April 3, 2018

On Monday, the day before Alex Van Der Zwaan was scheduled to be sentenced under his plea agreement in the “Trump/Russia” special counsel case, Robert Mueller and deputy attack dog Andrew Weissmann filed a three-page notice arguing that Van Der Zwaan should not be allowed to file FOIA requests, which is his constitutional right under the law. Not just that they shouldn’t be granted --- he shouldn’t even be able to file them, from now till the special counsel investigation is over, conceivably years from now when we are all too old and feeble to remember our own names, let alone a name like “Alex Van Der Zwaan.”

Van Der Zwaan had already agreed not to make FOIA requests at the time he pleaded guilty on February 14 to lying to investigators about contacts with Trump campaign associate Richard Gates and a Ukrainian businessman. (Side note: the charges against both Van Der Zwaan and Gates have nothing to do with any “collusion” with Russia on the part of Trump or his campaign.) Gates made a similar agreement as part of his own guilty plea, and Mueller is now saying that the attention paid to Gates’ waiver is what leads him to file this argument now. Okay, but what is the reason for either Van Der Zwaan or Gates to have to waive their constitutional right under the Freedom Of Information Act?

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Better legal minds than I (remember, I’m a layman who didn’t go to Haaaaa-vaaaahd Law) have figured out that this is one way for Mueller to clamp down especially hard to avoid transparency. You see, even if a request turns up nothing in the way of a response for many months or even years –- as seems to be the norm these days –- it’s the nature of the documents being requested that sends the media bloodhounds down the trail. Mueller is obviously doing everything in his power to hide what he’s up to.

It’s possible that Mueller and Weissmann filed their argument because they anticipate Van Der Zwaan’s attorney will challenge his FOIA waiver. Such agreements usually have been enforceable, but civil libertarians will challenge a particular waiver when they think it might not be, and the Supreme Court has yet to rule. In precedent set by Price v. United States, a waiver of one’s constitutional rights as part of a guilty plea is “not enforceable when the government cannot articulate legitimate criminal-justice interests for the waiver.” So on Monday, this special counsel tried lamely to articulate some, saying this waiver “serves manifold legitimate criminal-justice interests while minimally encumbering Van Der Zwaan’s rights for a period of limited duration.” Limited how? This investigation appears to have no limit whatsoever.

To cover all their bases, Mueller and Weissmann also request that the established precedent should not be extended to “this new context.” What, the context of this being an investigation into Trump so all the rules go out the window?

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Mueller and Weissmann’s argument essentially puts the investigation in lock-down mode, hiding away potentially exculpatory or favorable evidence from Van Der Zwaan (as well as from other witnesses/potential defendants, Congress, the media, and you and me) until the investigation is completely over. What’s more, we now know that abusing the rights of defendants to have access to exculpatory material is nothing new for either of these lawyerly predators. This is business as usual for them.



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Comments 1-20 of 20

  • Ruth Ford

    04/07/2018 03:28 AM

    I'm deeply concerned about the Mueller investigation. I think it is a total vendetta to get Donald Trump no matter what they have to do. Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein all are in bed together and I'm not so sure about Jeff Sessions. Is he being the "good ol boy" friend to Trump while planning to stab him in the back. Is he one of the bottom feeders in the swamp????

  • JQ Adams

    04/05/2018 05:13 PM

    Mueller is denying all FOIA requests. It's might not be the little picture that he's trying to cover up. It might be the big picture complete package of all the corruptness that's been going on with the Dems, Obama,HRC, Rice, DOJ, FBI etal since before the election.

  • Thomas hoye

    04/05/2018 02:33 PM

    This is the same Andrew Weissmann, who maliciously led the prosecution team, corrupting justice in the prosecution of Arthur Anderson accounting firm as well as Merril Lynch and a host of other innocents..
    These corrupt prosecutors are covered in Sidney Powels book : Licenced to Lie ; Exposing corruption in the Defence Department. Several chapters are devoted to the many prosecutions irregularities of which the Supreme Court ruled against Weissmanns team in a 9-0 decision for the defense. I hope you may be able to find the time to read her book, authored by the highly experienced procecutor herself who was involved personally in the Enron related events
    Thomas Hoye

  • Barbara White

    04/04/2018 11:56 PM

    I, too, would really like to know what is going to be done about all of this! All of these corrupt people making all this money, investigating whatever occurs to them next, while HRC & Co. continue travelling the world on her Ill gotten millions and having a merry old time, not the least bit concerned. This is disgusting, and I'd like to know what we can do.

  • Edward Lester

    04/04/2018 07:56 PM

    How can a special prosecutor require a defendant(?) in an investigation to waive any of his constitutional rights? Is a special prosecutor's investigation considered due process? If a grand jury cannot pass judgement only suggest further court action, how does a special counsel get such power to demand a citizen waive his constitutional rights? If this is not "out of order" then we have no constitution. Just go ahead and waterboard all your witnesses, Mr. Mueller.

