The Department of Justice is refusing to release details of the process that led to FBI Director Robert Mueller being granted an ethics waiver to be able to serve as special counsel investigating Trump’s campaign involvement with Russia during the 2016 election.

On Friday, the agency released a one-sentence memo that confirmed Mueller was granted a conflict-of-interest waiver to serve in the position.

The waiver is believed to be related to Mueller’s previous work as a partner at WilmerHale law firm, which is also the firm that represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and White House adviser Jared Kushner.  However, documents signed by the Justice’s top career official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott School, provide no evidence as to the grounds for the waiver.  It’s actually so vague that it doesn’t even state why Mueller would need the release.

“‘Pursuant to 5 CFR 2635.502(d), I hereby authorize Robert Mueller’s participation in the investigation into Russia’s role in the presidential campaign of 2016 and all matters arising from the investigation,’ Schools wrote in the ‘authorization’ signed on May 18, one day after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein formally appointed Mueller to the position.”

The Justice Management Division of the agency found a two-page “recommendation memorandum” per POLITICO’s request, but declined releasing it because it would interfere with the “deliberative process inside the department.”

The secrecy revolving the situation could result in some Republican lawmakers and Trump allies to raise doubts about the impartiality of the Mueller investigation.  Experts are troubled that the Justice Department hasn’t been more open about the information of Mueller’s waiver.

“‘I think it’s sloppy,’ said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. ‘The conspiratorial side of me thinks somebody at Justice is not giving you the explanation for the waiver because they want to create the impression that Robert Mueller has a problem when Robert Mueller doesn’t have a problem. … This is going to lead to Fox News conspiracy talk.'”

However, the Department of Justice has been more open about details of waivers to other officials.  In May, a bath of ethics waivers granted to Noel Francisco were released in response to a lawsuit filed by a liberal watchdog group American Oversight.  Other waivers the agency has released also seem to be consistent of a recommendation and approval.

The Justice Department is defending the issue by saying that it is protected by “deliberative process privilege.”

“‘The memo is protected by the deliberative process privilege (Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act). This is in contrast to the communications related to the Francisco waiver, in which the deliberative discussions were expressly adopted by the decision maker,’ the official said.”

A statement was made a week after Mueller’s appointment in May by Sarah Isgur Flores, the Justice Department spokeswoman.  However, her statement was vague.

“‘Government ethics regulations permit the Department of Justice to authorize an employee to participate in a matter where their former employer represents a party,’ Flores said on May 23. ‘While we cannot confirm or deny the applicability of the regulation to the matters to which Special Counsel Mueller was appointed, we can confirm that the Department ethics experts have reviewed the matters and determined that Mr. Mueller’s participation in the matters assigned to him is appropriate.'”

While Mueller worked at the firm, he had no involvement with cases regarding Manafort or Kushner.

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  • GrizzMann

    Mueller will not recuse himself from anything. He had ushered the FBI to it’s present level of honesty and respect (R-S-P-E-C-T).

    • Brian Galloway

      Somewhere around the level of respect given used car salesmen….very, very low

      • GrizzMann

        Used car salesmen have much more respect and are more honest.

      • John Flynn

        the only profession less trusted than used car dealers is the profession of “law”….Mueller qualifies!!!

    • elmcqueen3

      Me thinks you got that sort of turned around…with the wording which should say “dishonesty and disrespect”…maybe it was a typo…most likely it was satire…lol

      • GrizzMann

        Satire? You do know the level? I never said it was any good.

  • Ross Blankert

    When the Special Prosecutor surrounds himself with hitmen and political partisans, the fix was in from the get go. I believe Trump will let Mueller screw up and hang himself. He has broken several laws along the way. Something tells me, Trump will not have to fire Mueller. He will be arrested.

    • deusexmachina1

      I’d prepare to be disappointed…..

      The swamp takes care of it’s own….

      • elmcqueen3

        In their eyes…it’s a “nothing” burger.

      • deusexmachina1

        It’s just a small bump in the road to the Progressive Utopia…..

    • salty2012

      He will never be arrested. The spys never go to jail.

      • Pacman5

        Killary will have him done in. He will accidentally shoot himself in the back.

    • Joe M

      That would be a nice thing to see on TV.

    • Wanda Wyatt

      I hope that you are right! Too much corruption!

    • Duby

      Along with Hillary and company!!

  • Irene Elizabeth Grooms

    I think Mueller should just step done or close this witch hunt.

  • CaptTurbo

    The FBI and DOJ in general have become a deep state cesspool.

    • deusexmachina1

      It’s been that way for a long time…..

  • RERJR

    I didn’t need FOX news to alert me to this conspiracy against Trump (and for Hillary). I recognized it before FOX did, starting with the the incessant leaks from the FBI to the NY Times.

    • AmericanBelle

      It’s already taken place, which is exactly how emails of Strzok, Page, and Ohr were produced. The Inspector General is investigating numerous corruption cases against all in the executive branch of the Obama administration, as well as intelligence depts. It currently has 27 investigations into leaks…and that’s just leaks!

      Likewise, several committees in both chambers also have investigations going on on the same bunch and are currently in the process of opening another investigation on the UraniumOne deal.

      It’s one of the major reasons why Trump is letting it all flow. What Mueller’s bunch doesn’t hang themselves on using Trump’s rope, congressional committees and the Inspector General will. DoJ’s Ohr is about to be charged with contempt of Congress for booking on his appearance this week.

  • azrajo

    Interesting quote comming from Sarah Isgur Flores. Take note Sarah was previously the campaign manager for Carley Fiorina and Ted Cruz. She was also rumored to be one of Cruz’s love interests and very connected to the establishment. Another foolish appointment especially in such an important position . Does anyone who knows this really thinks she cares about Trump other than getting back at him Bigly.

  • Robert Kahlcke

    Sorry, this doesn’t pass the smell test. Since when can a conflict of interest waiver?

  • Marina

    The FBI is a politically motivated clown agency, they are grossly negligent in doing their only job, protecting, We the People, of any domestic or international terrorists danger, so far they have failed miserably, stoping 911, San Bernardino, Boston Marathon, Las Vegas shootings, Charlottesville, also claimed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and non were found. All this officials from Muller to Rosenstein and anyone in between should be indicted.

  • AmericanBelle

    This is bad, but it’ll work to the peoples’ benefit. The obstruction, collusion, corruption, and now waivers given to this team will be used against them by those indicted. They’re attorneys have more than enough evidence that this witch hunt was rigged and so full of corruption that any prosecution should and would be dismissed.

    Again, Trump isn’t firing Mueller…there is no need. Trump just keeps letting more and more rope go for Mueller, et al, to hang themselves.

  • pfwag

    The swamp creatures assumed Trump behaves as badly as they do. As a result they have grossly underestimated Trump.