Why Is the Mueller Investigation like the Schleswig-Holstein Question?

I’ve been muddling through the week’s events respecting the special counsel’s activities, trying to provide a clearer road map. And even harder -- trying to do it in a way that doesn’t make it seem more complicated than need be. A friend reminded me of Lord Palmerston’s observation: “The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it.” 

Actually, it may be simpler than that, though not much more.

A good place to start is with Conrad Black. If you recall, he, too, was, was the victim of overzealous prosecution which destroyed his publishing empire and resulted in his serving jail time before much of the case was tossed on appeal.

After detailing the media’s uneasiness in the blowback disaster of the “Russian collusion with Trump” nonsense, he observes:

There is not a shred of evidence to support this, despite fervent efforts by the Obama administration and the special counsel to unearth some. Nor is there any evidence of actual Russian influence on the election result or of any policy change by the present administration toward Russia that the Kremlin would welcome. Nor, though The New York Times clings to the story, has any evidence surfaced that Fusion GPS was initially retained on this file by anti-Trump Republicans. [snip]

As this hydrogen balloon was blowing up like the Hindenburg at the mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937, the Uranium One affair was boiling over as a new congressional investigation was launched into the whole issue of about $131 million to $145 million being pledged or paid to the Clinton Foundation as Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for an ordinary speech in Moscow. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to sell 20 percent of American uranium resources to Russia, through Russian intermediaries then under intensive investigation by the FBI director, Robert Mueller, and by then U.S. attorney in Maryland Rod Rosenstein. [snip]

The trifecta was completed with the revelation that the investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was not based on his brief relations with Donald Trump, but on his lengthy connection with the Democratic Podesta brothers, and the extent to which he helped them funnel wealthy and influential Russians into high governmental circles in Washington.

There need not be anything wrong with this either, but it has nothing to do with Trump and the entire fraudulent defamation that Trump did anything improper with the Russians, much less engage in anything compromising the validity of the 2016 presidential election. That claim is an outrage whose time for asphyxiation has come. Still to be unearthed are the full stories of the Wasserman Schultz skullduggery, and the real story of improper and probably illegal surveillance at Trump Tower. As that will get all the way to President Obama, it may be expected to ooze out slowly and reluctantly, sluggish and foul.[snip] The Russian collusion scam was just a convenient intersection between the denial syndrome of the post-defeat Clintonians and the fear and anger of the garrison of the Washington sleaze factory as the improbable avenger approached.

How far afield from the original appointment of Mueller as special counsel have we gone? Very. John Hinderaker writes at Powerline:

This morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, in a story that doesn’t seem to have gotten a lot of national attention, that William Mueller’s ever-widening investigation has ensnared Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Congressman and long-time Washington lobbyist: [snip]

Mueller’s operation is leaking on a more or less daily basis. Isn’t that illegal? Aren’t grand jury proceedings supposed to be secret? Maybe the Attorney General should appoint a special counsel to look into possible crimes associated with leaks by Mueller’s staff.

With the emphasis on the Ukrainian lobbying efforts, Mueller’s criminal probe is moving beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and is aggressively pursuing people who worked as foreign agents without registering with the Justice Department.

But wait! Mueller’s investigation isn’t supposed to “move beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.” The Order appointing Mueller empowers him to investigate “any links an or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and… any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” It seems that the current focus of Mueller’s efforts is lobbying that was carried out on behalf of one of Ukraine’s political factions, or, more broadly, failure to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department by anyone, at any time. This is not what Mueller was appointed to do. [snip]

The special counsel statute is a very poor idea, and Mueller’s implementation of it illustrates why. The job of a special counsel (or special prosecutor, as he was formerly called) is to hang scalps on the wall. Whose scalps, or why they were taken, is incidental at best. President Trump would be fully justified in firing [Bob] Mueller, but a better idea, in my opinion would be to appoint several more special counsel to look into various Democratic misdeeds. That would bring this whole farce to a screeching halt. 

