Fox News legal analyst disputes Giuliani: Mueller isn't on a 'fishing expedition'

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano argued in an op-ed published Thursday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE is not on a "fishing expedition" or close to concluding his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, despite protestations from President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE.

"I am not of the view that Mueller is on a fishing expedition or is about to go home," Napolitano wrote. "First, he has a few dozen defendants whom he has indicted and needs to try -- even though most are Russians indicted for hacking and interfering with the 2016 election campaign and will be tried in absentia.

"Second, he keeps acquiring new evidence," Napolitano added.

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Napolitano's opinion piece largely focused on disputing arguments promoted by Trump's lawyer in the investigation, Rudy Giuliani, namely that Mueller is in search of a crime with his investigation and that the special counsel is close to finishing.

Giuliani and Trump's other attorneys have asserted for months that they believe Mueller is near the endpoint of his investigation, even as he files new indictments and obtains plea deals.

Late last month, Mueller reached a plea agreement with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and filed paperwork accusing former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT Ex-Trump campaign official testifies Stone gave updates on WikiLeaks email dumps Paul Manafort's former son-in-law sentenced to 9 years in prison for scamming Dustin Hoffman, others MORE of violating his plea deal by lying to prosecutors.

Napolitano cited both developments in his argument that the special counsel's work will continue for some time. He also noted that Mueller has yet to sit for an in-person interview with Trump or bring him before a grand jury.

Napolitano suggested that Giuliani has been hypocritical in his repeated screeds against Mueller's tactics, writing that the special counsel has used a number of the same prosecutorial strategies Giuliani employed earlier in his career.

"The more he cheerleads the more he undercuts his reputation in the legal, judicial and law enforcement communities," Napolitano wrote. "That's because when he was the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, he excelled at utilizing the most extreme and aggressive prosecutorial techniques that the courts permitted -- the very ones he is now attacking Mueller for using."

Trump and Giuliani, along with numerous other allies of the president, including some Fox News personalities, have railed against the Mueller investigation as a "witch hunt" and insisted the president did nothing wrong.

Five former Trump associates have thus far been implicated in Mueller's investigation, as have more than 20 Russian nationals.