By now you’ve received the “news” that the first charges have been filed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s supposed of hacking the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta and, with the Trump campaign’s assistance, putting those emails on Wikileaks.
Oh wait. Those are not going to be the charges?
No, apparently, the charges might — emphasis on might since nobody knows — relate to financial transactions dating back to 2012 and 2013, to $17 million of loans dating back to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s time as a political consultant in Ukraine.
Again, we don’t know. We’re only speculating based on the breathless reporting from CNN, Buzzfeed and others. But if that’s true, one has to ask. What about the 2016 election? What about the emails? Wikileaks? Collusion? No?
The fact that Mueller had to go back into time to find something else vaguely related to Russia — well, Ukraine does share a border with Russia, right? — should tell the establishment in Washington, D.C. what the rest of the political world already knows. That after a year of an FBI investigation and apparent surveillance by the former Obama administration of the Trump campaign and transition, carried through into the administration, there never was anything to the story about the Trump campaign coordinating any hack of the Democrats by Russia.
You can see their alibi shaping up, too. You see, Manafort had an ongoing investigation into his dealings in Ukraine dating back a decade when Trump hired him—which apparently wasn’t going anywhere—and then suddenly in 2016 it heated up again. Based on what new evidence, we wonder, besides the fact that Manafort was hired by Trump and subsequently appeared in the now-discredited Christopher Steele dossier?
What you have instead is a runaway special counsel in Mueller, whose apparent job was never to investigate a crime, but to find a crime — any crime would do — that could be pinned on former Trump campaign officials including Manafort.
That alone violates the spirit of the special counsel statute, who is only supposed to be appointed to do with a crime. Instead, as the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy has repeatedly noted, Mueller’s job was to head up the counterintelligence investigation into Trump world after former FBI Director James Comey was fired.
Who knows what other types of charges Mueller might find? But to the extent that they generally have little to nothing to do with the original allegations outlined in DNC funded reports by both Crowdstrike — outlining the supposed hack — and Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele — outlining the supposed collusion — it is time for the Justice Department, Congress and everyone else inside the Beltway to question what the heck we even have a special counsel for.
Such a case as outlined by Buzzfeed and others shaping up against Manafort, if it has any merit at all, could have been handled by a regular U.S. Attorney. Since it reportedly deals with financial transactions dating back to 2012 and 2013, it does not even fit into the scope of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ original recusal, which took him off looking into anything related to the 2016 campaign.
Which takes us back full circle. If there are no charges forthcoming to do with conduct in the election, hacks in the election, collusion in the election and other nonsense, that should be the end of Mueller’s investigation. This is just a witch hunt to hurt people in Trump’s orbit, and having been exposed as a Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC-funded fraud, is now going back in time to find something, anything to charge somebody.
We’ll know soon what these allegations being brought by Mueller have to do with. But to the extent they have nothing to do with Russia hacking or Trump collusion, the pressure will mount for Mueller to resign. There was never probable cause for the investigation in the first place, just a political hit job by Clinton and company.