Scouring through my print edition of Pravda today, I can't find one single word about Trump/Russia collusion or the Mueller investigation. Whoa! Something must be going on. Shall we check in with other sources as to how it's going in Mueller Land?
As noted yesterday, it really seems to be the Justice IG Report, more than anything else, that has wiped Trump/Russia and Mueller out of the news. Now, why might that be, given that Horowitz used the famous weasel words to describe how he couldn't really prove definitively that FBI partisan animus drove the investigatory decisions in the Hillary investigation. (I.e., we "found no documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific Midyear investigative decisions.") Doesn't that make it full speed ahead now for Mueller?
If you think that, you're not thinking it through. The best piece I've found analyzing this is the one yesterday by George Neumayr at The American Spectator titled "Mueller Has Strzok Out." As Neumayr points out, the whole Trump/Russia thing, now supposedly in Mueller's hands, was cooked up and initially led by none other than Comey and Strzok. One piece of Horowitz's testimony on Monday was saying that he is now investigating Comey himself for mishandling of classified information. Add that to Comey's admitting to (no, make that "bragging about") the crime of lying to the President via one of his leaked memos, and you are dealing with rather seriously damaged goods. But Comey's self-damage is nothing compared to that of Strzok. Neumayr:
Mueller, according to his mandate, is supposed to be completing a counterintelligence investigation launched by Peter Strzok, the most abominably anti-Trump partisan FBI official imaginable. That fact alone discredits it. Imagine a judge telling a jury to decide the fate of the accused based on an investigation started by one of his fiercest enemies. In Mueller’s case, the circumstances are even worse than that: he not only inherited Strzok’s poisoned work but added Strzok to his team and would have kept him on it until the end of the probe had Horowitz not revealed Strzok’s anti-Trump texts. Strzok, as he explained to his mistress, had joined the team in the hopes of inducing the impeachment of Trump. Strzok described the Mueller probe as “unfinished business.”
And that is only the tiny beginning of Mueller's Strzok-induced troubles. Neumayr cites Horowitz as quoting Strzok in an interview justifying himself by saying that, if the FBI had "actually wanted to prevent Trump from being elected, they would not have maintained the confidentiality of the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign in the months before the election." Neumayr then contrasts that total lie to this New York Times article from October 31, 2016, which revealed some six weeks of pre-election leaks from "intelligence" sources as to the Trump-Russia investigation ("Intelligence officials have said in interviews over the last six weeks that apparent connections between some of Mr. Trump’s aides and Moscow originally compelled them to open a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Republican presidential candidate.”) Does anyone doubt that Strzok was one of the leakers?
And then, of course, there's the August 2016 text stating, in reference to a potential Trump presidency, "We'll stop it." We learned from Horowitz's testimony that that text was not in the FBI's production to the IG (even though the immediate previous and subsequent texts were), and only was discovered by Horowitz's team with some extraordinary forensic efforts. Does anyone doubt for a moment that Strzok himself took specific action to conceal this text?
So just how much credibility does the "Trump/Russia" investigation have at this point? You be the judge. I'd say, about zero.
And now, for some more entertainment value, here's something that you may not be following: the upcoming trial in the DC District Court of one of Mueller's targets called Concord Consulting and Management, LLC. That's one of the sixteen or so Russian individuals and entities indicted by Mueller earlier this year for supposedly having some part in the mythical Russian election collusion. Clearly, Mueller and his team intended the sixteen indictments for pure show, and never expected any of the defendants to show up to defend. But one of them, Concord, has. And apparently Concord's presenting of a defense has caught Mueller with his pants down, unprepared to fulfill his discovery obligations or to proceed with trial in accordance with the Speedy Trial Act. On June 12 Mueller moved for what's called a "protective order" to prevent Concord from sharing any discovery in the case with its own personnel, including officers and directors, on the grounds that they are "foreign nationals." That inspired this response from Concord's lawyers at Reed Smith:
Having produced not one iota of discovery in this criminal case, the unlawfully appointed Special Counsel requests a special and unprecedented blanket protective order covering tens of millions of pages of unclassified discovery. Having made this special request based on a secret submission to the Court and a hysterical dithyramb about the future of American elections, one would think that the Special Counsel would cite to case holdings that support this remarkable request. But no, instead, the Special Counsel seeks to equate this make-believe electioneering case to others involving international terrorism and major drug trafficking, and relies only on irrelevant dicta from inapposite, primarily out-of-circuit cases. In short, fake law, which is much more dangerous than fake news. Moreover, if the Special Counsel has any lawful authority at all, which he does not, he certainly has no authority to conduct non-criminal alleged national security investigations related to future elections as he appears to admit he is unlawfully doing.
Is it any wonder that whatever small amount of attention is left for the various Trump investigations seems to have shifted to the Michael Cohen affair? I have no idea what somebody might find over there, but I do have one piece of news for them: Blackmailing (e.g., Avenetti, Daniels) is a crime. Paying blackmail is not.