Mueller investigation stirs up more trouble than it’s finding
After 19 months, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has charged a number of targets with almost every conceivable sin – except collusion with Russia to throw an election. Yet that’s the reason Mueller was appointed.
President Trump’s former consigliere, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. But as part of his plea deal, Cohen also confessed to a superfluous charge of a campaign finance violation.
Cohen allegedly negotiated a nondisclosure agreement concerning a past Trump liaison with porn star Stormy Daniels. Yet no one alleges Trump used cash from his 2016 campaign account to buy Daniels’ silence.
Instead, the accusation is that Cohen and Trump used Trump’s own money, but they did not report the payout as a “contribution” to his campaign.
If you take media-sensationalized sex out of the equation, Trump, like any other American, has the right to pay anyone whatever he wishes to keep quiet about past embarrassing behavior, whether that be secretly gulping down too many Big Macs or cheating at golf.
Apparently, Cohen was leveraged by Mueller’s team to plead guilty to a crime that was likely not a crime. And in circular fashion, his confession was used as proof the noncrime was actually a crime – and thus could serve as yet another way to find something on Trump.
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to giving false testimony about a “crime” that also apparently did not exist. It was not a crime for Flynn to talk with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. Yet the Russian diplomat was being surveilled by American intelligence.
The secret taping was green-lighted by a federal court in the midst of the hysteria created by the Christopher Steele dossier paid for, in part, by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The FBI sent two investigators to interview Flynn, apparently after prompting by acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Barack Obama administration. Yates, who served as the interim attorney general for 10 days, apparently came up with the ludicrous idea that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act. That is an ossified 219-year-old statute about meeting foreign officials that has had only two indictments – ever.
Next, former FBI Director James Comey counted on the Trump administration’s inexperience and broke normal protocol by sending investigators to interrogate Flynn directly without bothering with the usual administration intermediaries. Comey’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, misled Flynn into assuming the interview would be a friendly chat. Flynn was told he would not need a lawyer.
Flynn complied, assuming it was not a crime for a transition administration official to talk with a foreign ambassador. He also likely was not fully aware the FBI’s intent was to have him say something that would contradict the FBI’s secret transcripts of his talks with the Russian ambassador.
It gets worse. The FBI agents, who had transcripts from Flynn’s talks with the Russian ambassador to compare to Flynn’s answers, said that he didn’t seem to be lying to them. That conclusion was apparently overturned. To this day, the only real evidence Flynn lied is his confession.
Mueller seemingly wanted Flynn to testify about something that might prove the Trump administration colluded with Russia. When that didn’t work, Flynn was later leveraged to “confess” to having lied to FBI investigators, who originally thought he had not lied about a “crime” of talking about foreign policy with a Russian ambassador – an act that in itself was not illegal.