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Maryland Lawmakers Join Near-Unanimous Praise For Mueller Appointment

May 18th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Maryland lawmakers are reacting to the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, potential ties to President Donald Trump's campaign and any related issues. WBAL reports the appointment from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was widely hailed by members of Congress on both parties, and for Maryland's, it was no exception.

“Knowing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein from his tenure in Baltimore, I think he made a solid choice in Mr. Mueller, and I commend him for putting our country and justice system first," Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat and the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in a statement. "I urge Mr. Mueller to follow the facts wherever they may lead—with integrity and independence.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said appointing a special counsel was the right call, despite Trump's claims the probe is a "witch hunt."

“Now, we need to make sure the special counsel has the resources to uncover the truth about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians," Van Hollen said in a statement. "Congress must also do its job and vote to establish a non-partisan commission to provide the American public with a full picture of the Russian interference in our elections so we can take all necessary measures to protect the integrity of our democracy.”

That echoed the thoughts of Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, speaking to WBAL News Now Wednesday morning, who said both the special counsel and an independent commission (like the one established following the Sept. 11 attacks) would be needed to give the public a full picture of what happened and how to keep it from happening again, in addition to the prosecution of criminal wrongdoing.

Cardin reiterated that after word came of Mueller's appointment, and said in a statement that the choice "was solid and shows the seriousness" Rosenstein brought to the task.

"Rather than ‘make this go away’, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has taken an important step toward restoring the credibility of the DOJ and FBI in this most serious matter," Cardin said.

Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland's lone congressional Republican, referred in his statement to the memo Rosenstein penned that criticized former FBI director James Comey.

“Just as I agreed with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s assessment that Mr. Comey damaged the credibility of the FBI, I trust his judgment in appointing Mr. Mueller as Special Counsel to lead the investigation into potential interference by Russia in our 2016 election," Harris said. "Mr. Mueller is widely respected, and I am confident that he will conduct a thorough and nonpartisan investigation into this matter.”

That memo, which criticized Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, was later used by Trump as grounds to fire Comey. That justification was viewed with skepticism by many until Trump said in an interview days later he fired Comey because of his continued probe into Russian interference and collusion in the 2016 campaign and would have fired him regardless of what the Department of Justice recommended.

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