Mueller Investigation Superthread

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More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-13 03:14pm

Mueller is reportedly investigating Brexit engineer Nigel Farage:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... are_btn_tw
Robert Mueller is seeking more information about Nigel Farage for his investigation into Russian interference in US politics, according to a target of the inquiry who expects to be criminally charged.


Rightwing author Jerome Corsi: I expect Mueller to indict me
Read more
Jerome Corsi, a conservative author, said prosecutors working for Mueller questioned him about Farage, the key campaigner behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, two weeks ago in Washington.

Corsi said investigators for the special counsel also pressed him for information on Ted Malloch, a London-based American academic with ties to Farage, who informally advised Donald Trump and was interviewed by FBI agents earlier this year.

“They asked about both Nigel and Ted Malloch, I can affirm that they did,” Corsi told the Guardian on Tuesday. “But I’m really not going into detail because I respect the special counsel and the legal process.”

Mueller’s interest in Farage comes amid questions in the UK about whether Russia attempted to influence the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and Brexit’s most vocal political supporters.

A spokesman for Farage said of Corsi’s allegations: “This is ill-informed, intentionally malicious gossip and wholly untrue.”

Andy Wigmore, a spokesman for the pro-Brexit Leave campaign, said Farage had not been contacted by Mueller’s team.

Malloch’s publisher, Nick Magliato, said Malloch’s lawyer instructed the academic, who is in London, not to comment.

They asked about Nigel and Ted Malloch, I can affirm that they did. But I’m really not going into detail
Jerome Corsi
Corsi and several other conservative operatives in the US have been under investigation by Mueller for months in relation to the theft of Democratic party emails in 2016 by Russian hackers, which disrupted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Farage has consistently denied any involvement with Russia and has mocked reports that he was facing legal scrutiny. Farage forged close ties with the Trump campaign and White House through his close friendship and association with Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart editor and White House strategist. The Guardian first reported in June last year that Farage was a “person of interest” in the Russia investigation.

Asked if the questions on Farage related to Trump’s 2016 election campaign or that year’s referendum on the UK leaving the EU, Corsi said on Tuesday: “Predominantly US politics, but of course Brexit was in the background.”

The questioning of Corsi was not the first time that US prosecutors showed an interest in people closely associated with the Brexit campaign. Last March, Malloch said he had been stopped by Mueller’s investigators when he arrived in the US from the UK. News of the FBI’s action was first announced by Corsi.

In a statement at the time, Malloch told the Guardian he had been issued a subpoena and interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport. He was questioned, he said, about his involvement in the Trump campaign and his relationship with the Republican strategist Roger Stone, and asked if he had ever visited Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks chief, at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The New York Times and Washington Post have reported that Mueller has taken an interest in the biggest funder of the pro-Brexit campaign, Arron Banks. The New York Times has reported that Mueller has obtained records of Banks’s communications with Russian diplomats.


Nigel Farage is 'person of interest' in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia
Read more
Corsi said on Tuesday Banks’s name did not come up during his questioning.

Corsi, 72, is a former writer for the conspiracy website Infowars and was a leading proponent of the discredited theory that former president Barack Obama was not born in the US. He is a longtime associate of Stone, the Trump friend and “dirty trickster” who has advised Republican politicians since Richard Nixon.

On Monday, Corsi announced that he expected to be charged soon with lying to Mueller’s investigators, even though he believed he had been honest and candid during 40 hours of questions across six sessions. He said his brain had been turned to “mush” by the questioning and he may have inadvertently misspoken.

He said on Tuesday that after the last questioning session two weeks ago, one of Mueller’s officials told Corsi’s lawyer: “Prepare for plea discussions.” Such a remark would indicate that prosecutors believed they have grounds to charge Corsi with a crime. A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

Corsi said Mueller’s questioning focused on the theft of emails from Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which were published by WikiLeaks. US intelligence agencies concluded the emails were stolen in a Russian intelligence operation.

He said: “The issue they went to over and over and over again was: who was my source with Assange?”

He conceded on Tuesday that he had sent emails to associates boasting of inside information from WikiLeaks about the plan to publish the emails, but insisted that he was merely trying to boost his reputation and in fact only knew information that was already public. He said he had never met nor spoken to Assange.

