GOP House leader downplays need for Congress to protect Mueller

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday downplayed the need for legislation protecting Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, and questioned the integrity of the Department of Justice during an interview on “Meet The Press.”

“I don’t think there’s a need for legislation right now to protect Mueller,” McCarthy told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.”

“Right now there is not an issue,” he added. “So why create one when there isn’t a place for it?”

The comments came following reports that President Donald Trump wanted to fire Mueller last summer.

“I have confidence in Mueller,” McCarthy said. “I have questions about others within the FBI and the [Department of Justice].”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said Congress should wait to see if Trump takes action against the investigation. “Let’s see if he moves on” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reportedly has been the subject of the president’s criticism in recent weeks.

“I think at that time there would be Democrats and Republicans saying, time to protect the judicial system and that three branches of government have an equal power,” Manchin said.

McCarthy, the second ranking House Republican, also said congressional oversight of the investigation has “raised a great deal of questions” and cast doubt over its fairness. McCarthy said he never believed in a “deep state” conspiracy, but went on to list a number of issues defenders of the president have found fault with during Mueller’s investigation, including text messages from FBI investigators revealing bias against the president.

“I think that gives anybody doubt. And I go to people who have dealt with this time and again, and now they have serious doubt,” McCarthy said.