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October 27, 2017

Wall Street Journal to Robert Mueller: Resign. You Are Hopelessly Conflicted in This Investigation.

Mueller's old FBI is up to its gills in Uranium One and his prodigy and pal Comey basically engineered this entire special counsel situation to get back at a man who fired him.

Mueller is not impartial, and it's a great help to have a respected, more establishment voice like the WSJ editorial board say the obvious.

Ed Morrissey digests it (link to the article contained in the above-linked post):

"Strip out the middlemen," the Wall Street Journalís editors argue this morning, "and it appears that Democrats paid for Russians to compile wild allegations about a US presidential candidate." The editorial demands a "full investigation" into the FBI's activities during the previous presidential cycle, saying that collusion may have taken place --only in a completely different direction than previously thought. And that puts the special counsel in an impossible position, the editorial concludes:
The more troubling question is whether the FBI played a role, even if inadvertently, in assisting a Russian disinformation campaign...

Two pertinent questions: Did the dossier trigger the FBI probe of the Trump campaign, and did Mr. Comey or his agents use it as evidence to seek wiretapping approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Trump campaign aides?

...

The Fusion news means the FBI's role in Russiaís election interference must now be investigated--even as the FBI and Justice insist that Mr. Mueller's probe prevents them from cooperating with Congressional investigators. Mr. Mueller is a former FBI director, and for years he worked closely with Mr. Comey. It is no slur against Mr. Mueller's integrity to say that he lacks the critical distance to conduct a credible probe of the bureau he ran for a dozen years. He could best serve the country by resigning to prevent further political turmoil over that conflict of interest.

It is a slur against his integrity that he won't admit the obvious and resign due to conflict of interest -- he's pretty strongly signalling he has a personal interest in staying head of an investigation he's obviously conflicted on, which is all the more proof he's conflicted.

Note the difference in how Comey handled Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump:

In contrast [to the hardball Special Counsel appointed to investigate the Plame leak], then-FBI Director Comey played softball with the 2015-16 Hillary Clinton investigation. Despite the gravity of the matter--military service members can be court-martialed and discharged for sending classified information on nonsecure systems--Mr. Comey mostly avoided issuing subpoenas and cooperated with the Obama Justice Department in obscuring the investigation's criminal character. He permitted Mrs. Clinton and her team to destroy evidence and granted generous immunity deals to her advisers. He drafted a statement exonerating Mrs. Clinton months before the FBI interviewed her. And his FBI neither recorded the interview nor compelled her to answer questions under oath.

In addition, in a July 2016 press conference, Mr. Comey usurped the authority of Justice Department prosecutors by publicly exonerating Mrs. Clinton. In the process, he confused the pertinent legal issue by asserting she did not intend to violate the law. But intent wasnít a necessary condition for a crime. Federal law criminalizes "gross negligence" in mishandling classified information. By Mr. Comey's own account, Mrs. Clinton had been "extremely careless."

With Mr. Trump, by contrast, Mr. Comey is playing hardball even after leaving government. In May, shortly after President Trump fired him, Mr. Comey--possibly in conflict with FBI policy-leaked notes of an Oval Office meeting with the president. His purpose, Mr. Comey publicly acknowledged, was to "prompt the appointment of a special counsel."

Mueller's friend and protege admits to deliberately engineering this special counsel situation -- essentially, he admits to creating the very job Mueller now performs -- and he may have used illegal means to have done so.

And Mueller's going to be investigating him?

Mr. Mueller is playing hardball too. Unlike the Clinton investigation into narrowly defined allegations, his mandate authorizes pursuit of unspecified crimes. That invites casting a wide net, which Mr. Mueller has done, exploring conduct that long predated the 2016 presidential campaign. He has assembled a huge team that includes, in addition to FBI agents, 16 seasoned prosecutors, at least seven of whom have contributed money to Democratic candidates.

Given that Mueller defines his jurisdiction very expansively, you'd imagine he'd be investigating his buddy Comey's possible illegal acts -- and yet no leak of that, despite the leakiness of Mueller's team when it comes to Trump.

Charles Grassley is demanding a special counsel for the Uranium One matter:



Note that such an investigation might very well implicate Robert Mueller, who presided over the FBI during the bulk of the FBI's softball, we're-all-friends-here investigation into it.

