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What Is Robert Mueller Looking for?
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Robert Mueller is the special counsel appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in May 2017 to probe the nature and extent of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The investigation began in October 2016 under President Barack Obama when the FBI took seriously the boast of Carter Page, one of candidate Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, that he had worked for the Kremlin.

The FBI also had transcripts of telephone conversations and copies of emails and text messages of Trump campaign personnel that had been supplied to it by British intelligence. Connecting the dots, the FBI persuaded a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to issue a search warrant for the surveillance of Page, an American.

Page never registered as a foreign agent, and working for the Kremlin and not registering as a foreign agent is a crime for which the FBI should have investigated Page. Such an investigation would have included surveillance, but not from the FISA court. Surveillance in a criminal case requires a search warrant from a U.S. District Court based upon the constitutional requirement of probable cause of crime — meaning that it is more likely than not that the thing to be searched (internet and telephone communications) will produce evidence of criminal behavior.

But the FBI didn’t seek that. Instead, it sought a warrant to surveil Page’s communications based on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act standard, which is probable cause of communicating with a foreign power. This lower, easier-to-demonstrate and unconstitutional standard is the tool of choice these days for FBI agents because it requires less effort and is used in a court that grants 99.9 percent of search warrant applications.

The temptation to use the FISA court and its easy standard instead of a U.S. District Court and its privacy-recognizing constitutional standard to get a search warrant is often too much for the FBI to resist. This is a form of corruption because it presents a path for criminal investigators to invade the privacy of Americans that the Constitution protects.

Yet the FBI used whatever it learned from the surveillance of Page to get that surveillance extended. Even the Trump Department of Justice went to the FISA court to spy on Page. Lost in all this is the purpose of FISA — to prevent government surveillance of Americans and limit it to agents of foreign powers.

When Jeff Sessions became attorney general, he recognized that he himself would most likely be a witness in the Mueller investigation because of his involvement in the Trump campaign, so he removed himself from all matters pertaining to Russia, and his deputy, Rosenstein, appointed Mueller to run the investigation.

What is Mueller looking for?

ORDER IT NOW

When the feds are examining a potential crime committed by a group, their treasure-trove of evidence can often be a member of the group who reveals the criminal behavior of his former colleagues. That’s why the feds often indict people for crimes that appear to be irrelevant to the ones they are investigating — in this case, lying to the FBI and bank fraud allegedly committed before the 2016 election.

When such an indicted person can then be persuaded to turn on his former colleagues in return for a lesser charge or a lighter sentence, prosecutors can have a field day. This is a form of bribery — you tell us on the witness stand what we want to hear and we’ll go easy on you — that is permitted only to prosecutors; and the courts condone it. If defense counsel gave as much as a lollipop to a witness to shade his testimony, both would be indicted.

From the backgrounds of those whom Mueller’s grand juries have indicted and from the deals they have cut with him, it appears that Mueller is looking at three areas of potential criminal behavior. Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents. If his indictments of these Russians are accurate, they were here virtually and physically and they spent millions to help Trump. But the indicted Russians are not coming back to the U.S. for their trials.

Mueller is examining their potential American confederates for the crime of conspiracy — or, as my colleagues in the media call it, collusion. This would be an agreement by campaign officials to accept something of value from a foreign person, entity or government, even if the thing of value — for example, Hillary Clinton emails — was never actually delivered. The crime is the agreement, and it is prosecutable after at least one of those who agreed takes a material step in furtherance of the agreement.

Mueller’s second area of examination is possible obstruction of justice by President Trump himself. Obstruction is the interference with a judicial proceeding for a corrupt purpose. Was FBI Director James Comey fired because Trump couldn’t work with him or because he was hot on the president’s trail and Trump wanted to impede that? If it was the former, it would have been licit. If it was the latter, it could have been criminal.

The third of Mueller’s areas is financial dealings by the pre-presidential Trump. These bear little surface relationship to Russian involvement in the campaign, yet evidence of wrongdoing must have come to Mueller from his FBI agents or his cooperating witnesses, and he is following the money as prosecutors do.

