Robert Mueller

Gregg Jarrett: How an FBI official with a political agenda corrupted both Mueller, Comey investigations

How is it possible that Hillary Clinton escaped criminal indictment for mishandling classified documents despite incriminating evidence that she violated the Espionage Act? Why did Donald Trump become the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly conspiring with Russia to influence the presidential election despite no evidence that he ever did so? The answer, it seems, comes down to one person who played a vital role in both cases: Peter Strzok, deputy director of counterintelligence at the FBI. Strzok was exchanging politically charged texts with an FBI lawyer that denigrated Trump and lauded Clinton at the same time he was leading the bureau’s criminal investigation of Clinton. He is also the one who changed the critical wording of then-FBI Director James Comey’s description of Clinton’s handling of classified material that resulted in no charges being brought against her. Then, Strzok reportedly signed the document launching the 2016 investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and whether the Trump campaign played any role. After leading the FBI’s probe into Trump, he then joined Robert Mueller’s special counsel team as an integral investigator. Thus, it appears that one man with a strident political agenda accomplished his twin goals of clearing Clinton and accusing Trump, evidence be damned. And then he was caught. The Department of Justice inspector general, Michael Horowitz, discovered the electronic texts Strzok exchanged with his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The messages were so politically incendiary and so threatened the integrity of Mueller’s investigation that Strzok was quietly canned over the summer from the special counsel team, where he was a pivotal participant. Did Mueller or anyone else notify Congress that both the Trump investigation –and the Clinton case before it– were corrupted? Of course not. This was covered up. Mueller surely knew that if the truth were revealed, it would further discredit a Trump-Russia probe that had already taken on the stench of dead fish. The House Intelligence Committee could smell it and knew something was amiss. It demanded answers. But the Justice Department and the FBI refused to respond or otherwise produce relevant documents that the committee subpoenaed. They are still stonewalling many of Congress’s valid requests and should now face contempt charges. Importantly, all of the anti-Trump and pro-Clinton messages should be made public. Americans should decide for themselves whether our system of justice has been compromised by unscrupulous influences. Just how rife with political prejudice and corrupt motives is the special counsel’s investigation? Instead of choosing prosecutors who could be neutral, fair and objective, Mueller stacked his staff with Democratic donors. Apparently, he conducted little or no vetting of both prosecutors and investigators. How else does one explain the presence of Strzok and Lisa Page on the investigative team? It appears that Mueller selected people of a particular political persuasion without discerning review or scrutiny. We were supposed to simply trust Mueller’s judgment, notwithstanding his own disqualifying conflict of interest under the special counsel statute that demanded his recusal. The Trump-Russia investigation is now awash in illegitimacy. Mueller and those who work for him have squandered all credibility. It is imperative that the special counsel be dismissed, the current staff fired, and a new counsel appointed to re-evaluate the evidence objectively. Do not expect Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to make these changes. He, too, should be removed in his capacity as Mueller’s supervisor. As both a witness and prosecutor, Rosenstein has his own conspicuous and disabling conflict of interest. Yet he has refused to step aside. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is duty-bound to remove both Mueller and Rosenstein. Given what we know about the composition of the special counsel team, there may well be others who harbor a blatant political bias and have expressed their animus toward Trump in emails or texts. The computer accounts of the entire staff need to be examined by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General. Failing that, news organizations should file a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The examination should begin with Andrew Weissmann, who has close ties to Hui Chen, whom he hired at the Justice Department and with whom he worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York. Documents show the DOJ approved a salary for her position of $711,800 for two years of work, which is more than the attorney general earns.

No kidding!!  To read the rest of this spot-on legal op/ed by former defense attorney, and current Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, click on the text above.  Excellent!!