Meanwhile, Charles Grassley is also demanding that Treasury provide him with financial records of #FusionCollusion actors. And, as Christopher Steele is mentioned, these records might wind up including payments from Mueller's protege Comey:

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as the Department of Justice's enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act," Grassleyís letter says. "I am requesting a copy of any and all documents relating to Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) that have been filed regarding the following individuals or entities." They include:

Rinat Akhmetshin, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian-American lobbyist and the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Robert Arakelian, another lobbyist who works with Akhmetshin.

Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, the Washington, DC-based nonprofit headed by Veselnitskaya whose stated goal is to "restart American adoption of Russian children" but has lobbied to repeal the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 law that imposed sanctions on Russian officials.

Glenn Simpson, Thomas Catan, Peter Fritsch and their private investigation firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the so-called "dossier" that alleged the Russian government had been ďcultivating, supporting and assistingĒ President Donald Trump.

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent who collected the intelligence for the dossier; his business partner, Christopher Burrows; and their firm Orbis Business Intelligence.

Perkins Coie, a law firm that reportedly retained and paid Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign for research that ended up in the dossier.

Prevezon Holdings, a Russian-owned company that was charged with money laundering and settled with the Department of Justice earlier this year, and eight of its related companies.

The law firm Baker Hostetler, which was hired to defend Prevezon, and two of the firmís attorneys, John Moscow and Mark Cymrot.

Diane Feinstein declined to sign the letter, too. What's she trying to hide? Note the list includes the lawyer who met with Trump, Jr. -- doesn't she want to know all about that? She did a few months ago.

Perhaps she suspects that lawyer was actually doing business with the Podesta group or FusionGPS. (The lawyer might also have been doing business with Paul Manafort -- which would suggest he helped engineer the meeting without telling his American clients the real purpose of it. But that's just speculation.)

Also see Kimberly Strassel on what the congressional subpoena to Fusion might produce, assuming the Obama-appointed judge ruling on Fusion's emergency motion to quash it permits it to stand.

The Fusion GPS saga isnít over. The Clinton-DNC funding is but a first glimpse into the shady election doings concealed within that oppo-research firmís walls. We now know where Fusion got some of its cash, but the next question is how the firm used it. With whom did it work beyond former British spy Christopher Steele ? Whom did it pay? Who else was paying it?

The answers are in Fusionís bank records. Fusion has doggedly refused to divulge the names of its clients for months now, despite extraordinary pressure. So why did the firm suddenly insist that middleman law firm Perkins Coie release Fusion from confidentiality agreements, and spill the beans on who hired it?

Because there's something Fusion cares about keeping secret even more than the Clinton-DNC news--and that something is in those bank records. The release of the client names was a last-ditch effort to appease the House Intelligence Committee, which issued subpoenas to Fusion's bank and was close to obtaining records until Fusion filed suit last week. The release was also likely aimed at currying favor with the court, given Fusion's otherwise weak legal case. The judge could rule as early as Friday morning.

If the House wins, donít be surprised if those records include money connected to Russians. In the past Fusion has worked with Russians, including lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who happened to show up last year in Donald Trump Jr.'s office.

FBI bombshells are also yet to come. The bureau has stonewalled congressional subpoenas for documents related to the dossier, but that became harder with the DNC-Clinton news. On Thursday Speaker Paul Ryan announced the FBI had finally pledged to turn over its dossier file next week.

...


[S]omeone at the DNC and at the Clinton campaign will need to explain how they somehow both forgot to list Fusion as a vendor in their campaign-finance filings. Some Justice Department lawyer is presumably already looking into whether this was a willful evasion, which can carry criminal penalties. It's one thing to forget to list that local hot-dog supplier for the campaign picnic. Itís a little fishier when two entities both fail to list the firm that supplied them the most explosive hit job in a generation.

Lastly, while Debbie Wasserman-Schultz -- head of the DNC when the DNC paid for the FusionGPS "legal services" -- and Jon Podesta -- Hillary's campaign manager when Hillary's campaign paid for FusionGPS' "legal services" -- both claim they know nothing about the dossier or Fusion, look who Jon Podesta's lawyer is, who's also, get this, the lawyer for the DNC:



... and Marc Elias is, in turn, their lawyer at Perkins Cole, the firm which, get this, actually paid for the dossier.

So he was their lawyer, and he didn't tell any of them he was violating FEC rules on their behalf by paying for oppo research (which involved putting money in the hands of Kremlin operatives) ?

Really?

Really?

The only people stupid enough to believe this are your leftist media "reporters" who print your talking points as #AppleFacts.


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posted by Ace at 12:25 PM

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