Where will all this go? The president cannot seem to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Mueller has 16 experienced federal prosecutors and a few dozen FBI agents passionately at work. And he also has witnesses he legally bribed and a few hundred thousand documents from the White House and from Trump’s financial affairs that the president has not personally reviewed.

And now Mueller wants to interview the president. Who will have the upper hand if that happens?

Copyright 2018 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Government Surveillance, Russia 
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  1. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Several of us here have gradually realized that Mr. Napolitano is no longer doing admirable work. I have been voicing my suspicion since comment #1 to his column of 11/2/17. It has been both fun and infuriating to look for and call out the slithery support for the Establishment’s demonization of Russia, and his ancillary propagandandizing for bad actors in Washington who actually have been “meddling” in the 2016 election and since.

    This week’s best example of propaganda: “Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents.” It would be easy enough to provide a linked source for this assertion, as a lawyer would be required to do in making an argument. But you never see evidence from “Judge,” who just pumps away with hyperbolic repetition. He’s no show, all tell, and thus much more effective in the TV medium than in a written forum.

    I encourage anyone who still considers Mr. Napolitano to be a fair and credible commentator on RussiaGate to spend an hour reviewing his columns over the last six months in the light of my comments.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Macon Richardson
    I, too, noticed the same line:

    Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents.
     
    No, the campaign was not saturated by Russian intelligence agents. Mueller has indicted 13 Russian citizens who work for two Russian companies. We, you or I. . .or Mr. Napolitano, have no basis for deciding if these thirteen are intelligence agents or not. In fact, indictments of individuals who are beyond apprehension or trial may assert anything they want to. The prosecution can assert that the accused are emissaries from Ming of Mongo if he wishes to. He never has to prove his accusations in court. Here Napolitano tips his hand:

    If his indictments of these Russians are accurate, they were here virtually and physically and they spent millions to help Trump. But the indicted Russians are not coming back to the U.S. for their trials.

     

    Well, yes! "If his indictments are accurate!" Yet we'll never know. Mr. Mueller may assert anything he wants to because, for these thirteen Russians, he will never have to prove one word of the indictments. With a heavily politicized James Comey holding his finger up to see which way the wind blew, with other FBI administrators doing the same thing, with Mueller being thick as thieves with now-fired Comey and now-disgraced other FBI officials, why should one believe anything he says, even under oath.

    Absent politics, what was needed (if anything was needed) to investigate Trump's "Russian connection" was a truly dispassionate, truly independent special counsel. That didn't happen.

    Considering Mr. Napolitano, he is getting a bit overbearing.
    , @Wally
    I agree.
    Your points are spot on.
    Thanks.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. Mueller is a swamp creature and a hired gun. His job is to nullify the will of the people in the election of Donald Trump. He is in the service of evil.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. Tick Tock says:

    I must agree wholeheartedly with the two previous commentators. We could be kind and suggest he is just another paid stooge, which is understandable as we all need to make a living. Prostitution is a common theme in politics. But I do really become nauseous reading his drivel. I guess we can just ignore his bull crap and keep protesting his inclusion on this site.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous
    It may be for the best that The Narrative as voiced by a relatively well respected mainstream commentator can be compared to the fine writers also published here. It appears from the commentary in recent months that Mr. Napolitano has lost at least some of his fans. I was seeing some (non-substantive) pushback to my criticism, but not much of late.

    What continues to mystify me is the pass given “Judge” by his fellow UR columnists. I guess he’s still a pinstriped sacred cow because he defends Constitutional and other principles in the abstract or in other contexts. The religious stuff likely helps in this way, too.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tick Tock
    I must agree wholeheartedly with the two previous commentators. We could be kind and suggest he is just another paid stooge, which is understandable as we all need to make a living. Prostitution is a common theme in politics. But I do really become nauseous reading his drivel. I guess we can just ignore his bull crap and keep protesting his inclusion on this site.

