Tuesday, July 25, 2017

IBD Editorial: Mueller's Russia Probe Is Morphing Into A Political Hit Job/Witch Hunt; Either Rein Him In Or Fire Him

I AGREE WITH THE IBD EDITORIAL BELOW. It appears that Mueller's investigation---which is a boon doggle to begin with---has exploded far outside its mandated bounds into a far-reaching witch hunt to destroy President Donald Trump's presidency and overturn the 2016 election results.

This investigation is judicial  unprofessionalism and desperation at its worst and needs to be halted at all costs, even in spite of  Democrats' threats of a coup. We're already experiencing a coup attempt.

 Mueller needs to be reined in or fired soon. Here is a piece from today's Investor's Business Daily:
Firing Mueller: If recent reports are true, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has veered sharply off course to investigate matters that have nothing to do with Russia's tampering with our 2016 election.

He either has to be reeled in to do the job he was hired to do, or fired.

This isn't supposed to happen under American law, where a person can be given the task of an open investigation on someone with the end-goal of finding something, anything, that he or she has ever done that is illegal. That's the kind of thing that was routinely done in places like the Soviet Union, in which laws meant nothing and ideology and politics everything.

America has always been different. We have defined our nation as a nation guided by the rule of law — "a nation of laws and not men," as our Founders liked to say.

When Mueller was first named to look into allegations that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian officials to tilt the election, we thought it was a bad idea driven by the Democrats' rage, not by any real concerns about Russian collusion. After all, when the book on U.S.-Russian/Soviet diplomacy is finally written, it will show collusion was basically a pillar of Democratic foreign policy from the 1970s on — from Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Now, with his investigation linking the Trump campaign to any kind of actual collusion with the Russian government apparently going nowhere, Mueller has decided to broaden the investigation, according to news reports. If so, it's beyond his brief as a Special Counsel and he should be told to stick to what he's supposed to do.

This isn't a political talking point; it's a legal necessity.

As Bloomberg reports, "The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year's election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump's businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe."

If this is true, it marks a significant departure from the agreed-upon limits of the original investigation.

One of the things Mueller's apparently looking at is Russian purchases of Trump apartments, Trump's involvement in a New York development with Russian partners, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and the sale of Trump's Florida mansion to a Russian billionaire all the way back in 2008.
Again, Bloomberg: "Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary. In addition, they are examining the efforts of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior aide, to secure financing for some of his family's real-estate properties."

Bloomberg notes that "The roots of Mueller's follow-the-money investigation lie partly in a wide-ranging money laundering probe launched by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last year," according to a source. (Note: Trump fired Bharara this year after he refused the Justice Department's entirely legal, and politically routine, order to request resignations from 46 Obama-era lawyers in Bharara's office.)

Mueller's limited investigation has now turned into a free-for-all investigation in which he is looking to find a crime, any crime, that he can even remotely attach to Donald Trump's past activities — whether related to the Russia-collusion scandal or not. That will give the Democrats what they wanted all along: An all-purpose reason to pursue impeachment charges against Trump.
We see it as little more than an attempt at a legal coup, an attempt to overturn the results of a lawful election.

Let us remind you what Mueller's job was defined as being at the start of all this, courtesy of the Legal Insurrection blog (emphasis theirs): "The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including: (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)."

In short, Mueller isn't empowered to do this extraordinarily wide-ranging investigation into all things Trump.

Predictably, Democrats are in a feeding frenzy over this, with Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut warning on "Morning Joe" that if Trump fires Mueller, it will set off an "absolute firestorm."

That may be true. But the firestorm could burn both ways, especially after people discover that at least seven of Mueller's hires for his investigative team have contributed a total of $60,787.77 to Democratic candidates for office, including Hillary Clinton.

What started out as a limited investigation into fairly restricted set of allegations has now morphed into a wide-ranging inquisition, with the president as its ultimate target — and both justice and the sanctity of our electoral system the victims.

There are remedies for Mueller's overreach.

"The special counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the attorney general," according to the Code of Federal Regulation. "The attorney general may remove a special counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of departmental policies. The attorney general shall inform the special counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal."

Since Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the case, the job falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to officially admonish Mueller that he is now operating out of bounds.

If Mueller doesn't contain his investigation to its legally defined bounds, Rosenstein has not only the clear authority to fire him, he has the duty to do so.

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