  • Margaret Hamm

    04/04/2018 10:24 AM

    I would like to know how this man keeps getting by with what he does and wasting the taxpayers money. I still think, and have all along, that someone should investigate him. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could thrown him, and I couldn't even pick him up. Why he is able to continue with all of his democratic lawyers I have never understood from the beginning. He is up to something and has been from the beginning, and they are all getting rich on the taxpayers dollars. I am sure that is not the way people want their hard earned dollars spent. They has been way too much done on the collective people's backs already. Isn't their someone who can stop him from this never ending spending. He should have never went beyond the investigation of the president and Russia. No matter that he doesn't find anything, he just starts looking for something else. He could do that the rest of his life if no one stops him. Should taxes keep funding this "witch hunt", for that is exactly what it is. I would like to see someone investigate him for the same amount of time that he is investigating the president. You could find something on anyone if you dug long enough. Everyone has something in their life at some time that I am sure is not considered squeeky clean. Why should the people keep paying more and more millions for that. Bet he is not so clean either is someone just dug enough. There are rumors out their already that they could investigate. They don't mind trying to do it to President Trump.

  • Michael Novak

    04/04/2018 07:10 AM

    Governor, when will some one (other than yourself), in Congress or the Department of Justice stand up and say "THIS IS BULLCRAP!!!!" This investigation, as you have said before, is running down the wrong path, crying "wolf" to cover the butts of the current leadership of the Democratic Party. If we had a Speaker of the House who had some kahonas, a Congressional investigation would be opened and we'd get to the bottom of this. I remember Watergate (bored me during my 8th grade year). Quit pussyfooting around, get the real culprits, and let's move on with our lives!

  • Rose Howell

    04/04/2018 02:29 AM

    Hi Mike!
    Please explain again why Trump can't just fire Mueller. Technically I know he can but is it b/c they will then go after him for obstruction of justice? I think that Mueller and Comey should both be in prison and a lot of others. And why does Trey Gowdy keep sticking up for Mueller? And why is Gowdy quitting the House and not running again. He has not finished his job.
    Rose Howell

  • Debra Edge

    04/03/2018 09:46 PM

    I detest watching someone manipulate the law to their own advantage. Not only is Muellear manipulating the law, but he is also using untold dollars for his own agenda. He needs to be limited in scope and budgetary expenditures. There must be someone that can accomplish this.

  • Nancy DeYoung

    04/03/2018 08:32 PM

    Have been willing to let things unfold and trust Pres Trump to be several steps ahead of this Rat Mueller. My question is WHY is Sessions allowing this nonsense to continue...this is all to prevent Mueller being forced to testify re Uranium One and get these Clinton/Obama cartel RATS jailed. Many believe Sessions is either unwilling or incompetent to do his job. There will be massive upheaval if this is allowed to progress. Military families won't take any more ?Lib nonsense or these people getting off due to cowardice by Sessions
    Thanks for your great work...and your Daughter...what a fireball she is! Great parenting!
    Nancy DeYoung

  • Marlene Helfrick

    04/03/2018 07:12 PM

    Mueller is known for hiding evidence. I don't know if there is a technical term for it but disallowing evidence is just hiding it in plain sight.

  • Amelia Little

    04/03/2018 06:16 PM

    Doggone it, Mike!!! Some information that would support the issue that there was no Trump/Russia collusion might be uncovered!!! Or, maybe some more of the actions of people NOT associated with Trump, or maybe even associated with say, obama, hilary, FBI, DOJ, Fusion, etc etc would be uncovered!!! Can't let any of that happen, ya know!!!

  • Joseph Orsini

    04/03/2018 04:18 PM

    Stephon Clark: Was he the one vandalizing cars? Why did he run when the cops came? Why did he not raise his hands when cops said to? Was one of the cops black? Is it the cops or is it civilians [or both] that need to have procedures to follow when there is a cop-civilian interaction?

  • Annie White

    04/03/2018 04:09 PM

    Mueller is delaying the Trump/Russia 'investigation' to keep it at the forefront in the 2018 midterm elections and to keep the spotlight on President Trump and off the real criminal investigation that should be at the forefront, Hillary Clinton, Obama, and all the other real criminals associated with the Obama Administration.

  • Robin Hodge

    04/03/2018 03:42 PM

    My problem with this is, why is this council above the law? Most sane and responsible Americans can see that the lawlessness of the Obama reign continues. After seeing Americans victimized for years under Obama and the Democrats, Americans got fed up. We knew we needed a “bull in the china shop” kind of person to be our next President. This! Is the reason we have President Trump as our rightfully sitting President. It does not now nor has it ever had anything to do with Russia. Democrats know that they can’t win unless they cheat and that is what’s happening at every turn.

  • ed presley

    04/03/2018 03:07 PM

    When will Mueller's witch hunt end? They are a barrel of snakes that will manufacture evidence if they can't find any....These vipers should be fired.

  • Janet Lichtenberg

    04/03/2018 02:21 PM

    Don't let Mueller get away with anything. He is a lying lawyer who would do anything and anything to take Pres. Trump out of office. He is a member of the deep state....not what voters voted for in electing our President.

  • Bernadette Dillon

    04/03/2018 02:15 PM

    Our government is so out of control. We the people no longer have constitutional rights. This is outrageous behavior and it leads me to believe the Mueller has something to hide. If these documents were released he would be up doodle creek without a paddle. Therefore not only should these documents be released but he should be removed immediately from this case since he seems to be as guilty as Hilary and Bill Clinton

  • Stanley Langley

    04/03/2018 02:06 PM

    Mueller is the one that should be under investigation! He has no accountability and is ripping the American people off. I think we have a right to know where his investigation is going but most of all "How much MONEY he has spent"? He seems to be as corrupt as James Comey and McCabe! Three peas in a pod!

  • Leroy Lakey

    04/03/2018 01:20 PM

    a question: Is Rod Rosenstein an elected official? If he is not, then why is he not fired by now? Does President Trump or the "attorney general have the power to fire him?