Legal experts are becoming increasingly concerned over the professional conduct of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team. The special counsel has selectively and illegally leaked information concerning the investigation to friendly media outlets and secured indictments in a manner experts say make it clear political motives are trumping justice.
In the latest example, NBC News reported “multiple sources familiar with the investigation” told them the special counsel has gathered “enough evidence” to charge Lt. General Michael Flynn and his eldest son. The alleged charges have nothing to do with Russia or “collusion,” which many Americans might be surprised to learn is not an actual crime.
As People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) first reported in May, the special counsel piggybacked off of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and has been digging into the relationship between Lt. Gen. Flynn and a Turkish businessman. They are probing whether it played any role in his decision-making during the brief time he served as national security advisor for President Donald J. Trump.
Lt. Gen. Flynn was fired by President Trump after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about conservations he had with the Russian ambassador. The FBI cleared Lt. General Flynn of any wrongdoing as it relates to the content of the conversation, but the investigation turned to his firm, Flynn Intel Group.
The firm received $530,000 from Inovo late last year to investigate Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric with ties to Hillary Clinton currently residing in the United States. Turkish authorities claim he was behind the orchestration of a failed attempted coup against the government last year.
“He didn’t disclose the relationship in full until weeks after his resignation from the White House, and potentially wasn’t forthcoming with the FBI on the matter,” PPD reported. “Mr. Alptekin has claimed he hired Flynn’s firm to improve relations between the U.S. and Turkey, but he arranged the Sept. 19 meeting in New York between Mr. Flynn and Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs and minister of energy.”
Last week, Paul Manafort and his former business associate and protégé Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities, making them the first to be charged by Special Counsel Mueller and his team.
The indictments, which were leaked by the special counsel to CNN the Friday before, were secured and unsealed in a manner that raises questions over whether the special counsel was trying to divert attention from several damning reports.
Only days before the indictment, it was revealed the campaign for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid for the infamous debunked Steele dossier. They had lied about their involvement for roughly a year. A nonpartisan election watchdog group then filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the campaign’s failure to disclose the $10 million expense.
The discredited opposition research not only appears to have been used by the FBI as justification to spy on Trump campaign associates, but also was the catalyst for accusations of collusion.
Reports also implicated the Justice Department (DOJ) and the FBI under Mr. Mueller in a scheme to coverup potential crimes resulting from the controversial Uranium One deal. the FBI uncovered a massive bribery, corruption and racketeering scheme before the Obama Administration approved a nuclear deal that put 20% of U.S. uranium resources under the control of Moscow.
Also just before the indictments were unsealed, the Trump DOJ cleared a confidential informant for the FBI, lifting an unprecedented non-disclosure agreement. He will now be allowed to testify before Congress about what he witnessed undercover surrounding Russia’s efforts to corner the global uranium market. The witness has long-wanted to tell the American people about his knowledge of the corruption, but was gagged by the Obama Administration.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for another special counsel to investigate the controversial Obama-Clinton era deal, particularly given Mr. Mueller’s role in the cover up of the investigation. While his committee has launched a probe as well, only the powers granted to a federal prosecutor can get to the bottom of what appears to be a clear cut Clinton quid pro quo.
Experts say several details about the indictments indicate the special counsel was more concerned about timing, political and media narratives rather than accuracy or justice.
“The indictments were definitely rushed,” said high-profile defense attorney Robert Barnes, who said it lays out “a confusing conspiracy that charges three different conspiracies in one count.”
Mr. Barnes, who has extensive experience in white collar crime, noted that the tactic is a violation of the rules of conspiracy indictments. His assessment is backed up by Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who called the indictments “shaky and overcharged.”
“It reads like a draft alternative conspiracy theory,” Mr. Barnes said, adding “the factual error about the Ukrainian prime minister” supports the accusation it was written in haste. Yulia Tymoshenko was the first woman to be appointed as prime minister in Ukraine, but even with a team of lawyers the indictment incorrectly claimed she was the president.
“Third, the dubious claim that dodging taxes can be money laundering has been rejected repeatedly by Congress for decades,” he said.
But it’s also what Mr. Mueller didn’t want the public to know about the indictments that are equally disturbing. As PPD also previously reported, prosecutors for the special counsel peppered witnesses with questions about the role The Podesta Group played in advancing Russian interests at the State Department under Mrs. Clinton while working for Mr. Manafort.
