By Robert Romano
When you get right down to it, almost every person being targeted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or targeted by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017 via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court was named in the Christopher Steele dossier, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.
It was Hillary Clinton’s enemies list, dressed up as an intelligence document, that attempted to make the case that then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign were Russian agents. It was then used to obtain FISA warrants against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. George Papadopoulos was also named and stands out as somebody who was not explicitly named by Steele, at least in the version of the dossier that was published by Buzzfeed (we have yet to see the rest of Steele’s work product).
But let’s look at who did appear in the Steele dossier.
All are now targets of the Justice Department and the special counsel. But none have been accused by the Department of assisting Russia with hacking the DNC and John Podesta emails and putting them on Wikileaks — Steele’s central allegation. Instead, everyone is being charged or is about to be accused of violating tax laws, bank laws, campaign finance laws, lying to investigators or obstruction of justice all unrelated to any conspiracy with Russia.
Showing that Trump defense attorney Rudy Giuliani is right. Truth isn’t truth when it comes to this witch hunt.
What Mueller and the rest of the corrupt Justice Department are doing is going after all of Hillary Clinton’s named political enemies from the Steele dossier her campaign paid for. The establishment and media pretend it is a legitimate investigation, but really, it is a purge on behalf of a political benefactor.
Whether the allegations are true or not does not appear to matter at all.
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations that are not even violations — entering into non-disclosure agreements with women alleging to have had an affair with Trump. Even if they were campaign expenditures — they’re not, but even if they were — they came out of Trump’s pocket in the end, which wouldn’t be illegal.
The critical element is that Cohen sought reimbursement not from the Trump campaign but from Trump Organization. He didn’t think they were campaign expenditures back then.
Moreover, these were non-disclosure agreements that would have been entered into even if he weren’t a candidate just to protect his businesses, his reputation and his family. Besides that, Trump has individual rights under the Constitution to contract with an attorney to enter into just these sorts of legal settlements with potential litigants, something Congress cannot preempt.
Since they have flipped, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault and separately, Cohen, via lawyer Lanny Davis, have claimed they can tie President Trump to Russian hacking of the DNC that he had knowledge of it in advance. But so did the whole world. The hack has been public knowledge since June 14, 2016 when the Washington Post broke the story, more than a month before the emails began appearing on Wikileaks. In any event, that does not appear to be what Cohen testified to before Congressional investigators. According to the Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman, “People familiar with Cohen’s testimony to the House and Senate Intelligence committees said Cohen was interviewed extensively about the Russian interference campaign but did not provide any information to suggest Trump had advance knowledge.”
Cohen was said by Steele to be in Prague in the summer of 2016, allegedly meeting with Russian intelligence officers to clean up the Wikileaks mess. There’s only one problem. Cohen was never to Prague. He even showed his passport to Buzzfeed to prove it. And now Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis confirmed last week that Cohen had “never, ever” been to Prague.
Ironically, just last month Trump was being pilloried for expressing doubts about the assessment that Russia hacked the DNC and John Podesta emails and had them put on Wikileaks at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and yet he is accused by Steele of having “full knowledge” of the hack.
If Trump does not even believe Russia hacked the DNC and Podesta, then how could he have had “full knowledge” of it let alone lent cooperation and coordination to Russia on the hack and publication? Both things cannot be true.
The list goes on.
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators when the FBI agents who spoke to Flynn reportedly did not initially think he had lied.
George Papadopoulos was accused by Mueller of meeting with Russian agents offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in his indictment that some have alleged might have actually British or Western intelligence agents posing as Russian intermediaries in some sort of a sting operation. The “dirt” was never delivered.
Donald Trump, Jr. was lured into a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya with the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Instead the meeting focused on repealing the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russian businessmen. The “dirt” was never delivered.
President Donald Trump himself was accused of being a Russian agent in the dossier, which former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress was “unverified.”
Despite that, the claims in the dossier itself were submitted to the FISA court as if they had been verified.
Mueller’s investigation itself was supposed to be into Russian interference but besides Russia, the major interference from overseas appears to have originated in the UK.
Steele was a former British spy who not only prepared the dossier on behalf of Clinton and the DNC, but then submitted it to the FBI and Justice Department and other departments. What did the British government know and when did they know it?
And then there’s the matter of whether Trump himself is the target of the investigation, something Comey repeatedly told the President he was not. Which was it?
Either way, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is smart enough to know to put the target of his investigation, President Donald Trump, into a lose-lose situation when it comes to him testifying to the grand jury in Mueller’s probe.
Behind door number one, if the President chooses not to testify, Mueller could attempt to compel Trump’s appearance before the grand jury via subpoena.
There’s only one problem. The Fifth Amendment still clearly states that “No person shall… be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…” Trump could still plead the Fifth, as it is, or his attorneys could just argue in federal court that the President cannot be compelled to testify. The case would likely be litigated up to the Supreme Court. It’s hard to imagine the Supreme Court would force testimony from the target of a criminal investigation.
Mueller might attempt to dodge this aspect, by stating that Trump is not the target of the investigation — but is a witness whose testimony is critical to the investigation. He will claim that since the Justice Department cannot indict the President, that Trump is merely being called as a witness. It seems unlikely the Court would side with Mueller here, but you never know.
Behind door number two, should Mueller somehow win a Supreme Court ruling on testimony or at least appearing to testify, or should Trump simply choose to testify to expedite the process, and Trump were to actually grant the testimony and not plead the Fifth, then as Giuliani has noted, Trump would be caught in a perjury trap.
Comey has testified that Trump said he told Comey to go easy on Flynn, and Trump will testify he did not. It won’t matter who was telling the truth.
In the end, the Mueller probe is an investigation in search of a crime. On July 13, when Russian intelligence officers were accused by Mueller of hacking the DNC and Podesta emails and putting them on Wikileaks, although at times the Russians were allegedly in contact with Americans, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has flatly noted, “There is no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.” Rosenstein added, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime,” nor was there any indication the hacks had altered any votes or the outcome of the election.
Again, truth isn’t truth, as Giuliani told NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Aug. 19. If the entire investigation was supposed to be into Russian interference in the election by hacking the DNC and Podesta and Trump campaign efforts to help, and the Justice Department does not think any Americans were even involved, why is this witch hunt still going on?
Why are we still prosecuting Hillary’s enemies list? It’s bad enough she almost won the election. We almost elected a monster. But don’t do the monster’s bidding.
– – –
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public President at Americans for Limited Government.