Corsi declined to say which associates he emailed about the email hacking. He said Mueller’s investigators had reviewed his Apple computer and his electronic devices, and during questioning had wielded a binder packed with records of his telephone calls and electronic communications. But, he said, they declined to share the records with him.
Meanwhile, Whitaker is discussing recusal with ethics officials, though it's doubtful he will actually do it.

https://www.political.com/story/2018/11 ... ion-985257
Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is consulting with ethics officials regarding possible recusal from overseeing the special counsel’s Russia investigation, the Justice Department said on Monday.

“Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal,” Kerri Kupec, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement on Monday night.


Whitaker has been overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation since last Wednesday, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation triggered a set of events that left Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, in charge of the inquiry instead of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Democrats have sharply criticized Whitaker over his numerous past statements questioning Mueller’s investigation, including suggestions that a possible Sessions replacement could slash the special counsel’s budget so low that any further efforts would cease. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway stressed on “Fox News Sunday” that Whitaker had made the comments as “a private citizen” before joining the administration and when the investigation was just beginning.

Rep. Adam Schiff leaves to vote after speaking to reporters.
CONGRESS
Democrats vow to tighten the screws on Whitaker
By BRENT D. GRIFFITHS
Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney and frequent Republican candidate for political office in Iowa, also has a relationship with a former Trump campaign official, Sam Clovis. Whitaker served as chairman of Clovis’ unsuccessful campaign for Iowa state treasurer.

Clovis, who served as co-chairman and policy adviser on the Trump campaign, is reportedly a key figure in answering questions about whether members of the Trump team conspired with Russian officials during the campaign. President Donald Trump nominated Clovis to a top post in the Agriculture Department, but Clovis withdrew amid staunch criticism about his views and his connections to the Mueller investigation.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is expected to lead the powerful House Judiciary Committee when Democrats take charge of the chamber in January, said on Monday in response to Whitaker’s statement that he doubted that the acting attorney general would surrender supervisory duties over Mueller.

“He’s obviously not going to recuse himself. He should recuse himself because he’s prejudged the issue,” Nadler said in an interview on CNN, adding that the Judiciary Committee’s first order of business in the new year would be to call Whitaker to testify before the panel.
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Re: More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-13 04:38pm

Not trying to moderate you, but wouldn't this have perhaps fit better in the Internal Policy thread? Or you could just start a Mueller Investigation super-thread.
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Re: More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-14 12:53am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-11-13 04:38pm
Not trying to moderate you, but wouldn't this have perhaps fit better in the Internal Policy thread? Or you could just start a Mueller Investigation super-thread.
A Mueller super-thread probably wouldn't be a bad idea, actually, but it's not something I can enforce, obviously.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-14 01:26am

Jeff Flake has introduced legislation to protect Mueller, and demanded that it be discussed and voted on openly on the floor of the Senate:

https://news.vice.com/en_us/articleyw7d ... ct-mueller
Democrats are already preparing a host of investigations into the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions once they retake the House in January, but the country's best hope to protect special counsel Robert Mueller still lies in the hands of a Republican.

Sessions resigned Wednesday at the request of President Trump, who immediately appointed Sessions' deputy, Matthew Whitaker, as acting attorney general — an unconventional route even if Whitaker weren't an open critic of the Russia probe who once appeared on television to outline a way to derail Mueller’s investigation.

But amid the announcement — and rumors that Mueller was getting ready to indict the president’s son — Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced he will push a bill to protect Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Separately, top Democrats have already sent several letters to the Trump administration to implore officials to preserve “all materials related to any investigations by the Special Counsel’s office,” as well to Sessions’ departure, in preparation for their retaking of the House on Jan. 3.

Flake's bill is technically a bipartisan effort — the legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat — but so far, Flakes' GOP colleagues have stayed largely mum on the issue.

Experts say Flake’s bill is legislators’ best, and maybe only, hope to preserve the integrity of the Mueller investigation — even though the nation has faced this exact issue before, said Erwin Chemerinsky a constitutional legal scholar and professor at Berkeley Law. In fact, the Ethics in Government Act, a bill enacted in the wake of the Watergate scandal that addresses this very issue, only came about after President Richard Nixon cycled through three attorney generals before he found one who would fire the special counsel investigating him.

“Congress by statute can create protection for the independent counsel,” said Chemerinsky. “There used to be such a law. That law expired and wasn’t renewed.”

Chemerinsky said the only way he can think of for Congress to protect Mueller now would be by introducing similar legislation.

And lawmakers are indeed working on it. Flake’s bill — the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act — has already been voted out of committee, and Flake is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring a vote to the Senate floor.

