The Right Has A Crazy New Conspiracy: Robert Mueller Colluded With The Russians
Some conservatives are interested in any position, no matter how far-fetched, that seeks to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, along with possible collusion on the part of the Trump campaign.
Arguments against the special counsel from the right have included accusations that it was actually Hillary Clinton who colluded with Russia to hurt the Trump campaign, though all evidence points to the contrary. Conservatives have also argued that many members of Mueller’s team are Democrats. Mueller himself is a lifelong Republican.
Now, the conservative media is railing against Mueller, claiming that it was he, not the Trump administration, who colluded with Russia. That’s right, Mueller is a colluder, according to Trump supporters.
Proponents of the conspiracy theory suggest that Mueller is conflicted because of his previous involvement with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska has come up in the investigation, especially with respect to Paul Manafort. The oligarch has not been indicted at this time — a point which conservatives claim is evidence of Mueller’s conflict of interest.
John Solomon, an opinion contributor for The Hill, first reported on the conspiracy theory. He says that, while Mueller was heading the FBI in 2009, the FBI approached Deripaska and asked him to spend millions of dollars of his own money to help rescue a retired FBI agent who was being held in Iran.
The Associated Press says that Robert Levinson, the FBI agent who was arrested in Iran, was working for the CIA at the time of his arrest. Deripaska supposedly negotiated a deal, but it was denied by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because she was not comfortable with the terms of the agreement.
The supposed tie to the Russian oligarch, along with the Clinton connection, have been sufficient evidence to convince conservatives that Mueller, a Republican with unquestioned decades-long dedication to public service, is somehow out to get Trump and in league with Russia, along with, of course, Hillary Clinton.
The theory has the required cast of characters, the conflicted investigator, the Russian and the forever villain, Hillary Clinton. Of course, there is no evidence of any conflict of interest. Mueller enjoys support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
This conspiracy is just another attempt to discredit Mueller and his work so that the findings of his investigation are similarly doubted.