A Republican legislator from Florida is proving to be one of Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, calling for renewed investigations into Hillary Clinton and demanding the immediate firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Congressman Matt Gaetz echoed Mr Trump’s frequent criticisms of the Justice Department and FBI during a recent interview with Fox News, while attacking the ongoing probe into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
The comments reflect an ongoing effort amongst several House Republicans to undermine the federal investigation against Mr Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign, with the end goal being Mr Mueller’s firing.
“At the end of the day it’s either elected people who get to conduct oversight or unelected people run the show,” Mr Gaetz said on Fox News. ”I prefer to live in a world where the elected representatives of congress can conduct meaningful oversight.”
Mr Gaetz has said he maintains a close relationship with the president, and is certain Mr Trump’s campaign was not colluding with Russians to impact the 2016 election.
“The Trump campaign was lurching from one event to the next,” Mr Gaetz told Politico in April. ”I spoke at, I think, four of the Trump rallies that were in Florida, and these were not highly coordinated events. I would often learn of the programme of one of these events just a day or so before the event itself….That seems to evidence the point that these were not people off colluding with Russia.”
Mr Trump has also ramped up his attacks against the special counsel in recent weeks, tweeting to his 53m followers on Thursday: “When is Bob Mueller going to list his Conflicts of Interest? Why has it taken so long? Will they be listed at the top of his $22,000,000 Report…And what about the 13 Angry Democrats, will they list their conflicts with Crooked H?”
Mr Gaetz’s Fox News interview arrived after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mr Wray’s hearing on the special counsel probe Thursday, in which House Republicans delivered pointed questions to both men.
Mr Rosenstein slammed Republican legislators who provided false statements throughout the hearing, defending himself against claims he described as “not accurate” and telling one House member: “Your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong.”