But how good of a chance does Flake’s bill have of making it through Congress and to the president’s desk? VICE News has contacted the press teams for every sitting Republican senator to ask if they will support the bill.

Here’s what they said.

THESE SENATORS SUPPORT FLAKE’S LEGISLATION
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Though he hasn’t directly expressed support for Flake’s bill, Alexander released a statement saying that Mueller must be allowed to complete his investigation. He did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment.

Susan Collins, Maine

Collins released a statement saying she supports Flake’s legislation. “For these reasons, I believe that we should bring to the Senate floor legislation that would put restrictions on the ability of President Donald Trump to fire the Special Counsel. This bill would codify the restriction that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause and in writing,” Collins said.

Thom Tillis, North Carolina

Tillis said he doesn't think Trump will go after Mueller but wants to pass the legislation anyway. "I don't think it's necessary to protect Mueller, but I do think it's a bill that ultimately needs to get passed, because it will apply to all future presidents," Tillis said on Fox News.

THESE SENATORS OPPOSE FLAKE’S LEGISLATION
Bob Corker, Tennessee

Corker has not publicly commented, but voted against advancing the bill out of committee.

Mike Crapo, Idaho

Crapo has not publicly commented, but he voted against advancing the bill out of committee.

Ted Cruz, Texas

Ted Cruz, who voted against advancing Flake’s bill out of committee, reiterated in a CBS interview that he thought the legislation was unconstitutional. "We had a bill come through the Judiciary Committee that tried to make it impossible for a special counsel to be removed. I believe that legislation was unconstitutional," he said.

Joni Ernst, Iowa

Though she did not respond to VICE News’ numerous requests for comment, Ernst released a statement after Sessions’ firing to herald Matt Whitaker, indicating that she is not concerned about the integrity of Mueller’s probe.

“Fellow Iowan Matt Whitaker is a man of integrity and values,” Ernst said. “As Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker is a steady hand that will provide good leadership and judgment, and will ensure that the United States Department of Justice upholds the highest standards of the rule of law.”

Cory Gardner, Colorado

Gardner said on NBC that Mueller must be protected, but he hesitated to endorse Flake’s legislation. When pressed by host Chuck Todd on whether he would support Flake’s bill, Gardner said: “Well, I think it’s going to continue. If it continues … why protect something that’s actually continuing?”

Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

In 2017, Graham famously said there'd be “holy hell” to pay if Trump fired Sessions, and voted to advance the bill out of committee last April. But “Things have changed,” Graham said Thursday night on Fox News. “It’s clear to me it’s not working, was not working, between Attorney General Sessions and President Trump,” Graham said. “So for months now, I’ve been saying that after the election, if the president wants to change attorney generals, he has every right to do so.”

Orrin Hatch, Utah

Hatch has not publicly commented, but he voted against advancing the bill out of committee.

Mike Lee, Utah

A spokesman for Sen. Lee told VICE News that he opposes the bill because it “unconstitutionally limited the president’s control over the executive branch.” He said he still supports Mueller being allowed to finish the investigation.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky

McConnell, who would be responsible for putting the bill on the Senate agenda for a vote, has said that it “isn’t necessary.”

“The president’s said repeatedly he’s not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation,” McConnell said, ignoring the fact that the president has repeatedly claimed to have the power to fire Mueller if he wants to. “He’s said repeatedly it’s going to be allowed to finish. That also happens to be my view.”

THESE SENATORS HAVEN’T ENDORSED FLAKE’S LEGISLATION, BUT THEY HAVE THOUGHTS
Chuck Grassley, Iowa

A spokesman for Grassley pointed to an old statement the senator gave about the legislation, saying Grassley wants an amendment to Flake’s bill because he is concerned it overreaches. He did vote to advance the bill out of committee.

“It’s possible the bill goes too far, and I understand the position of those with strong constitutional objections who will vote against it. But, at the very least, if my amendment is adopted, it will require the executive branch to give more information to Congress,” Grassley said. “And that will enable Congress to do its job more effectively, and to safeguard the interests of the American people.

John Kennedy, Louisiana

Sen. Kennedy said on CNN that he did not believe the president would go after Mueller.

"I think it would provoke some sort of reaction by Congress, I think he knows that,” Kennedy said. Kennedy has previously been critical of the Mueller probe, and he voted against advancing the bill out of committee.

