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By Juliegrace Brufke
House Republicans welcomed the announcement Wednesday that an independent special counsel has been assigned to investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced former FBI Director Robert Mueller would fill the role — a major win for Democrats who argued it was necessary to restore the trust of the American people. The move follows recent reports President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to discontinue the agency’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and unveiled classified information to the Russian ambassador.
“After the news yesterday, you know, you see the reaction from some people on the left who yell impeachment and some on the right that yell fake news — it became obvious to me that we have to detox this,” Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger told reporters, adding he believes they needed to take the politics out of the investigation.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise noted the congressional investigations will continue, saying he hopes the probes will be beneficial in helping them get to the bottom of the issue.
“So, you know obviously we’ve gotten a number of investigations going on in the House and Senate and that works to continue — I think we’ve seen a lot of oversight from Congress and that will move forward too,” he told reporters. “So we’ll see if these two can work hand-in-hand and ultimately what we’ve always wanted is getting the facts and then we’re going to continue to pursue all the facts.”
Kansas Republican Rep. Roger Marshall said he hasn’t lost confidence in the president but thinks the independent counsel will ease some concerns.
“We’re certainly looking forward to just getting to the to the final outcome as efficiently as possible, and I’ll stand beside this president,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I think he’s doing a great job, and I think some people are just way overreacting to some of this noise.”
GOP lawmakers praised the decision to select Mueller, saying he has the integrity needed to do the job right.
“We’ve got to give the American people confidence we’re going to get an answer, and they frankly don’t have confidence that it could be done in the current situation — so Robert Mueller’s I think a fantastic person, I don’t know him personally, but this is the right move,” Kinzinger said.
Republican Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam echoed Kinzinger’s sentiments, saying Mueller is a man of principle.
“I have complete confidence in his ability to conduct a thorough investigation, wherever the facts may lead,” he said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan asserted Republicans are committed to conducting proper oversight on the executive branch, adding he thinks it was the right move.
“My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead. That is what we’ve been doing here in the House,” Ryan said. “The edition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice. The important ongoing bipartisan investigation in the House will also continue.”
Republican Rep. Peter King of New York said he’s OK with the decision, but doesn’t think it’s necessary.
“It’s fine, but there’s absolutely no need for it,” said King said. “Generally, there’s a crime. In Watergate, there was a crime. In the Lewinsky case, there was a crime. There’s no crime here.”