Conrad Black, writing that the Russian collusion story was blowing up, suggested that Wasserman-Schultz had engaged in skullduggery before former DNC head Donna Brazile threw this week’s latest bombshell at the DNC and in particular Hillary Clinton, whom the party appears eager to yank off the stage. Brazile charged that the DNC was nearly bankrupted by Obama and was saved only by cash infusions from Hillary Clinton, but in return for the lifeline, Clinton took control of the party and used that power to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. More, Brazile argued that the victory fund which was to be used to fund party races down ticket was instead grabbed by Hillary for her own campaign, with very little dribbled out to other candidates.

John Hinderaker, over at Powerline Blog, notes Brazile’s charges amount to a claim that Hillary and the DNC engaged in a “criminal conspiracy”

So Hillary’s campaign paid off the debt and “placed the [Democratic] party on an allowance.” Brazile said she had no knowledge of these arrangements -- or even of the party’s perilous financial condition -- even though she was an officer of the DNC. It was all Debbie’s fault.

Brazile endorses Politico’s assertion, made in May of last year, that Clinton’s arrangement with the DNC was “essentially… money laundering.” Which seems like a rather dangerous concession for a former DNC chair to make.

The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund -- that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement -- $320,000 -- and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn [Ed: the Hillary campaign].

[snip]

So Brazile sadly told Bernie Sanders that what had been leaked was true: the DNC had rigged the nomination process to ensure Hillary’s victory. [snip]

I think this is grist for a third special counsel: the second, as I have said before, should look into Uranium One, the FBI’s apparent complicity in the cover-up of Uranium One, and collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russians. The third special counsel should investigate whether the Clinton campaign and the DNC violated campaign finance laws or other statutes through their “money laundering” agreement. 

Hillary’s refusal to accept the results of the election might prove to be a disaster to the DNC and its officials, but it might be boon to DC’s white-collar criminal defense bar. That is, if we don’t all grow sick and tired of special counsels and do away with them bipartisanly before we reach that point.

But there’s even more: a new report states that FBI Deputy director McCabe is himself in the hot seat.

Documents recently released by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch show that while current FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe recused himself from the investigation of Hillary Clinton, he didn’t do so until days before November’s election. The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI that sought records related to McCabe’s involvement with the state Senate campaign of his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe.

McCabe was the Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office when the probe was going on, and therefore controlled resources for the investigation. While the investigation was still underway, in February 2016, McCabe became Deputy Director of the Bureau, thus overseeing the whole operation.

The Clinton investigation officially began in July 2015, but Clinton’s private email server became public knowledge that March. Days after that news got out, Jill McCabe was approached by Clinton associate Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe about running for office and Dr. McCabe announced her candidacy less than a week later. McAuliffe raised nearly $700,000 for the campaign. [snip]

An internal memo, “Overview of Deputy Director McCabe’s Recusal Related To Dr. McCabe’s Campaign for Political Office,” also addressed McCabe’s potential conflicts, including the Clinton investigation. The same document showed that FBI officials had a set answer to questions about McCabe and his wife’s campaign, and that was to say that he did not play any role, attend events, or help support the campaign at all. Despite this, a photograph surfaced of McCabe at a campaign event, and days before the election, a social media page of Dr. McCabe’s showed an image of Andrew with a sign saying, “I am voting for Jill because she is the best wife ever.”

“The FBI is compromised. Mr. McCabe should have been nowhere near the Hillary Clinton investigations,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “That he saw fit to recuse himself only days before the election further demonstrates the FBI’s Clinton email investigation was a sham. No wonder it took a year and a federal lawsuit to get these records. It is well past time for the Justice Department to reopen the Clinton email investigation.”

About the same time Mrs. McCabe was receiving almost ¾ of a million dollars from Clinton friends, a special FBI agent apparently began a criminal investigation of  the agencies involved in the Uranium One deal approval with requests that they preserve the records: 

Taken in their totality those FBI special agent notifications now encompassed every member of the CFIUS group who “signed off” on approval of the Uranium One deal.

It would be intellectually dishonest not to see the very likely attachment of the special agent’s action. That is to say an FBI probe originating as an outcome of information retrieved in parallel to the timing of the “criminal probe” of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use.

The sequence of events highlights a criminal probe starting [early August 2015], followed by notifications to the “Uranium One” CFIUS participants [late August 2015].

