Santorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI

Santorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI
© Greg Nash

Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) said Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE could avoid comparisons to Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) by investigating the Justice Department and FBI.

Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Mueller should investigate the Justice Department and FBI “with respect to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Why the national emergency? A second term may be Trump’s only shield from an indictment MORE and all these other things.”

The former senator was responding to a string of tweets from President Trump early Sunday morning claiming that Mueller makes McCarthy, who searched for communists in the U.S. government in the 1950s, “look like a baby.”

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“It’s his job to do a thorough investigation,” Santorum said of Mueller. “There’s certainly no evidence that he’s looking into any of this.”

Other panelists on “State of the Union” pushed back against Trump’s comparison of McCarthy to Mueller's probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) said Mueller “is the total hero.”

“One wonders who’s the real McCarthy,” she added.

Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassWhitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Congressional Black Caucus leaders call on Northam to resign Congressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker MORE (D-Calif.) called it “ironic” that Trump compared Mueller to McCarthy just days after Trump said he was considering revoking the security clearances of former intelligence officials who have criticized him publicly.

“If anybody remembers the McCarthy period, that’s exactly what he did,” she said. “That’s McCarthy-like.”

Conservative political commentator S.E. Cupp said there was "nothing undemocratic" about Mueller's probe.

“There’s nothing undemocratic about trying to get to the bottom of whether Russia hacked our elections and had the help of people inside the White House,” she said.

The roundtable came just one day after an explosive report from The New York Times reported that White House counsel Donald McGahnDonald (Don) F. McGahnManafort pardon would be impeachable, indictable and convictable Both political parties guilty of weaponizing impeachment More questions than answers in too many Trump stories MORE was cooperating extensively with Mueller in his probe. 

According to the paper, McGahn gave more than 30 hours of testimony to investigators after growing concerned that Trump was preparing to set him up for a fall over the issue of possible obstruction of justice.

McGahn reportedly discussed Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the president's repeated prompting of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to claim oversight of the special counsel, despite his recusal from Mueller's Russia probes.

Trump said late Saturday and in a Sunday morning flurry of tweets that McGahn was cooperating because he had "allowed" him to.

“The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type 'RAT.' But I allowed him and all others to testify - I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.

"And have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing - McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side - Media is even worse!"