Earlier this month, there was news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury to review the evidence of the Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election. It’s important to realize that a grand jury is not impounded unless the prosecutor feels that a conviction can be brought. And, as they say, you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, as a New York chief judge once said.
A CNN legal commentator says the current investigation has already gone too far.
Last month, when President Donald Trump was asked by The New York Times if special counsel Robert Mueller would be crossing a line if he started investigating the finances of Trump and his family, the President said, “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”
The President is absolutely correct. Mueller has come up to a red line in the Russia 2016 election-meddling investigation that he is dangerously close to crossing. . . According to these reports, “sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 election.”
In fact, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s letter appointing special counsel Robert Mueller does not give Mueller broad, far-reaching powers in this investigation. He is only authorized to investigate matters that involved any potential links to and coordination between two entities — the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Business Insider says Trump has “drawn a red line,” that Mueller may not investigate Trump’s finances. But what they’re doing, as they said during Watergate, is “follow the money.”
Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday that Mueller would cross a line if he began digging into his finances. But in early June, Mueller began hiring lawyers with extensive experience in dealing with fraud, racketeering, and other financial crimes to help him investigate whether Trump or his associates worked with Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton during the election.
The follow-the-money approach began with a money-laundering case initiated last year by Preet Bharara, at the time a US attorney, according to Bloomberg.
Fox News says the news of Mueller’s expanded investigation shocked Trump.
The morning after President Trump publicly warned Special Counsel Robert Mueller to stick to Russia and avoid probing his family finances outside that scope, a new report quoting a single, anonymous source has struck the White House like a bomb.
The Washington Examiner says Mueller is looking into Trump’s deals with Russians, which might fit Mueller’s mandate.
Investigators with the FBI as well as others part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are examining apartment purchases from Russians in Trump-owned buildings. They’re also looking into the president’s previous involvement in a SoHo hotel condominium development with Russian associates, the Miss Universe pageant, which took place in Moscow in 2013, and Trump’s decision to sell a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, according to Bloomberg.
They’re also examining dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, and Jared Kushner’s attempts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties. . .
Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s business transactions stemmed from a money laundering probe started by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, according to Bloomberg.
However, Breitbart says we shouldn’t know that, at least not yet, and it’s unfair.
The team charged with investigating whether there was any collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia now appears to be leaking details of the probe to damage him. . .
Trump and Republican lawmakers have questioned the impartiality of Mueller and the probe, which was created after former FBI Director James Comey leaked a memo to the media for the purpose of prompting a special counsel.
It should be noted that the fired James Comey is a Republican, who succeeded Robert Mueller as FBI chief—another Republican—who was appointed by George W. Bush to the position as head of the FBI in 2001.
Fox commentator Charles Krauthammer says there was no “there” there—until Trump Junior released his emails about the secret Russian meeting.
I was puzzled. Lots of cover-up, but where was the crime? Not even a third-rate burglary. For six months, smoke without fire. Yes, President Trump himself was acting very defensively, as if he were hiding something. But no one ever produced the something.
My view was: Collusion? I just don’t see it. But I’m open to empirical evidence. Show me. The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election. . .
Donald Jr. emails back. “I love it.” Fatal words. Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were copied on the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.
However, Krauthammer also says removing Trump would be a catastrophic mistake.
I happen to think; as you know I opposed the Trump candidacy. I don’t think he is very well fit for the presidency. But fitness is not a reason for impeachment, and removal. High crimes are. Here we have a prosecutor looking for high crimes. With Watergate you started with a crime and tried to find out how it happened. Here they are looking for a crime… as of yet I haven’t heard of one. Collusion is unseemly but it isn’t a crime. . .
If you think a man is unfit, you vote against him, you don’t remove him from office. And that is where I am afraid we are headed…
Of course, the Washington Examiner says Trump’s bombast invites overreaction.
Overreach. President Trump seems to have an uncanny knack for provoking it in his opponents and critics. This often hurts him and the country. But it has the potential to hurt those doing the overreach as well.
This overreaction is most notable among Democrats, and it could hurt them.
Democrats campaigning in districts across the country are de-emphasizing Russia in their rhetoric — and some are warning that a persistent focus on the Russia investigation could backfire.
“In the races where I’m working, I think voters think that Russia is important and that the questions need to get answered,” Bill Burton, a veteran Democratic consultant, said at a political convention this past weekend. “But they’re mostly sick of hearing about it, and they want to hear politicians talk about things that are more directly important in their lives.”
What about the investigation, itself? Newsmax says this is beginning to look like Iran-Contra.
Former FBI Director and now Special Counsel Robert Mueller has just hired, at tremendous taxpayer expense, his sixteenth lawyer/prosecutor in what now has become apparent to even those who do not reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a hit job on President Donald J. Trump. . .in the case of Mueller his “witch hunt” investigation will cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars. . .
President Trump, like President Reagan before him, is in for a rough ride and the sixteen and counting Clinton-Obama lawyers now, working under Mueller, are likely on orders to destroy The Donald presidency. You can count on several indictments in what Woody Allen would call a “sham of a sham of a sham” investigation and scandal!
Another lesson of Iran-Contra is that even if wrongdoing is found, it won’t necessarily topple a president.
Yet even if investigators—or reporters—uncover evidence of wrongdoing, the president’s downfall is far from inevitable, and Iran-Contra should serve as a cautionary tale for those hoping Trump is pushed from office. The criminal probe took more than six years, outlasting a congressional investigation and a separate review by a presidential commission. When it was over, investigators had charged 14 U.S. officials with crimes (leading to 11 convictions or guilty pleas) and uncovered reams of evidence showing Reagan had illegally authorized deals to trade arms for hostages and ordered his staff to keep the Contras together, “body and soul,” despite a congressional ban against doing so. . .
And yet most of those top aides escaped without formal sanction, often due to restrictions on classified information or because the statute of limitations had run out by the time prosecutors could uncover the evidence. Several mid-level operatives who were convicted in court had their cases reversed on technicalities. Reagan and his vice president, George H.W. Bush, who knew much more about the affair than he initially admitted, suffered temporary drops in the polls.
The bottom line is that the Mueller investigation is going to take a long time, cost a lot of money, but probably won’t topple Trump, and may even make him more popular—as the interminable Ken Starr investigation eventually helped Bill Clinton leave office as a hero.