    It may be for the best that The Narrative as voiced by a relatively well respected mainstream commentator can be compared to the fine writers also published here. It appears from the commentary in recent months that Mr. Napolitano has lost at least some of his fans. I was seeing some (non-substantive) pushback to my criticism, but not much of late.

    What continues to mystify me is the pass given “Judge” by his fellow UR columnists. I guess he’s still a pinstriped sacred cow because he defends Constitutional and other principles in the abstract or in other contexts. The religious stuff likely helps in this way, too.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. @anonymous
    Several of us here have gradually realized that Mr. Napolitano is no longer doing admirable work. I have been voicing my suspicion since comment #1 to his column of 11/2/17. It has been both fun and infuriating to look for and call out the slithery support for the Establishment’s demonization of Russia, and his ancillary propagandandizing for bad actors in Washington who actually have been “meddling” in the 2016 election and since.

    This week's best example of propaganda: "Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents." It would be easy enough to provide a linked source for this assertion, as a lawyer would be required to do in making an argument. But you never see evidence from "Judge," who just pumps away with hyperbolic repetition. He's no show, all tell, and thus much more effective in the TV medium than in a written forum.

    I encourage anyone who still considers Mr. Napolitano to be a fair and credible commentator on RussiaGate to spend an hour reviewing his columns over the last six months in the light of my comments.

    I, too, noticed the same line:

    Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents.

    No, the campaign was not saturated by Russian intelligence agents. Mueller has indicted 13 Russian citizens who work for two Russian companies. We, you or I. . .or Mr. Napolitano, have no basis for deciding if these thirteen are intelligence agents or not. In fact, indictments of individuals who are beyond apprehension or trial may assert anything they want to. The prosecution can assert that the accused are emissaries from Ming of Mongo if he wishes to. He never has to prove his accusations in court. Here Napolitano tips his hand:

    If his indictments of these Russians are accurate, they were here virtually and physically and they spent millions to help Trump. But the indicted Russians are not coming back to the U.S. for their trials.

    Well, yes! “If his indictments are accurate!” Yet we’ll never know. Mr. Mueller may assert anything he wants to because, for these thirteen Russians, he will never have to prove one word of the indictments. With a heavily politicized James Comey holding his finger up to see which way the wind blew, with other FBI administrators doing the same thing, with Mueller being thick as thieves with now-fired Comey and now-disgraced other FBI officials, why should one believe anything he says, even under oath.

    Absent politics, what was needed (if anything was needed) to investigate Trump’s “Russian connection” was a truly dispassionate, truly independent special counsel. That didn’t happen.

    Considering Mr. Napolitano, he is getting a bit overbearing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ozymandias
    "...indictments of individuals who are beyond apprehension or trial may assert anything they want to. The prosecution can assert that the accused are emissaries from Ming of Mongo if he wishes to. He never has to prove his accusations in court."

    So, he has successfully established a base line?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Wally says:
    @anonymous
    Several of us here have gradually realized that Mr. Napolitano is no longer doing admirable work. I have been voicing my suspicion since comment #1 to his column of 11/2/17. It has been both fun and infuriating to look for and call out the slithery support for the Establishment’s demonization of Russia, and his ancillary propagandandizing for bad actors in Washington who actually have been “meddling” in the 2016 election and since.

    This week's best example of propaganda: "Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents." It would be easy enough to provide a linked source for this assertion, as a lawyer would be required to do in making an argument. But you never see evidence from "Judge," who just pumps away with hyperbolic repetition. He's no show, all tell, and thus much more effective in the TV medium than in a written forum.

    I encourage anyone who still considers Mr. Napolitano to be a fair and credible commentator on RussiaGate to spend an hour reviewing his columns over the last six months in the light of my comments.

    I agree.
    Your points are spot on.
    Thanks.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. Corvinus says:

    “These bear little surface relationship to Russian involvement in the campaign…”

    Mr. Napolitano, please educate yourself on this matter.

    https://twitter.com/SethAbramson?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. Anon[291] • Disclaimer says:
    @Corvinus
    "These bear little surface relationship to Russian involvement in the campaign..."

