Nobody has a crystal ball, but from what we now know, well more than a year into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation, no evidence of any knowing coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives in the course of the 2016 presidential election has surfaced. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversees what he does, said as much on February 16 in the course of announcing the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for plotting to meddle in the election.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” Mr. Rosenstein said.
Yet, Mr. Mueller did secure indictments of, and guilty pleas from, those who either allegedly broke financial laws or lied to the FBI in the course of their being questioned. The latter is a crime, even if what they were being questioned about was not a crime in itself and there would be no apparent reason to lie. These hapless folks simply got caught up in the investigation because they were thought to possess incriminating information about others and were vulnerable to being pressured by the threat of prosecution to give that information up.
But none of them was charged with “collusion” in order to force their cooperation. It seems that they were simply targeted for scrutiny in the hope that they had something – anything – to hide, which could be used to secure their possible cooperation against people they might know something incriminating about.
And now, there are reports that the Mueller investigation is seeking to explore President Trump’s financial dealings and those of his family prior to the campaign, a stretch from the collusion issue, surely. But it might lead to some information about dealings with Russians which might have some probative value as to possible collusion – so it is all fair game.
This is all very vague stuff and feeds the fear that what this is all about is an attempt to reverse the results of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency. But what is not vague is that on the public record there really does seem to have been arguable corruption on the part of former FBI Director Robert Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, among others. We are still awaiting the results of pending Department of Justice and FBI Inspector General investigations. But Mr. Comey’s official exoneration of Hillary Clinton’s on the criminal misuse of her private server for official business was laughable and we believe there will be an accounting for that episode and related conduct of the then attorney general, Loretta Lynch.
And the same for Mr. McCabe. He was fired last week after the Inspector General reportedly found that he was guilty of “a lack of candor” about his possible improper interaction with the press and his conduct in the course of the Hillary Clinton investigation which he supervised.
Mr. McCabe said:
[I] answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them. At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on round me may well have been confused and distracted – and for that I take full responsibility.
We wonder what he thinks about the plight of those who unfortunately got caught up in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigative net.