On Wednesday, a day of significant breaking news about what looks to be blatant overreach on the part of Mueller’s team, I appeared on Shannon Bream’s late-night show on FOX News –- having knocked back a couple of Red Bulls first –- to talk about some of it. I made the point that nothing about the special counsel’s tactics is surprising, given what we already knew.
In America, we don’t go breaking down doors, raiding someone’s home and taking personal papers and computers, as was done to the reportedly cooperative Trump attorney Michael Cohen, just to learn more about a questionable campaign contribution. This was clearly an enormous stretch of the law, an intrusion on attorney-client privilege committed for the purpose of intimidating the President and his attorney. Here, a law professor and former chairman of the Federal Election Commission explains why…
This kind of behavior violates Americans’ sense of equal justice for all. Did anyone raid Cheryl Mills’ house? No, by all appearances she was treated with kid gloves and was even allowed to ASSERT attorney-client privilege in the Hillary Clinton email case, though she herself was a witness in that case. And, gosh, was Hillary’s home in Chappaqua ever raided, or the offices of the Clinton Global Initiative? They were under scrutiny (supposedly) by the FBI, but nothing close to that ever happened.
As for the theory that Mueller pulled that stunt to bait President Trump into firing him, I made that same observation myself soon after the raids were conducted, but it should be noted that neither Trump nor his staff has said he was going to do that. Acknowledging the power to fire Mueller is a long way from actually firing him. Trump surely knows the political and legal firestorm that ousting Mueller would create, no matter how richly deserved (for Mueller) and personally gratifying (for Trump) that firing might be.
But Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) have created this narrative. It’s laughable that Congress is actually talking about passing legislation to protect Mueller’s investigation. As I told Shannon, I’m much more concerned with who’s going to protect this great republic of ours, the principle of separation of powers and the integrity of the office of the Presidency. Who’s going to protect Americans like you and me from the intrusion of federal agencies busting into our homes (or the offices of our attorneys) just to see what they can find? If they can do this to the President of the United States, you and I have no hope whatsoever of protection under the Constitution.
As I said, today was full of breaking news on this whole mess. As reported by Ed Henry, one source who saw the search warrants used for the raid on Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel room described the real goal as a “search and destroy mission” against Trump personally. Apparently, they wanted to find out more about the Access Hollywood tape, specifically whether there were other attempted payoffs during the 2016 campaign. Payoffs to whom –- RUSSIANS?? What does any of this have to do with the assignment given to this special counsel, which was to investigate possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign or other Russian interference in our elections?
The continued employment of Attorney General-in-name-only Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is another matter. President Trump is justifiably furious that Sessions took his job only to recuse himself from all things Russia; Trump would certainly have appointed someone else if he’d known this might happen. Rosenstein should have recused himself from the investigation at the start because he wrote the memo for Trump arguing for Comey’s firing and also because he approved at least one FISA application renewal for the warrant to spy on Carter Page. His failure to recuse seems to me to be a cut-and-dried firing offense.
Oh, and it finally happened: the minimally-unredacted FISA application from July 2016 –- the one that set the FBI’s Russia probe in motion –- was finally, finally seen by chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, along with Trey Gowdy and committee staffers, after threats of contempt of Congress and possible impeachment proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray. Wow, it’s amazing the way threatening impeachment can move things along; they actually got to go to see Rod Rosenstein and read the two-page document, the one said to have been “significantly” written by infamous anti-Trump FBI official and compulsive tweeter Peter Strzok –- who, incredibly, does still have his security clearance, as we also finally learned today.
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