If you consider the larger Clinton timeline; along with the FBI special agent requests from identified participants; and overlay the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the leading entity surrounding the probe elements; and the fact that the CFIUS participants were the recipients of the retention requests; well, it’s just too coincidental to think this is unrelated to the Uranium One deal and the more alarming implications.

Further, if you consider this factual researched information against the backdrop of new and current information about the roles of each of the outlined participants; and the knowledge of the mystery FBI informant who was threatened to keep his mouth shut; well, it’s not a leap to connect the dots and see that the top-tier of the FBI (Robert Mueller, James Comey) and DOJ (Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Rod Rosenstein, et al), along with their subordinates, would potentially be in legal jeopardy….

And don’t think that in 2017 these people are not acutely aware of that risk, and signaling their audience [snip] Congress can get, and see, those FBI preservation notification documents without redaction. Congress could then interview the FBI special agent who was obviously in charge of key elements within the 2015 probe. Put the FBI special agent together with the unnamed FBI informant, question them, and discover what they know about the entire Uranium One deal -- and there’s the road-map to tear this thing wide open.

Pressure is building to demand that Trump fire McCabe and Mueller and replace Sessions and Rosenstein. I understand the frustrations of those who are calling for such actions. Someday in the future, some or all of those actions might have to be taken. Someday, but not just yet. If the President removed them now, every media flake would be screaming Saturday Night Massacre and cover up. As the facts leak out, discrediting Mueller and his Clintonite crew, steam is building against them. For the moment, why not concentrate on reducing regulations, increasing employment, getting more nominations confirmed, moving a moribund economy back on track, and closing the borders (the importance of which was underlined this week by the horrible massacre in New York City). In the meantime, it appears that Manafort's and Gates’s lawyers seem well equipped to pitch battle and I expect Vin Weber’s and Skadden Arps’s are, too. When the extent of the perfidy becomes clear and the first objectives met -- and the midterms are over -- it may be the right time to act. More simply put, I don't feel equipped to second-guess a man who is such an artful strategist.

Especially when the people who pitched the grenade in his direction are watching it bounce back.

I’ve been muddling through the week’s events respecting the special counsel’s activities, trying to provide a clearer road map. And even harder -- trying to do it in a way that doesn’t make it seem more complicated than need be. A friend reminded me of Lord Palmerston’s observation: “The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it.” 

Actually, it may be simpler than that, though not much more.

A good place to start is with Conrad Black. If you recall, he, too, was, was the victim of overzealous prosecution which destroyed his publishing empire and resulted in his serving jail time before much of the case was tossed on appeal.

After detailing the media’s uneasiness in the blowback disaster of the “Russian collusion with Trump” nonsense, he observes:

There is not a shred of evidence to support this, despite fervent efforts by the Obama administration and the special counsel to unearth some. Nor is there any evidence of actual Russian influence on the election result or of any policy change by the present administration toward Russia that the Kremlin would welcome. Nor, though The New York Times clings to the story, has any evidence surfaced that Fusion GPS was initially retained on this file by anti-Trump Republicans. [snip]

As this hydrogen balloon was blowing up like the Hindenburg at the mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937, the Uranium One affair was boiling over as a new congressional investigation was launched into the whole issue of about $131 million to $145 million being pledged or paid to the Clinton Foundation as Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for an ordinary speech in Moscow. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder agreed to sell 20 percent of American uranium resources to Russia, through Russian intermediaries then under intensive investigation by the FBI director, Robert Mueller, and by then U.S. attorney in Maryland Rod Rosenstein. [snip]

The trifecta was completed with the revelation that the investigation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was not based on his brief relations with Donald Trump, but on his lengthy connection with the Democratic Podesta brothers, and the extent to which he helped them funnel wealthy and influential Russians into high governmental circles in Washington.

There need not be anything wrong with this either, but it has nothing to do with Trump and the entire fraudulent defamation that Trump did anything improper with the Russians, much less engage in anything compromising the validity of the 2016 presidential election. That claim is an outrage whose time for asphyxiation has come. Still to be unearthed are the full stories of the Wasserman Schultz skullduggery, and the real story of improper and probably illegal surveillance at Trump Tower. As that will get all the way to President Obama, it may be expected to ooze out slowly and reluctantly, sluggish and foul.[snip] The Russian collusion scam was just a convenient intersection between the denial syndrome of the post-defeat Clintonians and the fear and anger of the garrison of the Washington sleaze factory as the improbable avenger approached.

