Key Republican defends Mueller for referral on Cohen raid

Key Republican defends Mueller for referral on Cohen raid
© Greg Nash

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRelease of Carter Page surveillance documents reignites debate Gowdy blasts Justice Department for failing to disclose dossier funding sources Gowdy: Trump 'missed a good opportunity' to stand up to Putin MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday defended a referral by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE that led, in part, to raids on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia NYT's Haberman: Trump 'often tells the truth' MORE's personal lawyer's home, office and hotel room last week. 

“I don’t know what Mueller was supposed to do other than what he did. When a prosecutor comes in contact with information or evidence of a crime, what are you supposed to do, other than refer to the appropriate jurisdiction?" Gowdy asked Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

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“Now if Mueller had kept something tangential or unrelated to himself, then I’d say fine, you can criticize him but he came into contact with potential criminality. He referred it to the U.S. attorney’s office of jurisdiction, and he did so with the permission of Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinCarter Page warrant reflects attack on our civil liberties Hillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia MORE," he continued, referring to the deputy attorney general. 

The referral and subsequent raid on attorney Michael Cohen's office, home and hotel room sparked a strong reaction from the president, who publicly floated firing Mueller after hearing about the raids last week. 

“We’ll see what happens. Many people have said, 'you should fire him.' Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing that’s a big statement,” Trump said, referring to Mueller's federal probe into alleged ties between the president's campaign and Russia. 

“I think it’s a disgrace, what’s going on,” he added. 

Reports surfaced last week that Trump was mulling firing Rosenstein, who would have signed off on the raids. 

Gowdy said on Sunday, however, that he did not see any basis for firing the deputy attorney general. 

“As for Rod Rosenstein, I don’t see a basis for firing him and his handling of this probe. Now he’s the one who drafted that original jurisdiction for Mueller, so if you think it’s too broad, then you got to direct your criticism toward Rosenstein, and not to Mueller," Gowdy said. 

“If you’re upset with Rosenstein because he’s slow-walking document production to Congress, take that up with him. But how this is Mueller’s fault just defies logic to me."