Mueller staffs up to pursue obstruction of justice
"Personnel is policy" is an old truism that applies to the staffing decisions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Jonathan Turley, an esteemed constitutional scholar who is an honest liberal, examines a telling hire, Michael Dreeben, a deputy in the solicitor general's office. Dreeben, Turley informs us, argued to the Supreme Court for an expansive interpretation of obstruction of justice, one that would blur intent. The details are technical, and Professor Turley's explanation is characteristically lucid. He sums it up at the end with a vivid analogy:
Dreeben's selection is a lot like seeing an opposing kingdom hiring designers of seige [sic] or breaching towers in the Middle Ages. It is hard not to assume that they are meant to overcome your walls of defense. Indeed, from the perspective of defense counsel, bringing in Dreeben at this point is like sitting outside of the Trump castle building a breaching tower and insisting that there is nothing to see here . . . it is just for the view.
Brendan Kirby at Lifezette notes a number of substantial Democrat donors on the small staff:
Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump's 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
There is an actual member of The Clinton Machine:
One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist's attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.
Campaign-finance reports show that Rhee gave Clinton the maximum contributions of $2,700 in 2015 and again last year to support her presidential campaign. She also donated $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,500 in 2011. While still at the Justice Department, she gave $250 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp.
Now that James Comey is part of the investigation, Mueller has a conflict of interest. Byron York in the Washington Examiner:
Comey is a good friend of special counsel Robert Mueller — such a good friend, for about 15 years now, that the two men have been described as "brothers in arms." Their work together during the controversies over Bush-era terrorist surveillance has been characterized as "deepening a friendship forged in the crucible of the highest levels of the national security apparatus after the 9/11 attacks," after which the men became "close partners and close allies throughout the years ahead."
People's Pundit Daily points out that the Justice Department's ethics code prohibits such an appointment:
According to Section II(c) of the DOJ Government Ethics Outline:
No DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.
It is well-established that Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller have a close professional and personal relationship. In 2013, The Washingtonian detailed that close professional and personal history in Forged Under Fire—Bob Mueller and Jim Comey's Unusual Friendship.
I hope A.G. Sessions will address this in his testimony today.
Prepare yourself for the coming debate over whether Mueller should be let go if he doesn't recuse himself. The overwhelming consensus is that it would raise Watergate and convulse the country. One must note that the overwhelming consensus has been wrong on what Donald Trump should do more often than not.
But I will leave that topic for another post.