Jerry Moran, Kansas

In a statement, Moran indicated he wants to see the investigation carry on but declined to commit to the legislation. “I expect that during this transition period, the Department will make certain federal law enforcement agencies continue to protect our country, carry out the rule of law and allow the Special Counsel investigation to continue unimpeded,” he said.

Ben Sasse, Nebraska

Sasse voted against advancing Flake’s bill out of committee, but he has expressed a desire to protect Mueller’s probe and called it a “prerequisite” of any Senate confirmation for a Trump attorney general nominee.

THESE SENATORS DID NOT RESPOND TO A REQUEST FOR COMMENT AND HAVE NOT SPOKEN OUT PUBLICLY
John Barrasso, Wyoming

Roy Blunt, Missouri

John Boozman, Arkansas

Richard Burr, North Carolina

Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia

Bill Cassidy, Louisiana

John Cornyn, Texas

Tom Cotton, Arkansas

Steve Daines, Montana

Mike Enzi, Wyoming

Deb Fischer, Nebraska

Dean Heller, Nevada

John Hoeven, North Dakota

Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi

Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma

Johnny Isakson, Georgia

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

Jon Kyl, Arizona

James Lankford, Oklahoma

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska

Rand Paul, Kentucky

David Perdue, Georgia

Rob Portman, Ohio

James Risch, Idaho

Pat Roberts, Kansas

Mike Rounds, South Dakota

Marco Rubio, Florida

Tim Scott, South Carolina

Richard Shelby, Alabama

Dan Sullivan, Alaska

John Thune, South Dakota

Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania

Roger Wicker, Mississippi

Todd Young, Indiana
Though it should be noted that other sources are saying that Graham has now flipped back to supporting protecting Mueller. Maybe he's bitter that he didn't get the Attorney Generalship? :D

As to Flake's bill... good, but where was this drive on his part to do the right thing when Kavacock's nomination was before the Senate?
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-15 01:59am

Follow-up on Flake's legislation- after McConnel blocked a vote of Flake's Mueller protection bill (showing once again that McConnel is fully a puppet of Trumpism up to and including violating the Constitution to undermine the Senate's own authority, and condoning obstruction of justice), Flake has threatened not to vote for any of the Republican judicial appointments for the remainder of the term:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/14/politics ... index.html

Sigh... where was this Jeff Flake two months ago?
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Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-11-16 09:20am

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Re: More Mueller news: Whitaker, Treason, and Farage.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-16 12:40pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-15 01:59am
Follow-up on Flake's legislation- after McConnel blocked a vote of Flake's Mueller protection bill (showing once again that McConnel is fully a puppet of Trumpism up to and including violating the Constitution to undermine the Senate's own authority, and condoning obstruction of justice), Flake has threatened not to vote for any of the Republican judicial appointments for the remainder of the term:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/14/politics ... index.html

Sigh... where was this Jeff Flake two months ago?
Frankly, I don't particularly give a shit about Flake. He folded on Kavanaugh, he rubber-stamped Trump's nominees until now, and he's leaving office next year. He KNOWS he's not particularly at risk here. All McConnell has to do is just wait a couple of months and then Flake will be out of his way and he'll still have his Republican majority to do what he wants.

So, this is a nice gesture, but it's not really going to help anything. At best, it holds off on a few annoyances until the new Democrats take office.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-16 10:27pm

Difference is that by then, the Dems will hold the House, and they can take steps without the Senate to protect the Mueller investigation, such as subpoenaing his findings if Trump tries to squash them, or reopening their own investigation.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-11-17 11:31am

Anybody with any legal knowledge care to shed some light on precisely what it means, from a legal perspective, for a vote on a bill to be "blocked", as McConnell did to Flake's Mueller protection bill? I am having a hard time figuring out exactly what this means.

So far as I can tell, saying the bill is "blocked" is a euphemism for what is technically known as a "Senatorial hold". The language surrounding this in the Standing Rules of the Senate seems rather nebulous. The relevant section reads "no motion to proceed to the consideration of any bill, resolution, report of a committee, or other subject upon the Calendar shall be entertained by the Presiding Officer [Mike Pence], unless by unanimous consent". So, under the unanimous consent proviso, any one Senator can decline to give consent to vote on a bill to block it from being brought to the floor for a vote. A hold like this can be overturned through a cloture vote; which I believe requires 3/5 of present and voting senators to agree to overturn the hold and present the bill anyway (though it might be 2/3 ... I don't know whether this would be treated the same way as a filibuster or not).

