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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman tells News 5 'the Mueller investigation ought to proceed'

Posted: 12:53 PM, Mar 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-20 20:30:16Z

Following a weekend where tweets by the president and statements by his personal attorney seemed to be testing the waters for the possible firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) told News 5 he believes “the Mueller investigation ought to proceed.”

Portman told News 5’s John Kosich that “I think we should allow him to get to the bottom of this because the Russian meddling in our election is a big deal. It’s happening in this country, it’s happening in other countries. [Mueller’s] already, as you know, indicted a number of Russian nationals for interfering in our election process here and we need to know, the American people really want to know what happened there.”

“People should be supportive of doing that in an objective non-partisan way. Let’s figure out what the Russians did, why they did it and how to keep them from doing it again.”

Portman was asked if it would be a “red line” for Republicans if Mueller was fired?

“I think it would be a mistake and by the way I think Mueller has made some errors in who he has hired, in fact he has had to reassign or let some people go who were partisans on the Democratic side. These people should all be objective career people, prosecutors and I think Mueller is and I think Mueller to the extent he leads this thing, which I believe he is, will wind up in a place where he provides the American people with the information that we need.”

On the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe hours before he was set to retire, Portman said that one’s more difficult.

“It’s a tough issue because it was the Office of Professional Responsibility, run by career people at the Justice Department, who made the recommendation that he be fired,” said Portman. “In other words it was for an ethics issue ultimately. So it wasn’t a political decision, it was a career process decision. In other words it was one that was taken through the proper channels.”

“I think it’s unfortunate when he was fired when he was,” Portman said of his being so close to retirement. “But on the other hand, I think you have to follow the Office of Professional Responsibility when they say this is an ethics problem.”

“The career person who runs it by the way, as I understand it that the woman who runs it, was appointed by Mueller when Mueller was in that FBI job so it’s a little different than reported by some outlets,” he said.