House Republicans seem to be looking for a way to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether or not President Donald Trump's campaign worked with the the Russian government to win the 2016 election. A handful of lawmakers have been secretly meeting for weeks, determined to find that the Justice Department and FBI improperly handled the salacious dossier which drew connections between Trump and Russia.
The small group is kept hidden from Democrats, and only the House's general counsel has been informed. The group consists of a subset of Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee and is being led by the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, Politico reported.
Ever since the Mueller investigation was launched, the GOP and Trump have sought to undermine its efforts and question its legitimacy, even going so far as to put blame on the DOJ and FBI. Nunes appears to be set on exposing "what some committee Republicans see as corruption and conspiracy in the upper ranks of federal law enforcement," Politico reported.
Members of the small group are suspicious that the DOJ and FBI are working against the president or attempting to help his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. A report from the group, which would highlight their findings, could be made public early next year with the hopes of potentially discrediting findings of the Mueller investigation.
The exact number of lawmakers working in the group is not clear, and lawmakers have also declined to discuss any of their findings.
"I don't talk about what we do behind closed doors," Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who leads the Intelligence Committee's bipartisan Russia inquiry, told Politico.
Panel member Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said, "I'm not going to talk about that."
The secret investigation being conducted by a subset of House Republicans exemplifies a deep partisan divide on an issue that has dominated American politics for the past year. Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine, or otherwise delegitimize inquiries into his, or his campaign's, alleged wrongdoing.
In recent weeks, the GOP and right-wing punditry have become increasingly hostile to the DOJ and FBI, accusing Mueller and his team of bias. As the president continues to consume hours of TV each day, most of which is likely Fox News, his supporters in the media have taken notice and seized the opportunity to have his ear.
Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro recently called for the "cleansing" of law enforcement officials responsible for investigating the president. Other conservatives on Fox News have followed suit and have gone as far to say that the "FBI has been compromised."
A media storm filled with yes men, combined with warnings from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, that Republicans may even go as far as to shut down the panel's investigation, has made all the ingredients for a potential disaster when Mueller's findings are concluded.