Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that an ongoing probe into President Trump “needs to conclude” in order to let him focus on North Korea, the U.S.-Mexico border and other world negotiations. Mr. Sessions also said he expects the Justice Department inspector general to finish his investigation into the department’s and FBI’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election in a “few weeks,” saying that will provide more information for decisions on whether there was wrongdoing. Testifying to the House on Thursday, Mr. Sessions was pressed by a lawmaker who said he saw a “double standard” in comparing the ongoing special counsel probe into Mr. Trump, while Mr. Sessions has declined to name a second special counsel to review the way the department and the FBI handled Mrs. Clinton. “At the very root of this, I think my constituents are frustrated, are angry, they see a double standard historically. They want justice,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Republican, ticking off a number of red flags he said deserved the heightened powers a special counsel should look at. Mr. Sessions said he didn’t want to appoint special counsels “willy-nilly” but said his department is taking deliberate steps. He’s named a U.S. attorney to oversee an investigation and coordinate with the inspector general whose probe has been ongoing for months. He also said they’re sharing an unprecedented amount of information with GOP-led congressional committees who are probing the same matters. “If there’s wrongdoing we’re going to take action about it,” he said. He said he knows the president is “concerned” about the ongoing special counsel investigation into figures surrounding Mr. Trump, and Mr. Sessions said it needs to end so the president can deal with the job of running the executive branch. “He’s dealing with France and North Korea and Syria and taxes and regulations and border and crime every day,” Mr. Sessions said. “This thing needs to conclude. So I understand his frustrations and I understand the American people’s frustrations.”
Washington is full of blather, bombast and bullsh-t, but a line about Robert Mueller was the most important thing spoken or written there last week: “Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, declined to comment.” Since Mueller’s office never says anything outside court publicly, who knew he had a spokesman or needed one? The line was included in a Washington Post story that said Mueller told the White House that President Trump was not a target of the criminal investigation. The story could be a big deal — if true. But the report is nonetheless remarkable because it was the first leak in memory that carried good news for Trump. After breathless drip, drip, drip reports that had the president practically being frog-marched to a firing squad at dawn, the fever broke. Every dog has its day, and the Washington media decided this president’s day comes once every 15 months. True to form, news outlets immediately pivoted back to their regularly scheduled programming of stories saying Trump is in imminent danger. The New York Times and ABC declared that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, though a stranger to readers, is now Mueller’s hottest witness. Enough. The violent swings of the leaky pendulum make this an excellent moment to call timeout on the Mueller probe. What does he have, where is he going and when is he going to get there? Those are basic questions that need to be answered. The American people deserve facts instead of waters muddied by partisanship, innuendo and special access to biased big-media companies. Mueller’s team includes some active Democrats, and whether they are behind the anti-Trump leaks is, for the moment, beside the point. The point is that the leaks are creating a reality all their own about the investigation and the president. It’s time to clear the air of rumor and speculation and put the facts on the record. It’s not as if the public has been impatient. Mueller was appointed in May of last year to pick up the FBI probe started in the summer of 2016. Although there have been indictments, nothing implicates Trump in wrongdoing.
Exactly!! For on this outstanding op/ed by Michael Goodwin, just click on the text above.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is accused of acting in complete disregard for the law and must be removed. And so, too, must his entire team. There is devastating new evidence to suggest that Mueller and his staff of lawyers improperly, if not illegally, obtained tens of thousands of private documents belonging to President-elect Trump’s Presidential Transition Team (PTT). The material includes emails, laptops and cell phones used by 13 PTT members. Critically, a “significant volume of privileged material” was taken by Mueller, according to the Trump transition lawyer, and then used by the special counsel team in its investigation. Mueller’s staff apparently admits this egregious violation, which the law strictly forbids. Under the law, the only remedy is Mueller’s dismissal from the case. The Presidential Transition Act states that all records of transition operations are private and confidential. On November 16, 2016, roughly ten days after Trump was elected president, the Chief Records Officer of the U.S. Government sent a letter to all federal agencies reminding them that “the materials that PTT members create or receive are not Federal or Presidential records, but are considered private materials.” Yet Mueller seems to have ignored the law. Without a warrant or subpoena, his team of lawyers brazenly demanded these private records from the General Services Administration (GSA) which held custody of the materials. The GSA does this as a service to all incoming presidents out of courtesy, but it neither owns the documents nor is authorized to release them to anyone under any circumstances because they are deemed entirely private. Counsel for the Trump Transition Team has sent a letter to Congress alleging the Fourth Amendment was violated in “failing to obtain a warrant for the search or seizure of private property in which the owner has a reasonable expectation of privacy (Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 403 U.S. 443, 489).” Mueller might contest the claim of an unlawful seizure because the GSA willingly handed over the documents, but this disregards the fact that the GSA broke the law and Mueller surely knew it when he pressured the agency to do so. The most serious charge against Mueller is that he obtained, reviewed and used material that is privileged. For months, Mueller allegedly failed to disclose to the transition team that he acquired these privileged documents. Under the law, he and his lawyers are not entitled to possess or read any of them. Even worse, the transition team says it warned the special counsel six months ago that it had no right to access the records without gaining permission from the PTT. Courts have clearly stated what prosecutors are supposed to do under these circumstances: “An attorney who receives privileged documents has an ethical duty to cease review of the documents, notify the privilege holder, and return the documents.” (U.S. v. Taylor 764 Fed Sup 2nd, 230, 235) Did Mueller do this? Apparently not. He never notified PTT when his staff of lawyers encountered the privileged documents and he compounded his violation of the law by possessing and accessing them for months. Only the owner of such materials can waive the privilege that protects them. Since the GSA does not, under the law, own the records, only the transition team can make such a waiver. It did not. Hence, if any illegally obtained documents have been used in the Trump-Russia case, then the results are tainted and invalid. This is a well-established principle of law. The use by Mueller of even one privileged document can, and must, result in his disqualification from the case. The case of Finn v. Schiller, 72 F.3rd 1182, 1189 spells out the required remedy for this violation of the law: “Courts have frequently used their supervisory authority to disqualify prosecutors for obtaining materials protected by the attorney-client privilege.” Statutory law also demands Mueller’s removal. Pursuant to 5 C.F.R. 2635.501, government employees, including prosecutors, are directed to “take appropriate steps to avoid an appearance of loss of impartiality in the performance of his or her official duties.” The lawyer for the Trump transition team states that the special counsel’s office admitted in a telephone conversation on Friday that it failed to use an “ethical wall” or “taint team” to segregate any privileged records. This is often done to keep them isolated from lawyers and investigators involved in the case. Yet, Mueller did not adopt such precautionary measures. Instead, he apparently allowed his team to utilize the documents while questioning witnesses in the Trump-Russia case. If true, Mueller’s conduct is not only unethical and improper, it constitutes lawlessness. On this basis, he must be removed and replaced. Given the insular nature of the special counsel operation, it is reasonable to conclude that all the lawyers and investigators likely accessed the privileged documents. Therefore, not just Mueller, but his entire team must be dismissed. This would include Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the case. Either Congress should take aggressive action or the Presidential Transition Team (now Trump for America, Inc.) must petition a federal judge to order their removal. The integrity of the special counsel probe has been deeply compromised by numerous allegations of corrupt acts. In its current composition, it seems beyond repair.
Agreed!! And well said, Gregg. Gregg Jarrett is a former defense attorney, and current legal analyst at Fox News and Fox Business Network. Excellent analysis!!
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!!
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.
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…
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..