It only requires 16 senators to sign the petition in invoke the cloture, so I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen. Whether or not it passes is less clear, as it would require at least 11 Republican defections in addition to unanimous Democratic consent. But I'd like to hear from someone who has a better grasp of all the procedures and legal issues involved, I may be misinterpreting.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by houser2112 » 2018-11-20 09:11am

From what I know, a cloture vote is a vote to end debate for a bill that's on the floor, and bring it to a vote. What Turtle is doing is preventing it from coming to the floor in the first place, because the Senate Majority Leader is the one who determines what bills see the floor.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-11-20 06:08pm

Did you even read my post? Not trying to be a dick, but the first sentence of my post is literally saying that I am trying to determine exactly what it means for the Majority Leader to prevent a bill coming to the floor (and under what legal authority that extends from), and you respond to that by saying, "Oh, he's just preventing it from coming to the floor." Duh, that's the entire reason I went through all of the effort of finding the legal rules the Senate follows and specifically quoted from them.

In any case, the Senate Majority Leader doesn't determine what bills see the floor (at least in terms of legal, official authority to do so ... they only impact the process insofar as their public statements are politically influential), that isn't the purpose or purview of the position. The only official role of the Majority Leader is to act as a spokesperson for the party they represent; this incidentally gives them some influence over legislative timetables and debate, but in fact they have no specific legal ability to prevent a bill from being voted on. However, it is within the legal rights of ANY Senator to refuse to consent to a bill being brought forward for debate, as I outlined in my previous post. What McConnell was doing was acting as a spokesperson for the Republican Party, and acting within his rights as a Senator; it isn't a specific right granted to Majority Leaders to do this.

And yes, that's what a cloture vote does; it FORCES a vote. That's why it is also used to end filibusters. In this case, a cloture vote is used to overrule the Senator who refuses to grant consent, and FORCES the vote anyway. This isn't me not understanding what a cloture vote is, this is me literally reading directly from the Senate's documented procedures.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-21 04:12am

Not directly investigation-related, but some interesting background on Robert Mueller:

https://www.wired.com/story/robert-mueller-vietnam/
ONE DAY IN the summer of 1969, a young Marine lieutenant named Bob Mueller arrived in Hawaii for a rendezvous with his wife, Ann. She was flying in from the East Coast with the couple’s infant daughter, Cynthia, a child Mueller had never met. Mueller had taken a plane from Vietnam.
AFTER NINE MONTHS at war, he was finally due for a few short days of R&R outside the battle zone. Mueller had seen intense combat since he last said goodbye to his wife. He’d received the Bronze Star with a distinction for valor for his actions in one battle, and he’d been airlifted out of the jungle during another firefight after being shot in the thigh. He and Ann had spoken only twice since he’d left for South Vietnam.

Despite all that, Mueller confessed to her in Hawaii that he was thinking of extending his deployment for another six months, and maybe even making a career in the Marines.

Ann was understandably ill at ease about the prospect. But as it turned out, she wouldn’t be a Marine wife for much longer. It was standard practice for Marines to be rotated out of combat, and later that year Mueller found himself assigned to a desk job at Marine headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. There he discovered something about himself: “I didn’t relish the US Marine Corps absent combat.”

So he headed to law school with the goal of serving his country as a prosecutor. He went on to hold high positions in five presidential administrations. He led the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, overseeing the US investigation of the Lockerbie bombing and the federal prosecution of the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti. He became director of the FBI one week before September 11, 2001, and stayed on to become the bureau’s longest-serving director since J. Edgar Hoover.

And yet, throughout his five-decade career, that year of combat experience with the Marines has loomed large in Mueller’s mind. “I’m most proud the Marines Corps deemed me worthy of leading other Marines,” he told me in a 2009 interview.


June 2018. Subscribe to WIRED. ILLUSTRATION BY JULES JULIEN; SOURCE PHOTO: GERALD HERBERT/AP
Today, the face-off between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump stands out, amid the black comedy of Trump’s Washington, as an epic tale of diverging American elites: a story of two men—born just two years apart, raised in similar wealthy backgrounds in Northeastern cities, both deeply influenced by their fathers, both star prep school athletes, both Ivy League educated—who now find themselves playing very different roles in a riveting national drama about political corruption and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The two men have lived their lives in pursuit of almost diametrically opposed goals—Mueller a life of patrician public service, Trump a life of private profit.

