GOP questions political leaning of Mueller team

President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey xxx at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington Monday Oct. 28 2013. Comey a former Bush administration official who defiantly refused to go along with White House demands on warran

During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated he hasn't seen good cause to fire Special Counsel Bob Mueller, and would only act on an order to fire Mueller if there was good cause to fire him.

Rosenstein has a supervisory role over Mueller, as Sessions has recused himself from the case because of his work on the Trump campaign.

But Rosenstein said the department has strict rules that prohibit letting a person's political affiliation be considered during hiring. He says Justice Department officials are entitled to political views but can not allow them to influence their actions.

"I think it's important to recognize that when we talk about political affiliation... the issue of bias is something different", he said, adding that he and Mueller "recognize we have employees with political opinions".

Mueller is a Republican who was appointed as special counsel by a Trump nominee. Strzok, in particular, "did not say anything about Donald Trump that the majority of Americans weren't also thinking at the same time", he said. The comment came during a House Judiciary Committee hearing where Rosenstein was pressed about the special counsel probe and a series of politically-charged text messages between a pair of Federal Bureau of Investigation officials who were assigned to it.

Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein, who serves as acting attorney general in matters related to last year's presidential election given Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal in such cases, said Mueller was an "ideal choice" for the position and pushed back on the suggestion that investigators on the Russian Federation probe have acted with bias.

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Mueller's investigation is consistent with the Justice Department's "understanding of the scope of the investigation", Rosenstein said per the AP.

Even though Mueller has brought charges against numerous officials who used to be part of Trump's team, there's a good chance GOP committee members will take the opportunity to challenge Rosenstein on whether the investigation is tainted. He was also heavily involved in the investigation previous year into Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Strzok left the team last summer after the texts were discovered.

Goodlatte said the Strzok-Page texts "prove what we all suspected - high ranking FBI officials involved in the Clinton investigation were personally invested in the outcome of the election and clearly let their strong political opinions cloud their professional judgment".

The text messages ended in late 2016, months before Mueller's appointment.

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