French: The Incredible Tale of a Reckless, Partisan FBI Agent and Our Partisan Bureaucracy

If the story hadn’t been verified by virtually every mainstream-media outlet in the country, you’d think it came straight from conspiratorial fever dreams of the alt-right. Yesterday, news broke that Robert Mueller had months ago asked a senior FBI agent to step down from his role investigating the Trump administration. This prince of a man was caught in an extramarital affair with an FBI lawyer. The affair itself was problematic, but so was the fact that the two were found to have exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary Clinton text messages. Here’s where the story gets downright bizarre. This agent, Peter Strzok, also worked with FBI director James Comey on the Clinton email investigation. In fact, he was so deeply involved in the Clinton investigation that he is said to have interviewed Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and to have been present when the FBI interviewed Clinton. According to CNN, he was part of the team responsible for altering the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in handling classified emails (a finding that could have triggered criminal liability) to “extremely careless” — a determination that allowed her to escape prosecution entirely. After the Clinton investigation concluded, Strzok signed the documents opening the investigation into Russian election interference and actually helped interview former national-security adviser Michael Flynn. In other words, it looks like a low-integrity, reckless, biased bureaucrat has played an important role in two of the most important and politically charged criminal investigations of the new century. Yes, it’s good that Mueller removed Strzok when he discovered the text messages. No, Strzok is not solely responsible for the conclusions reached in either investigation. But his mere presence hurts public confidence in the FBI, and it does so in a way that further illustrates a persistent and enduring national problem: America’s permanent bureaucracy is unacceptably partisan. Remember President Obama’s second term, when the IRS Tea Party–targeting scandal erupted? The bureaucrat at the fulcrum of the scandal, Lois Lerner, was unabashedly partisan, launching a comprehensive and unconstitutional inquiry into conservative groups even as she was “joking” that “she wanted to work for the pro-Obama group Organizing for America.” It’s hard to overstate the effect of the IRS scandal on conservative confidence in the federal government. Yes, there were some progressive groups that faced scrutiny, but the sheer scale of the attack on conservative groups was unprecedented. The IRS sought confidential donor information, passwords, and information about the political activities even of family members of those involved with some scrutinized groups. I remember. I represented dozens of these organizations. When it came time to launch a criminal investigation of the IRS, the Obama Department of Justice put an Obama donor in charge of the probe. The decision to offer her the job was inexcusable, as was her decision to accept. At a time when half the country was losing confidence in the integrity of its public servants, the Obama administration raised its hand and extended a big middle finger. While there are certainly some biased, partisan conservatives in the federal bureaucracy, the ideological imbalance in the civil service is striking. It’s not quite at university-faculty levels, but it’s getting close. For example, in the 2016 election cycle, Hillary Clinton received an astounding 95 percent of all federal-employee donations. The danger here isn’t just the kind of naked display of partisan bias that we saw in the Obama IRS. It’s also the emergence of groupthink. As we know from other liberal-dominated enclaves, such as academia and the mainstream media, ideological uniformity can lead to a startling degree of ignorance and incompetence. It’s hard to govern (or educate, or report on) an entire country when you aren’t sufficiently exposed to contrary perspectives and experiences.

Agreed…and well said, David.  Attorney, and Army Reserve officer (Major), David French is responsible for that piece.  David was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

Analysis: How Mueller spent nearly $7 million in four months on Trump-Russia probe

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation spent nearly $7 million during the first four months of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including $1.7 million on salaries and benefits for employees, according to the first report issued on the costs. A Justice Department report issued Tuesday on expenses associated with the special counsel’s probe includes a breakdown of direct and reimbursed expenses, such as salaries to detailed DOJ employees who would have been paid regardless of being detailed to Mr. Mueller’s team. While the expenses associated with the special counsel’s personal team total $3.2 million, the report notes that an additional $3.5 million was spent during the course of the investigation on DOJ components that support the investigation. That figure “approximates expenditures the components would have incurred for the investigations irrespective of the existence of the SCO,” the report states. The expenses detailed in the first report include a breakdown of costs between May 17 and Sept. 30. According to the DOJ report, more than $362,000 was spent during that period on rent, communications and utilities. Another $223,000 was spent on travel expenses, though much of that amount — approximately $220,000 — was spent on the cost of temporary relocation of DOJ employees who were detailed to the special counsel’s office. Only around $3,000 was spent on direct travel expenses. Another $734,000 was spent on the acquisition of equipment that will remain the property of the federal government at the close of the Mueller investigation. In addition to Mr. Mueller, the special counsel team includes 17 attorneys — five of whom were hired from outside the government. The special counsel’s office has declined to provide details on how many other people have been detailed from various agencies or divisions of the Justice Department to work on the team. Tuesday’s disclosures provide the first opportunity to measure the cost-effectiveness of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has netted two guilty pleas and two indictments thus far.

