Tuesday, 03 April 2018

Mueller Defends Probe Even as Leaked Texts Show Collusion Narrative Was Manufactured

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As Special Counsel Robert Mueller (shown) defends the indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, he does so against a backdrop of recent revelations that cast a conspiratorial light on his Trump/Russia collusion probe. Text messages between FBI agents leaked last week show that the Obama White House, DOJ, FBI, CIA, and at least one prominent Democrat worked together secretly to bring about and shape the investigation. If that isn’t collusion, the word is void of meaning.

As The New American has reported on multiple previous occasions, the various Trump/Russia collusion investigations began to gain steam because of unfounded accusations made by Hillary Clinton during her failed campaign. In particular, during the second presidential debate on October 9, 2016, Clinton claimed that Donald Trump was “Putin’s puppet.”

Furthermore, after various investigations by the intelligence community and Congress, no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has been found. Even the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate the allegations — with wide-ranging (one might even say open-ended) authority — hasn’t changed the score. The Mueller probe is almost a year old and has nothing to show for all the time and money spent hunting witches.

What the probe has done is peripherally insinuate President Trump’s guilt. This has been accomplished by gaining an indictment against Manafort for things that — if he is guilty — happened years before he was part of the Trump campaign and by pressuring former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn into a plea deal for “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

As Bloomberg reported Tuesday, “Mueller has charged 19 people, including 13 Russians, since his appointment. Five have pleaded guilty, including Rick Gates, a former Trump deputy campaign chairman and longtime associate of Manafort. Gates is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.”

But the only people charged in Mueller’s investigation that got any real media attention were Manafort and Flynn — apparently because they were directly connected to Trump.

The liberal mainstream media touted both of those “victories” of the Mueller probe as “evidence” of collusion, but nothing could be further from the truth. Even if Manafort is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused, they had nothing to do with the campaign. Flynn almost certainly lied to investigators, but the actual communications he had “with the Russians” were not only not illegal, they were reasonable considering the time-bomb outgoing President Obama had set in place by his actions on his way out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Manafort, for his part, has not only denied the charges against him, but has attempted to have them dropped by claiming that Mueller did not have the authority to investigate them in the first place. In response, Mueller — ever the diligent lawyer — responded just before midnight Monday by releasing a heavily redacted memo that he claims granted him the authority to investigate crimes going beyond the purpose of the probe.

The memo — dated August 2, 2017, almost three months into the probe and almost three months before Manafort’s indictment — is signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It serves as an addendum to the May 17, 2017 order appointing Mueller and states that Mueller has the authority to investigate allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and “any matters that arose or may arise directly” as a result of that probe.

Mueller stated that the Rosenstein memo “left no doubt that the conduct that forms the basis for the indictment is within the special counsel’s jurisdiction.” However, that interpretation would mean that there is little that Mueller could not investigate as long as he learned of it during the course of investigating Russian collusion. He seems to have a very broad definition of the word “directly.”

But the problems with the Mueller probe run deeper than whether or not the special counsel has the investigatory equivalent of a blank check. Those problems go all the way back to the roots of the investigation — to when President Trump was candidate Trump.

Much has been reported over the past few months about the back-and-forth text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, DOJ attorney Lisa Page. Those texts have shown that there was a “secret society” within the FBI and DOJ that protected Clinton from the consequences of her e-mail scandal while working against Trump. There was even an “insurance policy” to handle Trump if he were elected. The Russian collusion probe appears to be a major part of that “insurance policy.” Even then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was part of that “secret society” that would implement the “insurance policy.”

Now, a new batch of recently leaked text messages show that Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, Obama’s CIA director, John Brennan, and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were involved in creating the narrative that Donald Trump was “Putin’s puppet” as well as creating the atmosphere of paranoia that led to the launch of the myriad investigations that eventually created the Mueller probe.

Those text messages mention McCabe’s concerns about “information control” as well as leaks of information about the FBI’s investigation to both the Obama White House and Senator Reid. Based on the leaked texts provided to Fox News by investigators, the network reported:

Page texted Strzok on Aug. 2, 2016, saying: “Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia, etc. You probably know better than me.”

A text message from Strzok to Page on Aug. 3 described former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as being concerned with “information control” related to the initial investigation into the Trump campaign. According to a report from the New York Times, Brennan was sent to Capitol Hill around the same time to brief members of Congress on the possibility of election interference.

Days later, on Aug. 8, 2016, Strzok texted Page: “Internal joint cyber cd intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. I’d let Bill and Jim hammer it out first, though it would be best for D to have it before the Wed WH session.”

In the texts, “D” referred to FBI Director James Comey, and “McDonough” referred to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the GOP investigators said.

Following those texts, Brennan briefed Reid on Capitol Hill. Two days later, Reid sent a letter to then-FBI Director Comey asking that the FBI investigate the possibility of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia.

As Fox News reported:

“The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount and has led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, wrote. “The prospect of a hostile government actively seeking to undermine our free and fair elections represents one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War and it is critical for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use every resource available to investigate this matter thoroughly and in a timely fashion.”

Reid cited reports in his letter, noting “methods” Russia was using to influence the Trump campaign and “manipulate it as a vehicle for advancing the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Reid added that “recent staff changes within the Trump campaign have made clear that the Trump campaign has employed a number of individuals with significant and disturbing ties to Russia and the Kremlin,” urging Comey to make the investigation “public.”

Then, on August 30, 2016, Strzok sent a text message to Page, saying, “Here we go.” The text included a link to a New York Times article from the previous day. The headline of that article was “Harry Reid Cites Evidence of Russian Tampering in U.S. Vote and seeks FBI inquiry.” Prefacing that link with “Here we go” seems to indicate that Strzok and Page were waiting for that article to publish — because they had prior knowledge.

Page’s reply to Strzok’s text message seems to remove any doubt that was the case. She wrote, “D [Comey] said at am brief that Reid called him and told him he would be sending a letter.”

Fox News quoted the one of the investigators as saying that a special counsel could be appointed to look into the apparent collusion between the Obama White House, FBI, CIA, and Reid in creating the “Russian collusion” narrative. “At some point, the amount of concerning information becomes enough for a special counsel to look into it,” the source said.

So, while Mueller defends his probe against accusations of overreach, the truth seems to be that his probe never had any real purpose to begin with. It is a witch hunt built on a manufactured narrative as part of an “insurance policy” set into motion by a “secret society” within the highest ranks of the Deep State for the purpose of deligitimizing the Trump presidency.

Photo: AP Images

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