Who Will Investigate the Investigators?
Who was raided and who wasn't raided illustrates the corrupt politics at play in Mueller's probe.
On Monday, the idea that the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about “Russian collusion” was revealed to be utterly fraudulent. Despite ongoing cooperation by President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the latter man’s office, home and hotel room were raided by the FBI. In short, the investigation into Russian collusion has expanded to what it was most likely about from the beginning: getting Trump — by any means necessary.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz, progressive idol-turned-pariah due to his penchant for embracing intellectual honesty over ideological demagoguery, put it best. “If this were Hillary Clinton, the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down,” he asserted. “The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling.”
Later on, he called that intrusion unconstitutional.
Dershowitz insisted Mueller is staying within the confines of the Russian collusion case parameters and “farming out” what appears to be an effort to investigate Cohen for “bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case,” as The Washington Post reports (or is that leaks?). Nonetheless, those parameters are the epitome of a double standard that may rank as one of the most egregious in the nation’s history.
If this investigation is really about Russian collusion, where are the commensurate raids and/or executions of search warrants against Perkins Coie attorney Marc E. Elias, who represented the Clinton campaign and the DNC, as well as retained Fusion GPS, which compiled the infamous Steele dossier? Where are indictments similar to the ones leveled at Paul Manafort and Rick Gates — indictments that fall completely outside the aforementioned Russian collusion parameters — of people like Clinton campaign chief John Podesta? Podesta sat on the board of Russian energy company Joule Unlimited, which obtained $35 million from a Russian government fund linked to Vladimir Putin.
Where are the commensurate investigations of Obama administration officials, including former Attorney General Eric Holder, then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, the Clinton Foundation and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller himself for their involvement in allowing the transfer of one-fifth of our nation’s uranium supply to Russian company Rosatom, even as they knew the deal was corrupted by bribes and kickback schemes, courtesy of the FBI’s own informant?
How is it that the same FBI allowed Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to claim attorney-client privilege and get side deals limiting the search of their computers to include nothing after January 2015 — preventing a review of documents related to Clinton’s email server — along with an agreement to destroy those computers when the agency was done, even though both women were witnesses to, or suspects in, Clinton’s criminal investigation? Why wasn’t Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s home raided when classified emails showed up on husband Anthony Weiner’s computer? Why hasn’t former AG Loretta Lynch been investigated for her meeting with Bill Clinton in the midst of the criminal probe against his wife?
Where are the investigations of Susan Rice, John Brennan and Samatha Power over their potentially illegal unmasking of hundreds of Americans?
“Mueller and his gang have weaponized the criminalized justice system,” asserts attorney Victoria Toensing. “These no-knock raids that were done on his personal lawyer’s house and offices — those kind of tactics are reserved for dope dealers and terrorists.”
The American Left, suffused with dreams of ultimately removing Trump from office, couldn’t care less.
“A search warrant for a law office is extremely rare,” explains New York University School of Law professor Stephen Gillers. “Lawyers are given the courtesy of producing documents in response to a subpoena or a request unless the government believes a lawyer will destroy or conceal the objects of the search.”
Or unless a rogue prosecutor is attempting to intimidate a sitting president.
When the investigation falls outside the original mandate, getting such a warrant requires the approval of top DOJ officials, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
What was Rosenstein’s original mandate? According to National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, it was one that “violated governing special-counsel regulations” because such an appointment requires a criminal investigation and the order “disclosed no basis for a criminal investigation and indicated no crimes that had allegedly been committed.”
Rosenstein “fixed” this by issuing an expanded order 10 weeks after the original one, accompanied by an explanation McCarthy characterizes as “not very convincing, and the extensively redacted form in which it has been released means the memo raises more questions than it answers.”
So does the damning reality that Mueller conducted his raid of Paul Manafort’s home a full week before Rosenstein issued his original memo. As Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson points out, that timing “shows a willingness to give post hoc justification for conduct of Mueller that does not appear authorized by the text of the original May 17 appointing Order.”
The raid conducted against Cohen purportedly centers on a $130,000 payoff to Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, to maintain her silence about an extra-marital affair with the president, because such a payoff constitutes an illegal campaign contribution. In 2008, the Obama campaign collected $1.3 million in illegal campaign donations, and despite the fact that those violations could be treated as felonies, the matter was settled quietly with the payment of a $375,000 fine.
Nonetheless, while McCarthy points out that illegal campaign donations are trivial compared to Russian collusion, he warns, “When highly aggressive prosecutors are circling, any kind of something is always more perilous than nothing.”
“Any kind of something” has transcended anything resembling Mueller’s original mandate, eviscerating attorney-client privilege in the process. It is an investigation engendered by the same officials who have allowed Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to remain on the payroll and retain their security clearances, despite anti-Trump bias documented by thousands of emails.
Emails the FBI insists will take three years to “process” before the agency can satisfy an FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch.
Columnist Michael Goodwin asserts it’s “time to clear the air of rumor and speculation and put the facts on the record.” A headline in The Hill suggests why that is wishful thinking. “Mueller will drop midterm Russia bombshells on GOP Congress,” it states. Meanwhile, it took threats of contempt and impeachment from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to convince FBI Director Christopher Wray and Rosenstein to stop stonewalling and hand over documents that could reveal Mueller’s investigation was based substantially, or entirely, on fraudulently obtained FISA court warrants.
There’s a midterm election to influence and the Rule of Law be damned.
“Mueller needs to be removed,” writes columnist Daniel Greenfield. “This investigation needs to be shut down and replaced with a credible investigation into what the Russians actually did and didn’t do, rather than a pretext for bringing down political opponents.”
More wishful thinking. There are substantial numbers of Americans, including members of both political parties, who have far less interest in credibility than reasserting the ruling class status quo Trump disrupted — even if the Constitution is shredded in the process.
And once again, in the midst of all these machinations, the age-old question — one usually attached to authoritarian regimes — arises:
Who investigates the investigators?