he and members of his Justice Department have denied plans to fire Mueller.



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