WEST PALM BEACH — Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson says he’s confident former FBI Director Robert Mueller will pursue a “Just the facts” approach as special counsel looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and potential collusion with Donald Trump‘s campaign.
Nelson, speaking to reporters in his Palm Beach County office, was asked if he’s seen any signs of collusion so far.
“At the end of the day I think there will be commentary and communication between some people that are friendly to the Trump campaign,” Nelson said.
“Now, whether or not it is actually members of the Trump campaign…let the facts lead us to where the conclusion is. And in any criminal probe, that’s the important part. As the FBI agent Joe Friday [actually, the character was an LAPD detective] used to say on television, ‘Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.’ So let the facts take us and then apply that to the law and ultimately that will decide what is the conclusion to this probe.”
Nelson criticized a call from U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, for Trump’s impeachment.
“That kind of talk is way too premature. Just follow the facts. Let’s see what the investigation does and then once you have the facts of what happened, you apply the law to it, and that’s what the special counsel will do,” Nelson said.
Amid speculation that Trump will name former Connecticut Sen. (and Palm Beach County political fixture) Joe Lieberman as FBI director to replace the fired James Comey, Nelson didn’t criticize Lieberman but said he’d prefer an FBI agent get the job.
Nelson was also asked about the widespread expectation that Republican Gov. Rick Scott will challenge him for his Senate seat next year.
“I will be running for re-election on the basis of how I have tried to represent our state and our country and I’m confident that people wll respond to that quite favorably,” Nelson said.
Asked to comment on Scott’s record as governor, Nelson said: “Let’s wait and see if he is (running) and then I’ll answer your question.”
Nelson called a health care overhaul passed by the Republican-controlled House “a disaster” and didn’t sound optimistic about legislation in the Senate, where the GOP holds a slender majority with 52 seats.
Nelson predicted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will “in secret try to cobble together a Republican bill that will get 50 Republican senators…But I’m not sure that he’s going to get 50 Republican senators because there are no easy answers to repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with something. Why don’t we just fix what the existing law is – a law that has done a lot of good for a lot of people.”