How far afield from the original appointment of Mueller as special counsel have we gone? Very. John Hinderaker writes at Powerline:

This morning’s Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, in a story that doesn’t seem to have gotten a lot of national attention, that William Mueller’s ever-widening investigation has ensnared Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Congressman and long-time Washington lobbyist: [snip]

Mueller’s operation is leaking on a more or less daily basis. Isn’t that illegal? Aren’t grand jury proceedings supposed to be secret? Maybe the Attorney General should appoint a special counsel to look into possible crimes associated with leaks by Mueller’s staff.

With the emphasis on the Ukrainian lobbying efforts, Mueller’s criminal probe is moving beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and is aggressively pursuing people who worked as foreign agents without registering with the Justice Department.

But wait! Mueller’s investigation isn’t supposed to “move beyond investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.” The Order appointing Mueller empowers him to investigate “any links an or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and… any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” It seems that the current focus of Mueller’s efforts is lobbying that was carried out on behalf of one of Ukraine’s political factions, or, more broadly, failure to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department by anyone, at any time. This is not what Mueller was appointed to do. [snip]

The special counsel statute is a very poor idea, and Mueller’s implementation of it illustrates why. The job of a special counsel (or special prosecutor, as he was formerly called) is to hang scalps on the wall. Whose scalps, or why they were taken, is incidental at best. President Trump would be fully justified in firing [Bob] Mueller, but a better idea, in my opinion would be to appoint several more special counsel to look into various Democratic misdeeds. That would bring this whole farce to a screeching halt. 

Conrad Black, writing that the Russian collusion story was blowing up, suggested that Wasserman-Schultz had engaged in skullduggery before former DNC head Donna Brazile threw this week’s latest bombshell at the DNC and in particular Hillary Clinton, whom the party appears eager to yank off the stage. Brazile charged that the DNC was nearly bankrupted by Obama and was saved only by cash infusions from Hillary Clinton, but in return for the lifeline, Clinton took control of the party and used that power to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. More, Brazile argued that the victory fund which was to be used to fund party races down ticket was instead grabbed by Hillary for her own campaign, with very little dribbled out to other candidates.

John Hinderaker, over at Powerline Blog, notes Brazile’s charges amount to a claim that Hillary and the DNC engaged in a “criminal conspiracy”

So Hillary’s campaign paid off the debt and “placed the [Democratic] party on an allowance.” Brazile said she had no knowledge of these arrangements -- or even of the party’s perilous financial condition -- even though she was an officer of the DNC. It was all Debbie’s fault.

Brazile endorses Politico’s assertion, made in May of last year, that Clinton’s arrangement with the DNC was “essentially… money laundering.” Which seems like a rather dangerous concession for a former DNC chair to make.

The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund -- that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement -- $320,000 -- and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn [Ed: the Hillary campaign].

[snip]

So Brazile sadly told Bernie Sanders that what had been leaked was true: the DNC had rigged the nomination process to ensure Hillary’s victory. [snip]

I think this is grist for a third special counsel: the second, as I have said before, should look into Uranium One, the FBI’s apparent complicity in the cover-up of Uranium One, and collusion between the Clinton campaign and Russians. The third special counsel should investigate whether the Clinton campaign and the DNC violated campaign finance laws or other statutes through their “money laundering” agreement. 

Hillary’s refusal to accept the results of the election might prove to be a disaster to the DNC and its officials, but it might be boon to DC’s white-collar criminal defense bar. That is, if we don’t all grow sick and tired of special counsels and do away with them bipartisanly before we reach that point.

But there’s even more: a new report states that FBI Deputy director McCabe is himself in the hot seat.

Documents recently released by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch show that while current FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe recused himself from the investigation of Hillary Clinton, he didn’t do so until days before November’s election. The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI that sought records related to McCabe’s involvement with the state Senate campaign of his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe.

