Former White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove on Monday disputed a White House assertion that special counsel Robert Mueller has exceeded the original scope of the investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
During a Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, White House adviser Marc Short insisted that Mueller should quickly end his probe of the Trump campaign because “the scope has gone well beyond what was intended to be investigations into meddling in the election.”
Rove, who was subject of Bush-era investigation into the leaking of a CIA officer’s name, on Monday told Fox News host Sandra Smith that President Donald Trump and White House staffers were making a mistake by venting about the investigation.
“The investigation is going to go as long as the investigation is going to go,” he explained. “And so, working the refs, saying, ‘You ought to wrap it up,’ doesn’t strike me as a particularly productive strategy. Robert Mueller is not going to wrap this thing up prematurely. He’s going to wrap it up when he thinks he’s ready to wrap it up.”
Smith asked Rove if he agreed with Short’s assessment that the investigated had “exceeded” its original scope.
“You know what? I don’t,” Rove replied. “Because we don’t know. There is a scope that is contained in the original document authorizing Mueller’s investigation. Mueller has gone back to the deputy attorney general in order to — when he has stumbled across evidence of some wrongdoing — the allegation is that [former Trump campaign chair] Paul Manafort and [campaign staffer] Rick Gates were trying to bring $30 million in their consulting on behalf pro-Putin and pro-Russian oligarchs back to the United States without paying tax on it. So he had to go back to the deputy attorney general and said, we have evidence of this and we need authority to pursue it.”
In the case of allegations against Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Rove noted, Mueller turned the prosecution over to federal investigators instead of expanding the special counsel investigation.
“Mueller is by the book, he is a Boy Scout,” he continued. “He doesn’t leak, they stay focused on the mission.”
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Rove, however, predicted that Mueller would find that — with the exception of Manafort and Gates — the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.
“Imagine that,” Smith reacted. “If they actually let the investigation run its course and at the conclusion of it, Mueller says absolutely no collusion. Imagine the world having to deal with that fact.”
Rove recalled a point recently made by retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC): “If you’re client is innocent, act innocent.”
“I don’t think it helps the president when his people go on the Sunday morning talks and say, ‘Oh God, you’ve got to wrap this thing up.’ You know, blah blah blah blah blah. Show confidence,” Rove said. “I find it very hard to believe that after all this time if there was evidence, we wouldn’t have heard about it. So, give the confidence the American people like to see in their chief executive.”