Rep. Handel: Mueller investigation should continue “expeditiously”

Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election should continue, but be done “expeditiously,” Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel told a community group in Dunwoody Monday morning.

The Roswell congresswoman also cautioned against President Donald Trump moving to fire Mueller, a possibility that has become the subject of intense speculation in Washington.

“I’m in the camp of let’s follow the facts, wherever they go. Period. End of paragraph,” Handel, who is running for reelection, said at a breakfast meeting at Wing Factory for ROMEO, or Retired Old Men Eating Out.

“Mueller, do your job. Do it expeditiously. Do it fairly and justly and move it along,” the 6th District congresswoman added. “I think it would be bad for the White House to inject in it for this reason: You don’t want to inadvertently somehow convey that something is awry.”

Fellow Republican Congressman Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville staked out a similar position during a Republican primary debate in Cumming in March. Georgia’s Republican U.S. senators have also weighed in on the issue. In February, Sen. Johnny Isakson said this about Mueller on GPB’s “Political Rewind” radio program: “I know of no reason why he shouldn’t be kept on the job. None whatsoever.” Sen. David Perdue told The Washington Post last month: “It’s time to get this investigation over. This thing is spiraling out of control.”

Handel spoke about Mueller Monday in response to a question about his investigation from Dunwoody City Councilman Jim Riticher, who said the special prosecutor is “playing a dangerous game.”

“What we have seen to date from him has been a joke, and it is time to rein that nonsense in. And pressure needs to be brought to bear,” he told Handel. “The idea that the Russians materially influenced this election with a few Facebook ads is such a joke. It is not funny.”

Since he was appointed to oversee the investigation nearly a year ago, Mueller’s office has issued more than 100 criminal counts against 19 people and three companies, The New York Times reported. Of those charged, five people have pleaded guilty, including three Trump associates. Thirteen are Russians accused of interfering in the last presidential election.

Handel also praised Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, calling it a “bad deal from the beginning with a very rogue nation.” She welcomed Monday’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. She expressed cautious optimism about Trump’s upcoming summit about denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. And she trumpeted this year’s federal tax overhaul, calling it “probably the most impactful piece of legislation I have been able to vote on in my short time in Congress.”

On Monday, Handel’s last question came from Lou Douglass, a retired bank president from Dunwoody who asked: “Will Hillary (Clinton) ever be indicted?” He didn’t specify what charges the former first lady and former secretary of state could face. Handel sought to redirect the focus to boosting the economy, shrinking joblessness and fighting the nationwide opioid overdose epidemic.

“Again, you know, that’s just follow the facts,” she said. “Unless something comes out of the investigation, let’s be focused on what we can do to help Americans across this country, help our small businesses, make sure we are continuing to grow jobs.”

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