I work with legal documents and cases. I work with them enough to know when something doesn’t look right and I hope to use this skill, and my general legal knowledge, to decode the complicated legal language behind the Mueller investigation. I am no legal expert and I am certainly not an expert in Federal law but I want to break down, in plain English, what President Trump and his associates are accused of. It is also important to understand the legal framework of the Special Counsel and where that legal investigation may be going. With all of the rumors about the President being subpoenaed, having an understanding of the law has now become crucial to begin able to understand the news. Also, since I have now read these documents and, I would guess, about 95% of the journalists in Washington haven’t, I would say you are getting a serious benefit just by reading Fash The Nation instead of the New York Times.
Let’s start with the basics. What is the charge of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation? What is he supposed to be investigating? Well, to quote from the actual document that created the Special Counsel, “(b) 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 matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R § 600.4 (a).” In plain English, what that means is that Mueller has essentially unlimited authority to investigate Trump and his administration until the end of time. It is part (ii) that is especially the problem because it is so incredibly vague and gives basically unlimited powers for Mueller to investigate whatever he wants to. Under that provision, Mueller could investigate the Kennedy assassination and be well within the bounds of the law because if investigators saw that Manafort had a book about the Kennedy assassination at his house, then the Kennedy assassination would then be a “matter that arose .. directly from the investigation.” Perhaps I am slightly overstating my case but you could drive a Mack Truck through the vagueness of that provision and Mueller has certainly taken advantage of it.
Now that we have some sense of what the investigation is supposed to be about, I want to delve into what Mueller’s investigative team have actually been doing. The first major indictment of the Special Counsel was the indictment of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and this case serves as a case study as to what the Mueller investigation is all about. Manafort along with a lobbyist colleague, Richard W. Gates III, were indicted by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Manafort himself was charged with five counts of “Subscribing to False United States Individual Income Tax Returns” and four counts of “Failure To File Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.” Manafort and Gates together were charged with five counts of “Bank Fraud conspiracy” and four counts of “Bank Fraud.” In the initial indictment, neither of them were charged with failure to report as agents of a foreign government. Which means that the evidence for that claim was so minuscule that not even a grand jury in eastern Virginia would indictment them on those charges. I am guessing that they held the grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, whose local government is 100% Democrat. Why not hold it at the Headquarters of NPR and have NPR listeners vote on whether or not there is enough evidence to bring charges against Manafort? That would be more or less the same thing as holding it in Alexandria. Manafort and Gates have been charged but the end result of that case is uncertain. The federal judge proceeding over the case has recently made some statements that are an indication to me that he might be about to dismiss the case. If that happens and the case against Manafort and Gates is dismissed then that would signify a major sea change in the entire Mueller drama. Trump would then have the political leverage and legitimacy to fire Mueller.
Finally, I want to look at the leaked questions that Mueller supposedly wants to ask Trump, if he gets to interview him, and the issue of the subpoena, whether or not Mueller can force Trump to give testimony. I will deal with the second issue first. The subpoena question is a difficult one. There is no clear legal opinion as to whether or not the President of the United States can be forced to testify. Obviously, the President has access to his 5th amendment rights but whether or not he can be forced to sit in front of an investigator and be asked to answer questions, that is not clear. Richard Nixon was forced to hand over documents by the Supreme Court, but being forced to hand over documents is not the same thing as being forced to testify. Ultimately, I think that Trump would be forced to testify, because of how the Supreme Court ruled on the Clinton v. Jones case. They ruled that President Clinton was not exempt from having a civil case levied against him. Meaning that a private citizen could sue the President while he was in office, and they ruled that such a civil case would not impede on the President performing his duties. I believe that they will say the same about the Mueller subpoena. The leaked questions are exactly what you would think would come out of the Mueller investigation. Questions about Comey, Michael Flynn, and the entire democratic narrative around Trump and Russia. In other words, entirely unfocused. From reading them, it isn’t clear whether Mueller wants to go after Trump for obstruction, collusion, or both. If a police investigation were this unfocused it would probably get the investigators fired but it is apparently completely out of bounds for Trump to fire Mueller. A man that cannot be fired, even if he is abusing his power, doesn’t sound like law and order to me.
Professor Alan Dershowitz is one of the few voices on the Left who has been very skeptical of the entire Mueller investigation from the start. He recently wrote a book, and the argument of that book is that what is happening with the Mueller investigation is very bad for America, because what is happening with the Mueller investigation is the criminalization of political differences. We are seeing this happen all across the country. You don’t like the Charlottesville march? Sue all of the major people who went to it. You don’t like Andrew Anglin’s Website? Sue him for the actions of his readers. You don’t like Roger Stone? Get ten different liberal groups to sue him for colluding with the Russians. The list goes on and on. This is not what adults do in a free country. I was taught that if you don’t like someone’s political views you should beat them in debate or in the next political campaign but the liberal class that run these organizations are no longer willing to let it stay there. They cannot let those who oppose them to even be allowed to exist. What the Left has been doing is theft by lawsuit and they are attempting their biggest theft yet, the presidency.