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Tag Archives: Robert Mueller

Special Counsel Mueller’s Probe Cost $7 million from May to September

This probe was conjured up out of thin air. The $7 million it cost – by now we’re probably closer to $10 million – was from something more tangible: your bank account.

According to Fox News:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office revealed Tuesday that the first few months of his Russia investigation cost taxpayers a total of nearly $7 million.

The sum includes $3.2 million in direct investigation expenses covering things like pay, supplies and rent; $1.7 million was for salary and benefits.

Then there are the $3.5 in “indirect expenses,” covering expenses like agents working on raids or interviews and other government contractors. The office said those expenses would have been incurred “irrespective of the existence of the SCO.“

The report covers the period from May 17, the date of Mueller’s appointment, through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

Though there was never evidence of collusion – except on the Democratic side, with the dossier cooked up by the Clinton campaign – Mueller will find something. Once you start an unlimited investigation, people get nervous and make mistakes. Or some wrongdoing is uncovered.

If Robert Mueller had unlimited funds to investigate 100 people, I’m willing to wager he would find some way to put at least 20 or 30 of them in jail. That’s why you are innocent until proven guilty in this country, and prosecutors have to make a decision about whether they think they can prove a crime before they go after you, because they have limited resources.

But Mueller’s resources are limited only by the amount he can take from you, which is limitless.

Mueller’s Empty Papadopoulos Play

The press can hardly conceal its glee that after a few days of bad press for Hillary Clinton, who paid for Russian dirt against Donald Trump, they now have some nobody named George Papadopoulos in their corner against the president.

The Washington Post exults that there are “several big, juicy questions emanating from the former Trump foreign policy adviser’s plea deal.” Imagine the Post talking about “juicy” questions concerning problems for Barack Obama? I don’t think so.

But Papadopoulos doesn’t provide evidence or even a suggestion of anything criminal. All he — a non-paid, low-level “advisor” — did is suggest that he was talking to the Russians to try to facilitate contact between them and the Trump campaign. There is no evidence in it that much of anything came of his efforts. What’s more, he was given the blowoff by two top Trump people he contacted, Paul Manafort and Corey Lewandowski, though policy advisor Sam Clovis indulged him.

As the always excellent Andrew McCarthy points out in the National Review, nothing Papadopoulos did or tried to arrange smacks of criminality.

The term “collusion” can have a dark connotation, but it really only means some kind of concerted activity — not necessarily illegal. Prosecutors don’t care about collusion; they care about conspiracy — an agreement by two or more people to commit a violation of a criminal statute. That is, even if there is some concerted activity, collusion is not a crime unless the Trump campaign conspired with the Putin regime to do something federal law makes a crime — for example, to hack communications systems.

If Trump officials and associates did not do this, then their activities may be unsavory, but they are not criminal. It is a disgraceful thing for an American political candidate to seek damaging information about his or her opponent from a despicable, anti-American regime. But it is not illegal. A criminal investigation is about proving crimes, not revealing dirty politics.

It’s very telling that former campaign chief Paul Manafort was accused of no crimes related to the campaign. If there was anyone that would be orchestrating a conspiracy, it would be Manafort, given his penchant for questionable ethical practices and his own ties to Russia.

Instead, Mueller has, as McCarthy refers to him, a young, 30-year-old “climber” named Papadopoulos. Who hails from the islands of Galápagos. I gather, anyway.

Why, Exactly, Do We Need a Special Prosecutor?

I don’t get it. Somone nobody never heard of, as they say in Joisey, Rod Rosenstein, decided that what the Russia election influence case demands is an investigator who is now going to spend years poking around the Trump administration looking for wrongdoing and crippling, or at least harming, the ability of the White House to get anything done as everyone lawyers up and watches what they say and do.

Not to mention staff time responding to requests for emails, documents, water cooler talk, and so forth.

There has not been a single piece of evidence produced showing that the campaign or the transition colluded with the Russians. There are only the histrionic eruptions of Trump’s Democratic opponents screaming that there must be some kind of collusion, charges dutifully echoed by their echo chamber in the press.

As Byron York notes in a Washington Examiner piece, the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of the matter was moving along nicely with bipartisan cooperation, and the end of the probe was in sight. Now there will be no end in sight.

What’s more, the FBI had its own probe going. After the explosive revelation that former FBI Director James Comey claims Trump suggested abandoning the investigation of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, the chances the White House would interfere or even appear to interfere again were probably nil.

Trump this morning lashed out on Twitter, and I don’t blame him.

It is witch hunt. There’s as much evidence so far for witches as there is for Trump-Putin collusion. Maybe there’s more evidence for witches, not sure.

Now, Democrats, of course, want to impeach Trump for obstruction of justice in the Comey matter. And no doubt, the special prosecutor, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, will get into all that too. But charges against a president are a matter for Congress. And Republicans, who are calling on Comey to testify, have shown a willingness to let the facts fall where they may that Democrats would never have evinced.

I’m wondering if Rosenstein was animated at least in part by the need to preserve his own stellar reputation, which was sullied by his participation in crafting a rationale for Trump’s firing of Comey.

No doubt the special prosecutor will come up with some crimes to justify his existence. I’m not saying Mueller would do anything unethical. It’s just human nature. And he will be tempted, as York notes, to crawl down every rabbit hole that opens up and see what he finds. Just as previous special and independent prosecutors with unlimited time and lots of money on their hands have done.

Of course they’ll find crimes! Look endlessly around any large organization and you’ll find something. Some people break laws they don’t know exist, and some people are corrupt — everywhere, whether it’s Obama’s White House or Trump’s, or on the production set of Sesame Street. That’s why Obama’s Justice Department never appointed a special prosecutor for Hillary, the IRS, Fast and Furious etc, etc.

As Trump noted this morning:

Those who are leaking information against Trump have now achieved an important objective. They have hobbled his presidency, and possibly, ended it too.