WASHINGTON -- One year after his appointment as special counsel, Robert Mueller has spent a lot of time and money without exposing much wrongdoing, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., said Thursday.
"We're up here trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this $10 million investigation has not yielded anything productive," Crawford said.
Instead, the actions of Department of Justice and FBI officials have raised doubts about their own honesty and trustworthiness, Crawford said.
Patience with the former FBI director won't last forever, the House Intelligence Committee member said in an interview.
"At some point in time, I think the American people are going to tire of this and say, 'If you have some evidence, bring it forward. If you don't, it's time to cut our losses and move on,'" the Republican from Jonesboro said.
The House and Senate intelligence committees have found plenty of evidence that the Russians meddled in the nation's 2016 elections, Crawford said. But investigators have turned up "no evidence to suggest that President [Donald] Trump was involved in any collusion with the Russians."
Maintaining that a president can't be indicted while in office, Crawford said Mueller really "is out of his wheelhouse here."
While acknowledging that the special prosecutor has obtained indictments and guilty pleas, Crawford said he has concerns about "the tactics used to extract those guilty pleas and whether or not those are even valid."
Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, wasn't told the truth by the people who questioned him, Crawford said.
"[They] first off said that he wasn't a target of the investigation," Crawford said.
Then they announced, "We've changed our mind. Now he is a target of the investigation," Crawford added.
"I'm wondering when the FBI is going to plead guilty to lying to the American people. Because these leaders in the FBI, [former director James] Comey, [former deputy director Andrew] McCabe, [agent] Pete Strzok, [attorney] Lisa Carter and others have all lied to the American people and yet they will not face one bit of consequence," Crawford said. "These FBI operatives and DOJ operatives are going to get off scot-free, it appears."
Some of those officials should face charges, Crawford said.
Comey, in particular, has been "highly inconsistent [in] his testimony," Crawford said.
"You might call it a lapse of memory. Some might call it perjury," he added.
Officials with the Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment.
Chintan Desai, Crawford's Democratic opponent in the 1st Congressional District, said he has confidence in the Department of Justice, the FBI and Mueller.
"I think there should be a little more benefit of the doubt given to the folks who have been involved in this investigation," the Helena-West Helena educator said.
The special prosecutor "should be allowed to complete his job," he said.
A Section on 05/18/2018