The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

One Year

Earlier in my career, I spent considerable time writing books that required in-depth research into a specific area of technology. I used library sources (before the Web), books (I borrowed or purchased), and in some cases, face-to-face discussions (interviews) with area experts in technology. I evaluated hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of documents (articles and papers), took copious notes, and organized my finding. I then wrote draft after draft until a final manuscript was ready. This work typically took about two years of part-time effort while I also worked at my full time job. At its conclusion, my publisher (McGraw-Hill) and I produced a result—a college textbook (the largest is over 900 pages), reviewed by other professors for accuracy, structure, and pedagogy. Even the smallest error was picked apart and justly criticized.

I find it fascinating that Robert Mueller, with a team 17 full-time lawyers and dozens of other researchers along with an unrestricted budget and complementary resources provided by the DoJ and the FBI, cannot accomplish effectively the same tasks I performed in less time than they've already spent. By even the most conservative estimates, Mueller has expended over 60,000 (!!) person-hours of taxpayer-funded effort and has produced nothing so far.

The elites keep telling us that Mueller is a patriot, that he is the epitome of an ethical operator, that he is beyond reproach. Leaving aside that some of that may not be true,* let's assume for a moment that the elite's pronouncements are accurate. Why, when he realizes that his investigation is roiling politics in ways never before imagined, can't he and his team conclude their work? Why has he not expressed a sense of urgency in getting to a result? Why have there been no interim findings that might put some of the most egregious accusations to rest?

Spare me the argument that Mueller and his team are trying to be comprehensive, that they're following every "lead," that there's much left to do. At the risk of being indelicate—that's bull shit!

The Mueller team has had over a year to do their work and it appears that they fully intend to keep at it indefinitely.


To answer that question, ask yourself who benefits from the special counsel's interminable "investigation". Ask yourself why the trained hamsters in the mainstream media, usually quite impatient, never ask why this is taking as long as it has. Ask yourself who gains an advantage when news of administration successes is drowned out by the latest leak (often fake news) from the special counsel's office. Ask yourself why an investigation into Russian collusion (a national security threat, if it was true) is now looking into a Trump's personal lawyer who paid a porn star to keep her mouth shut (no pun intended) about an alleged affair with Donald Trump over a decade ago. Ask yourself why the NYT, the supposed newspaper of record, has a page one article this morning on "How Michael Cohen, Trump’s Fixer, Built a Shadowy Business Empire" but somehow doesn't see fit to report that Robert Mueller appeared to have allowed psychopath and gangster, Whitey Bulger, great latitude in the 1980s or why there might be serious conflict of interest (see footnote below) in Mueller's investigation.

If I could research and write a 900 page college textbook in under two years working part-time by myself, it would seem reasonable to expect that Mueller and his team of 17 lawyers and dozens of paraprofessionals, along with FBI agents and DoJ staff could produce a definitive report in under one year. Since they have not, the implication is clear. There is NO evidence to support Russian Collusion and NO evidence of obstruction of justice. The vaunted special counsel is hunting for something to pin on Trump. Does the term "witch hunt" come to mind?


* There are few journalists who merit praise and even fewer who live up to the standards of their profession. Sharyl Attkisson is one of them. In an article published in The Hill, Attkisson notes that Robert Mueller may have three distinct conflicts of interest:
As the special counsel investigation surrounding President Trump goes on, we still don’t know what evidence Robert Mueller and his team have amassed behind closed doors. It’s entirely possible they have built a strong case that Trump illegally conspired with Russian President Putin, which Trump’s critics have long claimed but which Trump denies.

If the New York Times' list of questions that Mueller wants to ask Trump is accurate, however, it’s hard not to notice that Mueller is treading in waters in which he — the special counsel — may have at least three serious conflicts of interest.

The first area has to do with Mueller’s reported inquiries into Trump’s alleged desire to terminate Mueller himself as special counsel, as well as Trump’s firing of Mueller’s longtime friend and colleague, former FBI director James Comey ... [Attikisson goes on to explain why that is]

That brings us to a second area of possible conflicts of interest. Mueller’s institutional ties would seem to be relevant in a case whose counterpoints rest largely on the institution’s own alleged misbehavior. By that I mean some in the intelligence community and the Department of Justice allegedly conspired to “get Trump,” promulgated and leaked questionable “intelligence” that turned out to be political opposition research, and exploited the government’s most intrusive surveillance authority to spy on Americans who were tied to Trump during the presidential campaign. Mueller was an integral part of this very “community” for the better part of three decades.

A third possible conflict of interest involves the case’s entanglements with two of the people instrumental in Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Though we didn’t know it at the time, it was his old friend Comey who secretly leaked — or gave — information to the New York Times to spur the appointment. And Mueller’s actual appointment was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who we now know signed his name to at least one of the controversial wiretaps against a Trump campaign associate. To make matters more complex, Rosenstein is the one who provided President Trump a strongly worded memo supporting the decision to fire Comey — an act for which Mueller also apparently is investigating Trump.
This entire "investigation" is beginning to stink. It smacks of prejudicial conduct on the part of the investigators, who are intent, it appears, on coming up with something—anything—that will derail Donald Trump.

UPDATE: (5/7/2018)

The editor's of the Wall Street Journal comment on Judge T.S. Ellis who challenged the Mueller team in a courtroom in Virginia. Ellis demanded to better understand the prosecutorial mandate under which Mueller et al were operating and suggested that no prosecutor has the unfettered right to indict for crimes that have nothing to do with Donald Trump. They note Judge Ellis' comments:
“I don’t see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate. You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Judge Ellis told Michael Dreeben, who was representing Mr. Mueller in court. “What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Judge Ellis won’t win a diplomacy-in-judging prize, but his sharp words expose a central problem with the evolution of the Mueller probe. Though he was appointed to investigate collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016, Mr. Mueller’s indictments thus far have concerned other matters—lying to the FBI, or in Mr. Manafort’s case actions relating to his business with Ukraine .
Manafort is no angel, doing what dozens of high-priced lobbyists and operators (on both the Dem and the GOP sides) do every day in Washington. What he did was probably illegal, but Mueller was not chartered to investigate those things.
The judge put it this way: “What we don’t want in this country, we don’t want anyone with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unlimited powers to do anything he or she wants.”

None of this means a get out of jail pass for Mr. Manafort. As Judge Ellis also suggested, one of his options would be to transfer the case against Mr. Manafort from the special counsel to the U.S. attorney for Eastern Virginia. But if Mr. Mueller refuses to turn over the full “scope” document concerning Mr. Mueller’s mandate [one has to wonder why that document has been redacted], Judge Ellis would be justified in throwing out the indictment.

The case of Mueller vs. Trump is fast becoming a Hatfield vs. McCoy feud, in which both sides want to destroy the other. But if the result of a presidential election is going to be overturned, and lives ruined along the way, the process must hew to proper due process and constitutional norms. Good for Judge Ellis for making that clear.
Yes ... good for Judge Ellis, a voice of reason in an atmosphere of outright hysteria, gleefully encouraged by the four constituencies who would like nothing better that the overturn the past election..