In the aftermath of a report that special counsel Robert Mueller has expanded his investigation of potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, Republicans and have instructed surrogates how to hit back.
Republican talking points include claiming there is no case for obstruction of justice, shifting attention to claims that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is the one who should be investigated for obstruction and insisting that the leakers are the real criminals, according to a report by Philip Rucker of The Washington Post.
"The illegal leaks are the only real crime here," the talking points say. "The investigative committees have clearly struck out on the collusion charge and are now shifting to baseless obstruction of justice charges. There is absolutely no case for obstruction of justice. When is this fishing expedition going to end so we can get back to the real issues that matter to Americans?"
Meanwhile one of Trump's most stalwart media defenders, Fox News host Sean Hannity, blasted the Post on Wednesday by saying that its staffers are "once again citing anonymous sources, as if they haven’t been wrong enough recently." He also attacked the character of both Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, calling for their resignation, and claimed that the individuals responsible for the leaks "should be arrested, prosecuted, and put in jail."
Andrew McCarthy of the conservative magazine National Review argued that the scope of Mueller's investigation should be curbed, although he stopped short of saying that he should be fired. McCarthy called the appointment of a special counsel "unnecessary," adding that "it intimates that he may be guilty of crimes, and it is potentially destructive of his administration’s capacity to govern."
Added McCarthy: "The potential for destructiveness is a function of the boundless jurisdiction Rosenstein gave Mueller, which itself is a result of improperly appointing a special counsel to run a counterintelligence investigation."