Conservative group seeks removal of judge from case targeting Mueller, citing political bias
Conservative group FreedomWatch is arguing for the dismissal of the judge presiding over its lawsuit seeking the removal of Robert Mueller from the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, citing the judge’s political bias toward Democrats.
The group, helmed by conservative lawyer Larry Klayman, also alleges that Judge Amy Berman Jackson has a “manifest conflict of interest” in the case because she is also presiding over the trial of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman who has been charged in connection with Mueller’s investigation.
FreedomWatch in November sued to force the Justice Department to investigate leaks coming from the special counsel and alleged conflicts of interest among staff, arguing that Mueller should be removed from the case.
In a new motion filed in U.S. district court in Washington, the conservative group argues that Jackson should recuse herself or be disqualified from the case, citing her “inherent manifest political biases and conflicts of interest.”
In particular, Klayman argues that Jackson exhibited a “deep-seated favoritism toward Democrat political interests” and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the presidential race, when she dismissed a case he litigated on behalf of the parents of two Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.
In that case, the plaintiffs alleged that Clinton’s use of a private email server to transmit sensitive information during her time as secretary of State led to the deaths of their sons.
They also alleged that Clinton defamed the fallen Americans when she publicly disputed their accounts of the circumstances around the attack on the campaign trail. Jackson dismissed the lawsuit in May.
Klayman also argues that Jackson “rushed” to issue an order to show cause in the FreedomWatch case against the Justice Department, which he says “evidences her mindset of having pre-judged this matter from the inception.”
Conservatives have increasingly looked to discredit Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow in the interference effort.
Recent revelations that an agent working on the investigation was removed over anti-Trump text messages he sent have renewed charges of political bias against Mueller’s team.
Meanwhile, the Russia investigation has appeared to draw closer to the White House with the guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn last week.
Klayman’s lawsuit, filed in late November, seeks to force the Justice Department to probe leaks from the special counsel probe and alleged “unethical” conflicts of interest of its staff. In the event that these details are proven, the suit demands the removal of Mueller and his staff from the investigation.
– This post was updated at 1:38 p.m. to clarify that FreedomWatch is the conservative group.