Penn to Hewitt: Mueller probe born out of ‘hysteria’


Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist for her 2008 presidential campaign, said Tuesday that the investigation examining President Trump’s ties to Russia was born out of “hysteria.”

For the second straight day, Penn maintained that the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller should end. His comments to talk show host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday came a day after an op-ed column in The Hill. 

{mosads}Penn told Hewitt that “there seems to have been almost a hysteria” created by Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the “Trump dossier” and “a vast echo chamber that there’s something here.”

“And so I think that people can get into a bubble in their own world and environment in which I think they’ve become disconnected from the fact that they didn’t have real substantial, credible evidence,” he said. 

In the column in The Hill, Penn sought to make the case that the investigation by the special counsel is flawed. He wrote that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe, and Mueller ignored their own conflicts and took charge anyway. 

“This process must now be stopped, preferably long before a vote in the Senate,” he wrote. “Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again.” 

Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman, pushed back against that claim on Tuesday

“Any good pollster would know that the majority of Americans disagree and believe the Mueller investigation should continue,” Merrill said in an email to The Hill. “Americans see through the deception and the conspiracy theories. I’m not sure why Mark Penn doesn’t. Makes you wonder about his motives.”

Clinton allies who worked with Penn were also incensed. 

“What. The. Actual. Fu**???” Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, wrote on Twitter before linking to Penn’s piece. 

Reached on Tuesday for comment, Solis Doyle said, “I think my tweets have been clear.” 

Neera Tanden, the president for the Center for American Progress and a former Clinton adviser, highlighted on Twitter that Penn was known to clash with liberals on the 2008 campaign. 

“Glad to be one of those people,” Tanden said. 

Penn stepped down from his role as chief strategist on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign after it was discovered that he met with Colombian government representatives to push a free trade agreement that Clinton said she opposed. He did not play a role in Clinton’s 2016 bid for the White House and is now president of Stagwell Group, a digital investment firm. 

Adam Parkhomenko, a longtime Clinton aide who worked on both her 2008 and 2016 campaigns, lashed out at Penn’s assertion about the Mueller investigation. 

“The Trump-Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller is not only incredibly consequential, but authoritative and credible,” he said. “Mark Penn sounds like a man who is threatened by the special counsel closing in.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein

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