NAPLES, Fla. – If anyone thought the
week between Christmas and New Years might provide respite in the war
between President Trump and his myriad critics, Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla.,
has just opened a new and important offensive.
“It’s been very frustrating that the truth about what’s going on with
this investigation into President Trump isn’t coming out,” he told me
from his hometown on the Gulf Coast.
The topic to which Rooney was referring is Special Counsel Robert
Mueller’s increasingly broad, unfocused — and taxpayer funded — probe
into what Trump, first as a candidate, then as president-elect, was
doing, and who he and his coterie of advisors were talking to, and about
Rooney, like many voters who elected Trump, thinks the investigation
has, as he said on MSNBC Tuesday, gone “off the rails.”
The problem is, almost no one who agrees with him watches MSNBC.
To set the record straight, the first-term congressman — and former
Ambassador the the Vatican — told Bellwether he thinks a thorough
investigation is overdue — but of Mueller, his staff, and the FBI, not
He is particularly alarmed by the negative comments from FBI agent Peter
Strzok — whom Mueller had to fire — and Justice Department official
Bruce Ohr were texting and saying about Trump, while pretending to be
In terms as strong as any used so far, Rooney says there are real
questions about whether Mueller and the FBI can be trusted to do their
jobs in a fair manner.
Mueller’s staff, for instance is composed of individuals who contributed
by a 12-1 ratio for Hillary Clinton’s campaign over Trump’s.
That has given rise to suspicions that a so-called “deep state” of
Obama-era holdovers in positions of authority is determined to hound
Trump out of office.
“I would say maybe the deep state is more pervasive than Mueller
realized, and as a result he is having a hard time finding the proper
people,” Rooney told me.
He also lauds Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s pledge to investigate
Mrs. Clinton’s complicated, and possibly improper, campaign
A supporter of Trump’s tax bill and his rollback of excessive
regulations, Rooney concedes that the president’s bombastic public style
both enrages and emboldens his critics, some of whom have called — less
than a quarter of the way through his term — for his impeachment.
“It’s very unsettling that they are talking in these careless terms
about impeachment,” Rooney laments. “All they’re doing is continuing to
undermine faith in our great American institutional solidarity.”
Such strong language from a freshman congressman is both unusual and
welcome. If Rooney thought his time at the Vatican put him in closer
contact with the Divine, he may soon conclude his current gig is more
about encountering just the opposite.
John Moody is Executive Vice President,
Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time
magazine, he is the author of four books including "Pope John Paul II :