Sources with knowledge of the interviews told PPD witnesses, one a former employee at The Podesta Group, told investigators The Podesta Group knew about the nature of Mr. Manafort’s clients and willfully violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Tony Podesta, the brother of co-founder and former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, resigned following the indictments.
The Podesta Group, the most powerful Democratic lobbying firm in D..C, is “Company A” in the indictments. “Company B” was Mercury LLC, another predominantly Democratic lobbying firm. Mr. Manafort hired The Podesta Group to work on a public relations campaign for the non-profit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which aimed to promote the image of the then-Russian satellite regime.
The law requires those who lobby on behalf of foreign agents to file disclosures with the Justice Department. Neither Mr. Manafort nor The Podesta Group were in compliance with FARA. By filing a retroactive FARA disclosure this April, the liberal firm admitted to the lobbying activities. Mr. Mueller not only didn’t charge them but also attempted to conceal their involvement.
“Mueller went out of his way to mask the involvement of Democratic-connected lobbying groups in the indictment,” Mr. Barnes said. “Mueller doesn’t think he has any limits or supervision in the way he handles this investigation. This is the most wayward indictment of any special counsel in the history of special counsels.”
Liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who likened the special counsel investigation to Stalin’s secret police, said Mr. Mueller is ignoring crimes committed by Democrats, which are the “mirror image” of what they have alleged of Team Trump. Recalling his experience with Mr. Mueller, he tells a very disturbing story that paints the former FBI head as the perfect person to lead a political witch hunt.
“’It’s a non-starter to talk to me about FBI misconduct or prosecutorial misconduct,'” Professor Dershowitz claimed Mr. Mueller once told him. “It’s a non-starter. He doesn’t want to hear about that. He is in the business of protecting the FBI, protecting prosecutors, at all costs.”
Professor Dershowitz and others, including Mr. Barnes, point to the team Mr. Mueller assembled to conduct the investigation. People’s Pundit Daily reviewed FEC records back in August and it was problematic, to say the least. Filled with Democratic donors and ethically-challenged prosecutors, it can accurately be characterized as a Democrat hit squad.
Gregg Jarrett, a defense attorney and anchor at Fox News, pointed to one of those team members when asked to react to the indictments.
“These indictments have Andrew Weissmann’s fingerprints all over them,” Mr. Jarrett said last week.
Mr. Weissman has given at least $4,300 to Democratic candidates, including Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. But it’s his reputation as a politically-motivated prosecutor is equally, if not more troubling than his political preferences.
Sidney Powell, who served as lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals, filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Weissman along with William Hodes, one of the bar’s leading ethics experts. It alleged he hid evidence and called “cooperating witnesses” who gave what he knew beforehand to be false testimony.
“During his years on the Enron Task Force, Prosecutor Weissmann was widely known for intimidating witnesses, hiding evidence, and unethical and heavy-handed, if not illegal, tactics,” said Powell, who has written about the case for the legal site Seeking Justice.
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) unanimously overturned the conviction that Mr. Weissman and the Enron Task Force secured for the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Citing Mr. Weissmann’s unethical actions, the Court specifically cited him giving jury instructions that removed criminal intent from the law and improperly portrayed the law Andersen was charged with breaking.
“Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required,” former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the opinion. “Only persons conscious of wrongdoing can be said to ‘knowingly corruptly persuade.”
Ms. Powell noted that jury was told “even if petitioner honestly and sincerely believed its conduct was lawful, the jury could convict,” which was not true.
Meanwhile, the Uranium One deal is currently under investigation by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the calls for Mr. Mueller to resign are growing.
Initially, the friendship with fired FBI director James Comey, who admitted under oath to leaking with the explicit purpose of forcing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor, was the justification for those calls. Mr. Comey was Mr. Mueller’s protégé during and after the Bush Administration.
The law and DOJ policy governing special counsels states no person shall “participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”
Now, the new revelations about his role in overseeing the Uranium One investigation — along with none other than Mr. Rosenstein — has prompted new calls for Mr. Mueller to resign.
“The federal code could not be clearer – Mueller is compromised by his apparent conflict of interest in being close with James Comey,” Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who first called for Mr. Mueller to step down over the summer, said in a statement. “The appearance of a conflict is enough to put Mueller in violation of the code. … All of the revelations in recent weeks make the case stronger.”
However, legal experts say that if fidelity to the law was his concern, then he would’ve already resigned.
Professor Dershowitz added that Mr. Mueller is “not going to be satisfied until he gets to the president, or people very close to him. That’s the danger of a special prosecutor.”