Those divergent paths began with Vietnam, the conflict that tore the country apart just as both men graduated from college in the 1960s. Despite having been educated at an elite private military academy, Donald Trump famously drew five draft deferments, including one for bone spurs in his feet. He would later joke, repeatedly, that his success at avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating numerous women in the 1980s was “my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

Mueller, for his part, not only volunteered for the Marines, he spent a year waiting for an injured knee to heal so he could serve. And he has said ­little about his time in Vietnam over the years. When he was leading the FBI through the catastrophe of 9/11 and its aftermath, he would brush off the crushing stress, saying, “I’m getting a lot more sleep now than I ever did in Vietnam.” One of the only other times his staff at the FBI ever heard him mention his Marine service was on a flight home from an official international trip. They were watching We Were Soldiers, a 2002 film starring Mel Gibson about some of the early battles in Vietnam. Mueller glanced at the screen and observed, “Pretty accurate.”

His reticence is not unusual for the generation that served on the front lines of a war that the country never really embraced. Many of the veterans I spoke with for this story said they’d avoided talking about Vietnam until recently. Joel Burgos, who served as a corporal with Mueller, told me at the end of our hour-long conversation, “I’ve never told anyone most of this.”

Yet for almost all of them—Mueller included—Vietnam marked the primary formative experience of their lives. Nearly 50 years later, many Marine veterans who served in Mueller’s unit have email addresses that reference their time in Southeast Asia: gunnysgt, 2-4marine, semperfi, ­PltCorpsman, Grunt. One Marine’s email handle even references Mutter’s Ridge, the area where Mueller first faced large-scale combat in December 1968.

The Marines and Vietnam instilled in Mueller a sense of discipline and a relentlessness that have driven him ever since. He once told me that one of the things the Marines taught him was to make his bed every day. I’d written a book about his time at the FBI and was by then familiar with his severe, straitlaced demeanor, so I laughed at the time and said, “That’s the least surprising thing I’ve ever learned about you.” But Mueller persisted: It was an important small daily gesture exemplifying follow-through and execution. “Once you think about it—do it,” he told me. “I’ve always made my bed and I’ve always shaved, even in Vietnam in the jungle. You’ve put money in the bank in terms of discipline.”

Mueller’s former Princeton classmate and FBI chief of staff W. Lee Rawls recalled how Mueller’s Marine leadership style carried through to the FBI, where he had little patience for subordinates who questioned his decisions. He expected his orders to be executed in the Hoover building just as they had been on the battlefield. In meetings with subordinates, Mueller had a habit of quoting Gene Hackman’s gruff Navy submarine captain in the 1995 Cold War thriller Crimson Tide: “We’re here to preserve democracy, not to practice it.”

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Discipline has certainly been a defining feature of Mueller’s Russia investigation. In a political era of extreme TMI—marked by rampant White House leaks, Twitter tirades, and an administration that disgorges jilted cabinet-­level officials as quickly as it can appoint new ones—the special counsel’s office has been a locked door. Mueller has remained an impassive cypher: the stoic, silent figure at the center of America’s political gyre. Not once has he spoken publicly about the Russia investigation since he took the job in May 2017, and his carefully chosen team of prosecutors and FBI agents has proved leakproof, even under the most intense of media spotlights. Mueller’s spokesperson, Peter Carr, on loan from the Justice Department, has essentially had one thing to tell a media horde ravenous for information about the Russia investigation: “No comment.”

If Mueller’s discipline is reflected in the silence of his team, his relentlessness has been abundantly evident in the pace of indictments, arrests, and legal maneuvers coming out of his office.

His investigation is proceeding on multiple fronts. He is digging into Russian information operations carried out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. In February his office indicted 13 people and three entities connected to the Internet Research Agency, the Russian organization that allegedly masterminded the information campaigns. He’s also pursuing those responsible for cyber intrusions, including the hacking of the email system at the Democratic National Committee.

At the same time, Mueller’s investigators are probing the business dealings of Trump and his associates, an effort that has yielded indictments for tax fraud and conspiracy against Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea on financial fraud and lying to investigators by Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates. The team is also looking into the numerous contacts between Trump’s people and Kremlin-connected figures. And Mueller is questioning witnesses in an effort to establish whether Trump has obstructed justice by trying to quash the investigation itself.