    Mr. Napolitano, please educate yourself on this matter.

    https://twitter.com/SethAbramson?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?"

    Because Mr. Abramson has been reporting the events, with sources and commentary, since 2016.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. Corvinus says:
    @Anon
    Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?

    “Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?”

    Because Mr. Abramson has been reporting the events, with sources and commentary, since 2016.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic? What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. Anon[291] • Disclaimer says:
    @Corvinus
    "Why should Mr. Napolitano educate himself by reading Mr. Abramson, and not Mr. Abramson by reading Mr. Napolitano?"

    Because Mr. Abramson has been reporting the events, with sources and commentary, since 2016.

    How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic? What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous
    You do realize that “Corvinus” is a troll(s) aping Winston Smith’s neighbor, Tom Parsons?
    , @Corvinus
    "How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic?"

    Not as long or as in depth as Mr. Abrahson.

    "What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?"

    It's not about being less informed, but it's about actively seeking to be informed. Mr. Abramson does his due diligent in citing sources and offering analysis...and generally recognizes his own confirmation biases. Of course, like anyone, he goes over the top on some of his comments.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. The president cannot seem to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

    There really aren’t many lawyers with the required experience in defending High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Most criminal lawyers deal with drunk driving and drugs offenses.

    The job of a Special Prosecutor is to look for High Crimes, but if all else fails aim below the belt and go for the target’s genital misdemeanors.

    “You lied to the FBI when you said you had never cheated on your wife, as we have found highly credible porn stars and hookers who will say otherwise.”

    What Trump needs is a lawyer with experience in defending sex offenders.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  12. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic? What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?

    You do realize that “Corvinus” is a troll(s) aping Winston Smith’s neighbor, Tom Parsons?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. @Macon Richardson
    I, too, noticed the same line:

    Mueller has already established as a base line the saturation of the 2016 presidential campaign by Russian intelligence agents.
     
    No, the campaign was not saturated by Russian intelligence agents. Mueller has indicted 13 Russian citizens who work for two Russian companies. We, you or I. . .or Mr. Napolitano, have no basis for deciding if these thirteen are intelligence agents or not. In fact, indictments of individuals who are beyond apprehension or trial may assert anything they want to. The prosecution can assert that the accused are emissaries from Ming of Mongo if he wishes to. He never has to prove his accusations in court. Here Napolitano tips his hand:

    If his indictments of these Russians are accurate, they were here virtually and physically and they spent millions to help Trump. But the indicted Russians are not coming back to the U.S. for their trials.

     

    Well, yes! "If his indictments are accurate!" Yet we'll never know. Mr. Mueller may assert anything he wants to because, for these thirteen Russians, he will never have to prove one word of the indictments. With a heavily politicized James Comey holding his finger up to see which way the wind blew, with other FBI administrators doing the same thing, with Mueller being thick as thieves with now-fired Comey and now-disgraced other FBI officials, why should one believe anything he says, even under oath.

    Absent politics, what was needed (if anything was needed) to investigate Trump's "Russian connection" was a truly dispassionate, truly independent special counsel. That didn't happen.

    Considering Mr. Napolitano, he is getting a bit overbearing.

    “…indictments of individuals who are beyond apprehension or trial may assert anything they want to. The prosecution can assert that the accused are emissaries from Ming of Mongo if he wishes to. He never has to prove his accusations in court.”

    So, he has successfully established a base line?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. Corvinus says:
    @Anon
    How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic? What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?

    “How long has Mr. Napolitano been writing on the topic?”

    Not as long or as in depth as Mr. Abrahson.

    “What gives you reason to believe he is less informed than Mr. Abramson, or that Mr. Abramson is particularly well-informed or acute in his commentary?”

    It’s not about being less informed, but it’s about actively seeking to be informed. Mr. Abramson does his due diligent in citing sources and offering analysis…and generally recognizes his own confirmation biases. Of course, like anyone, he goes over the top on some of his comments.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
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