Was that worth the $7 MILLION dollars already spent of our hard-earned tax dollars (and its FAR from over)?  You be the judge…

Limbaugh: Timing of Flynn Charges ‘May Not Be Coincidental’ — ‘Look at All the News It Has Swept Off the Front Pages’

Friday on his nationally syndicated radio show, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh questioned the timing of the announcement former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller for lying to the FBI. Limbaugh suggested the timing of the news was to draw the attention away from passage of the tax bill among other items in the news, including the Matt Lauer firing from NBC and the “not guilty” verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial. “So there you have it – they’re all excited,” Limbaugh said. “Mueller did the deed on the right day. Mueller did the deed to sweep the tax cut deal off the table and to tick everybody off. This is, in Jonathan Martin’s opinion, the swamp banding together – the establishment coordinating its efforts to continue to destroy Trump and muddy the waters. The tax bill is going to pass. As far as [Mitch] McConnell and [Paul] Ryan are concerned, none of this today is a legal problem.” “It’s a bit of a political problem, but it doesn’t present any legal problems to them or their tax bill,” he continued. “The tax bill is going to pass. But I don’t have any doubt that the timing of this thing today may not be coincidental. Just look at all the news it has swept off the front pages and look what it put back on the front page: ‘Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary.’”

As usual, “El Rushbo” knocks it out of the park.  It was NO coincidence this was announced today.  And, Rush is right in that it just sweeps all the other news away, including last night’s shocking and inexplicable verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial where her murderer was found “not guilty” by a San Fran jury.  Outrageous!  Anyway, despite the orgasms being had over at CNN and MSNBC, this (so far) is nothing.  After all, Flynn was fired by Trump for exactly these reasons; lying.   So, nothing new here at all.  He’s just throwing a hail marry to minimize any jail time..

Mueller is ‘compromised,’ should resign: GOP congressional resolution states

A Republican congressman from Florida introduced a resolution Friday urging Special Counsel Robert Mueller to resign from the Russia probe, saying the one-time FBI director has his own conflicts of interest. Rep. Matt Gaetz said Mr. Mueller, who was FBI director in 2010, botched an investigation into Russian attempts to bribe and extort their way to a deal to buy a portion of U.S. uranium resources. Mr. Gaetz said the Justice Department sat on information for four years and silenced a whistleblower who tried to alert Congress to questionable activity. “These deeply troubling events took place when Mr. Mueller was the Director of the FBI. As such, his impartiality is hopelessly compromised. He must step down immediately,” Mr. Rep. Gaetz said. The resolution wouldn’t be binding but, were it to gain a vote and pass, would be a stunning statement of no confidence in the man leading the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Earlier this week Mr. Mueller announced indictments against two former Trump campaign officials on lobbying disclosure and tax evasion charges, and secured a guilty plea from a campaign foreign policy advisor for lying to FBI agents over contacts with Russian-backed operatives.

Robert Mueller’s appointment as the special counsel was tainted from the get-go.  He and his protege, James Comey, had not only a professional relationship.  But, they had a personal one as well.  So, right there, we had clear conflict of interest as Mr. Mueller clearly could not be objective or impartial with respect to Mr. Comey.  These latest revelations only add.  Unfortunately, due to “optics” and politics, Trump really cannot remove him, even though he technically has the power to do so.  More members of Congress need to step forward and put pressure on Mr. Mueller to step down, if he doesn’t have the personal integrity to do so on his own.

Hillary Clinton Spotted Cavorting with Focus of Mueller Investigation, Tony Podesta

Former Secretary of State and two-time losing Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton was spotted meeting this weekend with figures who feature prominently in an investigation into corruption, spearheaded by special counsel Robert Mueller. Tony Podesta and Sidney Blumenthal both appeared at Clinton’s 70th birthday party held at Elizabeth Frawley Bagley’s house in Washington, DC, on Sunday, Politico reported. Podesta’s appearance is uncomfortable for Clinton because he and his brother, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, are currently a focus of Mueller’s corruption investigation with their political consultancy business, the Podesta Group. The Podesta Group came under the microscope for working with lobbyist Paul Manafort who Mueller indicted on Monday for tax evasion and other charges. Long before he joined Trump’s campaign, in 2012, Manafort worked with the Podestas to lobby Congress on behalf of Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union. Only hours after news of Mueller’s indictment of Manafort broke, Tony Podesta announced that he was stepping down from the firm that bears his name. Podesta handed over the operational reins to firm CEO Kimberley Fritts, according to reports on Monday afternoon. Podesta reportedly said he felt he needed to confront the Mueller investigation as an individual and not while representing the Podesta Group. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders Huckabee pointed out that Mueller’s indictments thus far prove that his investigation has “nothing to do with the president.” “Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president, and has nothing to do with the president’s campaign or his campaign activity,” Sanders told reporters at the White House on Monday. Sanders also noted that Trump hasn’t spoken to Manafort in months. “The last known conversation was back all the way to February, and as far as anything beyond that, with Paul, I’m not sure.”

