Three House Republicans who are leading a public insurgency against special counsel Robert Mueller have been in contact with the White House and Donald Trump, Business Insider reports.
In recent weeks, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) have all spoken with Trump—and have all expressed concern, or outright indignation, with Mueller’s probe.
In a lengthy interview with CNN’s John Berman Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) intimated he’s been in contact with the White House about Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and transition team.
“Have you had conversations, or has your office had conversations, with the White House about the Mueller investigation?” Berman asked.
Jordan, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee alongside Gaetz and DeSantis, told Berman he speaks with the White House “about all kinds of things.”
“We’ve had talks with the White House about tax policy, we’ve had talks about Obamacare, of course we’ve had talks with the White House,” he replied. Jordan also defended his line of questioning in House judiciary hearings—which in recent weeks have focused exclusively on the nature of anti-Trump text messages sent by FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
“I did not talk to the White House about what kind of questions I was going to ask [in those hearings],” Jordan insisted, arguing his questions were “driven by the evidence we’ve received in the last several weeks.”
During a Dec. 7 House Judiciary Committee hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan demanded to know whether there was a link between Strzok and the infamous Trump-Russia dossier. In that testimony, the Ohio Republican accused the FBI of “working with the Democrats’ campaign, to take opposition research, dress it all up and turning it into an intelligence document to take it to a FISA court so they can spy on another campaign.”
Wednesday, Jordan continued pushing anti-FBI rhetoric, claiming a “huge anti-Trump bias” at the bureau that “actually [tried] to make sure Donald Trump wasn’t the president.”
As Business Insider notes, on Dec. 8, Florida Republicans Gaetz and DeSantis hitched a ride on Air Force One with the president as he traveled to Pensacola, FL for a rally. According to Politico, Gaetz “counseled” Trump during that trip, claim’ing he is “concerned that this investigation was infected with bias.”
“That’s why you guys have got to do your job,” Trump told Gaetz.
And a great job their doing. Gaetz, who introduced a resolution in the House calling for Mueller’s recusal from the Russia probe, has been working nonstop to convince the public of a deeply-rooted anti-Trump bias in the FBI and Department of Justice.
Wednesday, he sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding answers about the FBI’s handing of the Trump dossier. He also demanded to know whether FBI agent Strzok sent or received any documents “related to the ‘tarmac meeting’ of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President William Clinton.”
In an interview on Fox News that same day, Gaetz called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “shut down this biased investigation,” arguing “senior levels of the FBI have been infected with an intractable bias that seemed to favor Hillary Clinton and work against President Donald Trump.”
“It’s time for Bob Mueller to put up or shut up,” Gaetz said.
DeSantis is also leading the charge against Mueller. In August, he floated an Amendment to end the special counsel investigation. “No fishing expeditions,” he told Fox News at the time. “Put up or shut up and let’s get on with the American people’s business.”
Jordan, Gaetz and DeSantis aren’t the House Republicans working to discredit the Russia investigation. As Politico reported Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is leading a small group of House Republicans to secretly build a case against senior officials at the FBI and DOJ—particularly surrounding the Trump dossier.
Nunes, who worked on Trump’s transition team, has been challenging the Russia collusion narrative since the inauguration. In April, he sparked political uproar after hastily calling a press conference to publicly accuse the Obama administration of “unmasking” members of the Trump team. It was later revealed Nunes received that information during a clandestine meeting with White House officials.
Nunes “temporarily stepped aside” from leading the House Intelligence Committee investigation amid an ethics probe, but in June, the California Republican admitted that didn’t really mean much.
“I can do whatever I want, I’m the chairman of the committee,” Nunes said.