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Q: How Do We Know Mueller Has a Close Friendship with Comey?

A:  Because Mueller said so publicly.

In his remarks at the White House ceremony where President Obama introduced Comey to succeed Mueller, Muller said this:

I want to commend the President for the choice of Jim Comey as the next Director of the FBI. 

I have had the opportunity to work with Jim for a number of years in the Department of Justice, and I have found him to be a man of honesty, dedication and integrity.  His experience, his judgment, and his strong sense of duty will benefit not only the Bureau, but the country as a whole. 

Here's the White House transcript

The idea that Mueller could objectively evaluate Comey  --  the chief witness to President Trump's asserted obstruction of justice in the FBI's investigation  --  is, not to put too fine a point on it, nonsensical.

But wait, there's more.
The other persons attesting to Mueller's strong admiration of Comey  --  a feeling that's obviously mutual  --  are President Obama and, you guessed it, Jim Comey:

From President Obama:

I think Bob will agree with me when I say that we have the perfect person to carry on this work in Jim Comey -- a man who stands very tall for justice and the rule of law. ....At key moments, when it's mattered most, he joined Bob in standing up for what he believed was right.  He was prepared to give up a job he loved rather than be part of something he felt was fundamentally wrong. 

From Jim Comey:

I must be out of my mind to be following Bob Mueller.  (Laughter.)  I don't know whether I can fill those shoes.  But I know that however I do, I will be standing truly on the shoulders of a giant, someone who has made a remarkable difference in the life of this country.  I can promise you, Mr. President and Mr. Director, that I will do my very best to honor and protect that legacy. 

Let me repeat that there is nothing at all wrong with having friends in Washington, DC. As I've said, I have many of them (although how many will remain after all these posts is another question).  The difference is that the public's confidence in the integrity of the Special Counsel's investigation does not rest on me.  It rests on Mr. Mueller's ability objectively, and without partiality, to evaluate his chief witness (and possible investigative subject, given Comey's leak of his White House notes while still employed as FBI Director).

The ethics rules were written precisely to prevent warm  --  even if in other contexts perfectly legitimate  --  relationships from infecting the arm's-length workings of the rule of law generally and prosecutors in particular.

I don't see how Mueller can continue under these circumstances.

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