Gregg Jarrett: If Comey’s in legal jeopardy, will Mueller ride to his rescue?

Hillary Clinton, thanks to James Comey, escaped criminal prosecution for violating the Espionage Act. Now it is Comey who may have violated that same law. If he did, will Comey escape prosecution, courtesy of his good friend, Robert Mueller? The fired FBI Director’s legal predicament comes as The Hill reports that Comey authored seven memorandums reflecting the contents of his conversations with President Trump and that four of the memos “have been determined to contain classified information.” If this is true and Comey kept these documents in his personal possession upon leaving government service and conveyed some of them to another individual without authorization, then it would appear that he committed multiple felonies under the Espionage Act. It is a crime to mishandle classified information: 18 USC 798 and 1924 prohibit a government official from removing a classified document from its proper place of custody to a location which is unsecure and disclosing it to an unauthorized person. Is this what Comey did? It sure looks like it. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, stored 110 emails containing classified information on her home computer server, an unauthorized place. Yet, Comey misinterpreted the criminal statute by claiming she did not “intend to violate the law.” This is not the legal standard, as any knowledgeable lawyer will tell you. Clinton was never indicted, though she should have been. David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA, was not so fortunate. He pled guilty to removing classified documents to his personal residence where he stored them in an unsecured drawer. He also gave them to his biographer who was not authorized to receive them. John Deutch, also a former CIA Director, agreed to plead guilty to keeping classified material on his unauthorized laptop computer, but was pardoned by President Bill Clinton just days before the formal charges were filed. Comey insists the information contained in the memo he gave to his lawyer friend who leaked it to the media was unclassified. If true, it is not a violation of the Espionage Act. But if Comey gave his friend, Columbia University Professor Daniel C. Richman, any of the four documents containing classified information, then he committed one or more crimes. Richman now claims he received four memos from Comey, but none were marked classified. The good professor may not realize that the “marking” in no way determines its classified status. The content dictates classification, as Fox News Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge has consistently pointed out. Importantly, if Comey maintained these four documents in his personal possession, as his Senate testimony suggests, then he may have committed at least four more crimes in the same way that Clinton, Petraeus and Deutch did. Again, it is a felony to keep documents containing classified information in an unauthorized place, such as your personal possession, home or private unsecured computer. As explained in an earlier column, Comey likely violated another law. All of his memos are, unquestionably, government property under the Federal Records Act and the FBI’s own Records Management regulations. They were composed by him in the course and scope of his employment as the Director of the FBI. In meeting with President Trump, Comey was not acting as a private citizen. Both Congress and the FBI agree on this obvious point. Therefore, the memos were not Comey’s to keep in his possession. It is a crime to convert government property to your own personal use and then give it to another person. 18 USC 641 makes it a felony to “steal, sell or convey” such property to someone else without permission. Comey’s conduct and whether it constitutes numerous crimes should be investigated by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. Yet, that is not likely to happen. Why? In a previous column, I described in detail how Mueller and Comey have been long-time close friends, allies and partners. They have enjoyed a mentor-protégé relationship. This is precisely why Mueller should have disqualified himself from serving under the special counsel statute (28 CFR 600.7 and 28 CFR 45.2). His strong relationship to Comey creates a genuine conflict of interest and, at the very least, the appearance of impropriety. How can Mueller discharge his responsibilities in a fair, objective and impartial manner? Will the mentor investigate and, if warranted, prosecute his protégé? Doubtful. The prospect of prejudice and favoritism this case presents is anathema to the fair administration of justice. The American people expect and deserve something better than a legal charade.

Agreed!!  And well said, Gregg.  Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News anchor and former defense attorney.  This is a follow up to the story we posted the other day (scroll down about six articles) regarding this subject.  Excellent analysis!!