Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ERIC TUCKER

voices con­fi­dence in Mueller.

WASH­ING­TON — At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions gave a vote of con­fi­dence Fri­day to for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor Robert Mueller, the spe­cial coun­sel lead­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, but he also said he hoped the probe could “move for­ward and come to an end sooner rather than later.”

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s com­ments dur­ing a Fox & Friends in­ter­view were his most ex­pan­sive to date on the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s ap­point­ment last month of Mueller to run the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Mr. Mueller is some­one I’ve known for a long time, and I’ve had con­fi­dence in him over the years,” said Ses­sions, an Alabama Repub­li­can who served for years on the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, the con­gres­sional panel that over­sees the FBI.

“I feel con­fi­dent in what he’ll do, that’s all I can say to you about that,” Ses­sions said. “The man has a good rep­u­ta­tion. He knows his busi­ness.”

Those re­marks stand in con­trast to a drum­beat of Repub­li­can crit­i­cism of the spe­cial coun­sel’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who on the same show last week con­tended that Mueller was “very, very good friends” with fired FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey and char­ac­ter­ized that re­la­tion­ship as “very both­er­some.”

Repub­li­cans have also raised con­flict-of-in­ter­est con­cerns by not­ing that some lawyers on Mueller’s in­ves­tiga­tive team have pre­vi­ously con­trib­uted to Demo­cratic can­di­dates, though fed­eral law and depart­ment pol­icy does not per­mit the spe­cial coun­sel to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions of a po­ten­tial hire.

Still, Ses­sions said he was hope­ful the in­ves­ti­ga­tion would con­clude soon, a point White House staff has re­peat­edly made, and he did sug­gest that ques­tions about the com­po­si­tion of Mueller’s staff could be fair game.

“We ex­pect full in­tegrity and good work from ev­ery per­son in­volved in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Ses­sions said, later adding, “Mr. Mueller is en­ti­tled, law­fully, I guess, at this point, to hire who he de­sires, but I think he should look for peo­ple who have strength and cred­i­bil­ity by all peo­ple.”

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