Mike Pence Says Mueller Probe Must End: ‘It’s Time To Wrap It Up’
Although he hasn’t spoken much about it until now, Mike Pence seems to have grown almost as frustrated with Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation as President Donald Trump and other administration officials.
Mike Pence Calls For End To Mueller Probe
In an interview with NBC News on Thursday morning, Pence said it is time for the special counsel’s probe to end once and for all for the benefit of the nation.
“You know, our administration has been fully cooperating with the special counsel and we’ll continue to. What I think is that it’s been about a year since this investigation began,” he said to Andrea Mitchell. “We’ve fully cooperated in it and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up. And I would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion.”
Early Thursday, three American prisoners were released from North Korea, and Trump and Pence welcomed them home.
Mueller’s inquiry into potential collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government during the 2016 election is one of several matters the president and his legal team have been dealing with over the past year. Another scandal that has put Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen in the spotlight is Cohen’s $130,000 payment in hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Daniels has sued Trump and his lawyer for defamation after they denied all allegations of the sexual encounter.
This week, it was revealed Cohen and his firm received hundreds of thousands of dollars from several multinational companies like AT&T and Columbus Nova, over the past year, with one of these organizations tied to a Russian oligarch who in turn is linked to President Vladimir Putin.
Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt” on Twitter and accused the special counsel of being biased toward Democrats because, Trump claims, he has surrounded himself primarily with members of the party. The president has also said his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton should have been investigated further for deleting emails and using a private email server, among other controversies tied to her campaign.
Recently, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough heavily criticized Pence. Scarborough compared the vice president’s statements and general behavior to that of former President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Many legal pundits have compared the Russia probe to Watergate.
“What did he know, and when did he know it?” asked Scarborough of Pence, referring to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and the administration’s alleged collusion with Russian officials. Russia has been predicted to meddle again in the 2018 midterms in November.
Mueller has already convicted one person in the Russia probe: Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who is spending a 30-day prison sentence for lying about his contacts with former Trump aide Rick Gates, among other issues. The special counsel has also indicted 13 Russian individuals and several Russian organizations.
The special counsel does not have a deadline to finish his investigation. However, he is required to submit a status report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in early July.