McCabe was the Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office when the probe was going on, and therefore controlled resources for the investigation. While the investigation was still underway, in February 2016, McCabe became Deputy Director of the Bureau, thus overseeing the whole operation.

The Clinton investigation officially began in July 2015, but Clinton’s private email server became public knowledge that March. Days after that news got out, Jill McCabe was approached by Clinton associate Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe about running for office and Dr. McCabe announced her candidacy less than a week later. McAuliffe raised nearly $700,000 for the campaign. [snip]

An internal memo, “Overview of Deputy Director McCabe’s Recusal Related To Dr. McCabe’s Campaign for Political Office,” also addressed McCabe’s potential conflicts, including the Clinton investigation. The same document showed that FBI officials had a set answer to questions about McCabe and his wife’s campaign, and that was to say that he did not play any role, attend events, or help support the campaign at all. Despite this, a photograph surfaced of McCabe at a campaign event, and days before the election, a social media page of Dr. McCabe’s showed an image of Andrew with a sign saying, “I am voting for Jill because she is the best wife ever.”

“The FBI is compromised. Mr. McCabe should have been nowhere near the Hillary Clinton investigations,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “That he saw fit to recuse himself only days before the election further demonstrates the FBI’s Clinton email investigation was a sham. No wonder it took a year and a federal lawsuit to get these records. It is well past time for the Justice Department to reopen the Clinton email investigation.”

About the same time Mrs. McCabe was receiving almost ¾ of a million dollars from Clinton friends, a special FBI agent apparently began a criminal investigation of  the agencies involved in the Uranium One deal approval with requests that they preserve the records: 

Taken in their totality those FBI special agent notifications now encompassed every member of the CFIUS group who “signed off” on approval of the Uranium One deal.

It would be intellectually dishonest not to see the very likely attachment of the special agent’s action. That is to say an FBI probe originating as an outcome of information retrieved in parallel to the timing of the “criminal probe” of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use.

The sequence of events highlights a criminal probe starting [early August 2015], followed by notifications to the “Uranium One” CFIUS participants [late August 2015].

If you consider the larger Clinton timeline; along with the FBI special agent requests from identified participants; and overlay the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as the leading entity surrounding the probe elements; and the fact that the CFIUS participants were the recipients of the retention requests; well, it’s just too coincidental to think this is unrelated to the Uranium One deal and the more alarming implications.

Further, if you consider this factual researched information against the backdrop of new and current information about the roles of each of the outlined participants; and the knowledge of the mystery FBI informant who was threatened to keep his mouth shut; well, it’s not a leap to connect the dots and see that the top-tier of the FBI (Robert Mueller, James Comey) and DOJ (Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, Rod Rosenstein, et al), along with their subordinates, would potentially be in legal jeopardy….

And don’t think that in 2017 these people are not acutely aware of that risk, and signaling their audience [snip] Congress can get, and see, those FBI preservation notification documents without redaction. Congress could then interview the FBI special agent who was obviously in charge of key elements within the 2015 probe. Put the FBI special agent together with the unnamed FBI informant, question them, and discover what they know about the entire Uranium One deal -- and there’s the road-map to tear this thing wide open.

Pressure is building to demand that Trump fire McCabe and Mueller and replace Sessions and Rosenstein. I understand the frustrations of those who are calling for such actions. Someday in the future, some or all of those actions might have to be taken. Someday, but not just yet. If the President removed them now, every media flake would be screaming Saturday Night Massacre and cover up. As the facts leak out, discrediting Mueller and his Clintonite crew, steam is building against them. For the moment, why not concentrate on reducing regulations, increasing employment, getting more nominations confirmed, moving a moribund economy back on track, and closing the borders (the importance of which was underlined this week by the horrible massacre in New York City). In the meantime, it appears that Manafort's and Gates’s lawyers seem well equipped to pitch battle and I expect Vin Weber’s and Skadden Arps’s are, too. When the extent of the perfidy becomes clear and the first objectives met -- and the midterms are over -- it may be the right time to act. More simply put, I don't feel equipped to second-guess a man who is such an artful strategist.

Especially when the people who pitched the grenade in his direction are watching it bounce back.

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