How’s The Swamp Draining Going?

Although it seemed like the Mueller investigation had cooled down, apparently there are many moving parts at work behind the scenes. The very visible arrest of Roger Stone was obviously for more than anything Stone had to give the Meuller team. I wonder what and who that message was for?

Let’s face it: Stone received the arrest method normally reserved for terrorists or those who are about to be charged with serious crimes and that pose a danger. 29 FBI cars, and several dozen special agents stormed Stone’s Florida home before 6AM. Normally, the FBI would have called Stone’s lawyer and allowed them to show up at the federal courthouse later in the morning. No, that “attack” on Stone was crafted by Mueller’s attack dog Andrew Weismann. Weismann authored a very similar arrest process for Paul Manafort.  Remember that a large group of FBI agents who were dressed in riot gear carrying automatic weapons literally stormed Manafort’s house while he and his wife were asleep. There was a message attached to both arrests.

”There’s something in the Air” is a hit song from the 70’s sung by Thunderclap Newman. We can say that fits today’s D.C. “Investigatory Climate” for sure. Robert Mueller is either in the process of preparing a blockbuster or two regarding the investigation of the Trump Campaign, or he’s winding down and in preparation to complete his final report to give to the Justice Department. There are very learned people who weigh-in on both sides of that conversation. I have at times leaned heavily in either direction. But today, I feel stronger than ever, Mueller has an axe to grind, and to that end, is hellbent on the destruction of this presidency and in doing so, destroying Donald Trump. His venture to drain the Swamp called Washington D.C. is at least putting some of the evil sectors that continually bleed our government on notice.

Mueller Probe Side Benefits

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, supposedly into collusion between President Trump’s election campaign and Russia, is casting light into dark corners of the Washington swamp where powerful political figures become highly paid agents of foreign governments. 

The prominent Americans Mueller has indicted are all foreign agents. That is, they work as lobbyists or consultants for foreign governments, who paid them handsomely. This includes retired Gen. Michael Flynn, GOP operative Paul Manafort, and his consulting partner Rick Gates. None of these men were indicted or convicted for activities on the Trump campaign. The charge sheet against Manafort was generally for crimes allegedly committed in his lucrative work in the transnational, revolving-door lobbying industry centered on the federal capital. 

George Papadopoulos, another Trump-world conviction by Mueller, was reportedly suspected of being an unregistered agent for Israel. 

We learned recently that Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred a handful of American lobbyists and consultants to federal prosecutors in New York for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. These reportedly include President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Greg Craig, who became an agent for Ukrainian politicians who supported Russia’s tyrant, President Vladimir Putin. Tony Podesta, a former Democratic congressional staffer and hugely successful lobbyist and fundraiser is also said to be among those sent by Mueller to New York prosecutors. He seems to have failed to register his work ties to Putin. 

Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and a senior adviser to GOP candidates, was another alpha lobbyist reportedly referred to federal prosecutors for investigation. 

It’s cheering that federal prosecutors are getting serious about FARA. Lobbyist registration, foreign and domestic, has long been required by law, but not enforced. Lobbyists who abide by the law gripe privately about this, and about nonenforcement of the Lobbyist Disclosure Act and the fact that many avoided Obama’s scorn by simply deregistering while continuing to lobby. The Obama administration put its stamp of approval on this deception by accepting donations from such lobbyists. 

Podesta and Craig haven’t been accused of breaking the law, Flynn and Papadopoulos were convicted on non-FARA crimes, and Manafort has been convicted of breach of FARA and primarily tax violations. But verdicts and indictments aren’t needed to say these men all played in a corrupt game. 

Flynn monetized his military service by putting his name and his rank to work for foreign governments including Turkey and Ukraine. American policymakers, journalists, and the public all trusted him because the U.S. Army made him a ranger and then a lieutenant general. He sold that hard-earned authority to people whose purposes were, in our opinion, incompatible with this country’s interests. 

Craig served in the inner circles of the Obama White House. Podesta was the Democrats’ most important campaign finance bundler. Manafort pretended to work for Trump when in truth he was serving the foreign governments who were the clients. Trump was the product he was selling. 

Weber was a public servant who cashed out to K Street and also served as a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney while he was working for Ukrainian interests.

Some or all of the above was legal. That’s an important part of the problem. It’s pretty common in Washington. There’s little or no stigma to becoming a lobbyist for a foreign government. There should be. 

No American politician ought to take the trust Americans place in him and parlay it into an enriching gig advancing the interests of another country. Every revolving-door lawmaker-turned-lobbyist should get the message that if he comes knocking on behalf of some foreign potentate, he’ll get the curb. 

Regardless of what federal prosecutors do, Congress should begin investigating foreign agents and pass stricter laws to provide at least better transparency on this shady business. Current FARA reporting is opaque. The Republican Congress should have taken up reforms before the midterm elections. It would have been a fitting way to wrap up the first two years of a president who promised to drain the swamp. 

It would also have given a real purpose to Mueller’s investigation if Republicans responded by draining a swamp that is far deeper than Trump perhaps suspected and spans oceans.

Summary

I as well as many others would love it if Mueller’s intentions and his findings so far were more public. Their NOT being public is by design. Of course those on the Mueller side who protect this special counsel and the federal statute that allows such maintain secrecy is mandatory while these investigations are underway. I am certain that was the original intent when that statute was drafted. But if that really was the operating method used by Mueller, why have so many pieces of the investigation been “leaked” to the press and others at conspicuous times and for seemingly specific reasons? Mueller is using the system.

I’m not certain if Mueller is grandstanding as this investigation is likely his last — at least formally. If not that, maybe it is his intention through this investigation to regain some of the public perception of his being a stellar senior law enforcement figure that he has lost over the past decade or so as details of some of his botched investigations have come to light. In either case, Americans have had about enough. It’s time for a conclusion.

Yes, it is wonderful that some suspected of wrongdoing have been confronted and are paying the prices for that wrongdoing. But it is beyond unfortunate that dozens of Americans who may have done something wrong but nothing that rises to the high levels of serious and damaging evils have seen their entire lives’ accomplishment banished by just allegations and innuendo during this probe. It has exposed that Special Counsel law as egregious, political, and grossly unethical in my view. ROBERT MUELLER IS ARGUABLY THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT TODAY, AND HE ANSWERS AND IS ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE!

That’s NOT what our founding fathers expected would be part of the Justice Department. And I’m certain the Congress that drafted and put that statute in place did not envision a scenario where even THEY had no authority to rein-in a Counsel who had become an attack dog and was needlessly destroying people’s lives.

That’s what Special Counsel Mueller is all about. And far too many Americans are paying a senseless price for a senseless investigation that could have been accomplished by the Justice Department with its own investigators.

But wait a minute: that would require an ETHICAL DOJ with non-partisan investigators. Let’s call roll at the DOJ to find one of those investigators:

“Bueller….Bueller….Ferris Bueller?……….”

There aren’t ANY!


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