Well well.

Mueller now expanding Russia probe to investigate . . . the brother of Hillary’s campaign chairman?

By —— Bio and Archives--October 24, 2017

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Mueller now expanding Russia probe to investigate . . . the brother of Hillary's campaign chairman?
Some of us have been sounding the alarm about independent counsel investigations for some time now. Once these things start, they take on lives of their own as investigators search relentlessly for heads they can make roll so as to justify the gig in the first place. Perhaps the most egregious example was Patrick Fitzgerald’s takedown of Scooter Libby for a process crime during an “investigation” of a matter in which we later learned Fitzgerald knew what he needed to know on day one.

That is that Richard Armitage “outed” Valerie Plame in a way that didn’t even approach lawbreaking. There was nothing to prosecute. But Fitzgerald had to justify himself so he spent years and millions of dollars chasing after anyone he could nab on a technicality.

If you want to go back a little further, you could point to Lawrence Walsh’s case against Caspar Weinberger in the Iran-Contra matter, which ended up requiring George H.W. Bush to issue a much-deserved pardon.

This is the sort of thing that happens when independent counsels are appointed as a result of a matter being politicized. When it turns out the original reason for the probe is empty - that there was no underlying crime - the independent counsel doesn’t simply shut down the investigation and say “nothing to see here.” Instead, we inevitably learn he is “expanding the probe” to go after ancillary players for things that are hardly even connected to the original reason the independent counsel was appointed.

This keeps the independent counsel and his staff employed, with budget money flowing, for as long as he can concoct reasons to keep things going. We haven’t found anything yet, but darn it, someone did something! We need to keep looking!

We’ve already told you about Robert Mueller’s crew wiretapping Paul Manafort in an apparent fishing expedition, not to mention their early-morning raid of his home. This is the clearest sign yet that Mueller has found nothing to support the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election, so now he is looking elsewhere to find a way to take someone down.

Typically the party that is not the target of the investigation is happy as a clam to see these abuses of power go on, because they’re not the ones being targeted. But that might be about to change. Democrats couldn’t have been happy to learn today that Mueller is now also targeting Tony Podesta. Who’s he? He’s the brother and business partner of Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta, and he’s now getting the Mueller treatment as well:

Tony Podesta, a powerful Democratic lobbyist and the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, reportedly has entered Robert Mueller’s investigative crosshairs as the special counsel’s office probes whether his firm violated federal law.

NBC News first reported that Podesta and his Democratic lobbying firm are now subjects in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, after inquiries regarding former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s finances.

The Podesta Group was co-founded by Tony and his brother John Podesta, who is a longtime Clinton aide and served as chairman of her 2016 presidential campaign.

According to Monday’s NBC News report, Manafort organized a PR campaign for a pro-Ukraine nonprofit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU), which reportedly was backed by a pro-Russia party. The Podesta Group reportedly was one of many firms that worked on the campaign.

According to NBC News, Mueller’s team began looking at Podesta and his company and is now pursuing a criminal inquiry into whether the company violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).


Continued below...

Democrats like Hillary and John Podesta shamelessly pushed this idiotic Trump-colluded-with-the-Russians narrative

There’s a real temptation here to cheer this. Democrats like Hillary and John Podesta shamelessly pushed this idiotic Trump-colluded-with-the-Russians narrative, and then helped pressure Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation into the matter, which cleared the way for Mueller’s appointment. It serves the Democrats right if one of their own big fish gets caught up in this thing.

But that doesn’t make any of this right.

For starters, as we argued way back in August, Sessions should never have recused himself. There was no serious reason for him to do so, and if there was ever a matter to investigate, it should have been handled by the Justice Department with Sessions in the lead. When he made that decision, he was thinking like a politician worried about media scrutiny, not like a law enforcement officer.

Second, even if it did make sense to appoint an independent counsel (which it didn’t), Mueller has produced nothing to justify his original charge. Absent any evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the election, the Mueller probe should simply end. Its usefulness has ended. If the Mueller team inadverently discovered evidence of possible ancillary crimes in the process, then they can give that evidence to the Justice Department, which can decide what to do with it, if anything. But unless Mueller is actually going to charge someone in the Trump campaign with criminal collusion with Russia, he should resign and close up shop immediately.



I hope the Democrats understand that this is what they reaped by demanding an independent counsel to investigate a scandal about nothing

Third, the fact that a Democrat is getting caught up in this does not make it OK. I have no idea if Tony Podesta broke the law by aiding a pro-Russian group operating in Ukraine. If he was supposed to register as a foreign agent and he didn’t, then the Justice Department can deal with that as it normally would a similar matter. I want Democrats’ ideas to be proven wrong. It gives me no joy when one is charged with a crime.

Now obviously, if one is clearly guilty of a crime - like, say, their 2016 presidential nominee - then that person should be charged. But no one wins when we criminalize partisan differences, and that’s what seems to be happening here to both Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta.

Even so, I hope the Democrats understand that this is what they reaped by demanding an independent counsel to investigate a scandal about nothing. Once these things get rolling, they tend to spiral out of control quickly and no one seems to know how to stop them. God help you if you’re the one who didn’t quite get all the facts right when you were deposed, or whose phone records contained some calls you forgot about when you were under oath. Robert Mueller needs to take someone down, and it might as well be you.

Or we could just put a stop to this whole thing. That’s what we should do.

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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

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