Faced with a Russian collusion story intended to bring down the Trump administration but that had explosively turned against the Clintons, the Democratic Party, and the FBI, former FBI director and now Special Counsel Mueller moved up indictments against former Trump officials to today.
To insure maximum impact, someone on Mueller’s investigative team — composed largely of Democratic Party donors and former officials — leaked to CNN the expected Monday indictments so that they would receive maximum exposure on the Sunday morning t.v. talk shows.
Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said yesterday on Fox News Sunday that “It is kind of ironic that the people in charge of investigating the law and executing the law would violate the law….Make no mistake, disclosing grand jury material is a violation of the law….[A]s a former prosecutor, I’m disappointed that you and I are having the conversation because somebody violated their oath of secrecy.”
Gowdy said Sunday he was not advocating for the investigation to be shut down. But, he said, that position left him in “an increasingly small group of Republicans,” Politico reports.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate charges of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, instead of providing Mueller with a precisely defined mandate to investigate that charge only, left Mueller’s instructions so vague as to be a license to run a fishing expedition.
And that is precisely what angler Mueller and his investigative team landed as of Monday.
“The indictment is purely focused on alleged financial crimes and does not include any charges related to the broader question that formed the basis of Mueller’s investigation – whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 election in his favor,” the Daily Mail reports. “It describes criminal allegations that predate the Trump campaign; Trump’s name is not mentioned in the 31-page document. ‘Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,’ Trump tweeted after the charges were unsealed. ‘But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????’ ‘Also, there is NO COLLUSION!’ he insisted.”
Ironically, if the Trump-Republican tax reform bill goes through undamaged, some of Manafort’s alleged unreported repatriation of earnings from the Ukraine would no longer have been vulnerable to double taxation by the IRS and thus could have been transferred openly and legally.
As with previous special counsel and special prosecutor investigations, the threat and distraction of the investigations seriously weaken its U.S. security interests — and this often at times when the U.S. and its allies are vulnerable. That is very much the case today.
Russia’s Putin has been skillfully consolidating alliances with most of the Mideast players, so that U.S. influence there is at an all-time low, and U.S. allies Israel and the Kurds have been seriously weakened. Russia is even moving into Venezuela.
In East Asia, the U.S. strategic position is also in jeopardy. Although a quadrilateral trade and defense alliance of the U.S. with Japan, India, and Australia is shaping up, the U.S. may be dependent on Russian assistance to complete its economic pressure against North Korea. Nor does the U.S. seem to be discussing with China the only genuine solution to the North Korean crisis — the unification and neutralization of the peninsula under the South Korean government.