Almost every week brings a surprise development in the investigation. But until the next indictment or arrest, it’s difficult to say what Mueller knows, or what he thinks.

Before he became special counsel, Mueller freely and repeatedly told me that his habits of mind and character were most shaped by his time in Vietnam, a period that is also the least explored chapter of his biography.

This first in-depth account of his year at war is based on multiple interviews with Mueller about his time in combat—conducted before he became special counsel—as well as hundreds of pages of once-classified Marine combat records, official accounts of Marine engagements, and the first-ever interviews with eight Marines who served alongside Mueller in 1968 and 1969. They provide the best new window we have into the mind of the man leading the Russia investigation.


Mueller volunteered for the Marines in 1966, right after graduating from Prince­ton. By late 1968 he was a lieutenant leading a combat platoon in Vietnam. DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES
ROBERT SWAN MUELLER III, the first of five children and the only son, grew up in a stately stone house in a wealthy Philadelphia suburb. His father was a DuPont executive who had captained a Navy submarine-chaser in World War II; he expected his children to abide by a strict moral code. “A lie was the worst sin,” Mueller says. “The one thing you didn’t do was to give anything less than the truth to my mother and father.”

He attended St. Paul’s prep school in Concord, New Hampshire, where the all-boys classes emphasized Episcopal ideals of virtue and manliness. He was a star on the lacrosse squad and played hockey with future US senator John Kerry on the school team. For college he chose his father’s alma mater, Princeton, and entered the class of 1966.

The expanding war in Vietnam was a frequent topic of conversation among the elite students, who spoke of the war—echoing earlier generations—in terms of duty and service. “Princeton from ’62 to ’66 was a completely different world than ’67 onwards,” said Rawls, a lifelong friend of Mueller’s. “The anti-Vietnam movement was not on us yet. A year or two later, the campus was transformed.”

On the lacrosse field, Mueller met David Hackett, a classmate and athlete who would profoundly affect Mueller’s life. Hackett had already enlisted in the Marines’ version of ROTC, spending his Princeton summers training for the escalating war. “I had one of the finest role models I could have asked for in an upperclassman by the name of David Hackett,” Mueller recalled in a 2013 speech as FBI director. “David was on our 1965 lacrosse team. He was not necessarily the best on the team, but he was a determined and a natural leader.”


After he graduated in 1965, Hackett began training to be a Marine, earning top honors in his officer candidate class. After that he shipped out to Vietnam. In Mueller’s eyes, Hackett was a shining example. Mueller decided that when he graduated the following year, he too would enlist in the Marines.

On April 30, 1967, shortly after Hackett had signed up for his second tour in Vietnam, his unit was ambushed by more than 75 camouflaged North Vietnamese troops who were firing down from bunkers with weapons that included a .50-­caliber machine gun. According to a Marine history, “dozens of Marines were killed or wounded within minutes.”

Hackett located the source of the incoming fire and charged 30 yards across open ground to an American machine gun team to tell them where to shoot. Minutes later, as he was moving to help direct a neighboring platoon whose commander had been wounded, he was killed by a sniper. Posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Hackett’s commendation explained that he died “while pressing the assault and encouraging his Marines.”

By the time word of Hackett’s death filtered back to the US, Mueller was already making good on his pledge to follow him into military service. The news only strengthened his resolve to become an infantry officer. “One would have thought that the life of a Marine, and David’s death in Vietnam, would argue strongly against following in his footsteps,” Mueller said in that 2013 speech. “But many of us saw in him the person we wanted to be, even before his death. He was a leader and a role model on the fields of Princeton. He was a leader and a role model on the fields of battle as well. And a number of his friends and teammates joined the Marine Corps because of him, as did I.”

In mid-1966, Mueller underwent his military physical at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; this was before the draft lottery began and before Vietnam became a divisive cultural watershed. He recalls sitting in the waiting room as another candidate, a strapping 6-foot, 280-pound lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, was ruled 4-F—medically unfit for military service. After that it was Mueller’s turn to be rejected: His years of intense athletics, including hockey and lacrosse, had left him with an injured knee. The military declared that it would need to heal before he would be allowed to deploy.

In the meantime, he married Ann Cabell Standish—a graduate of Miss Porter’s School and Sarah Lawrence—over Labor Day weekend 1966, and they moved to New York, where he earned a master’s degree in international relations at New York University.

Once his knee had healed, Mueller went back to the military doctors. In 1967—just before Donald Trump received his own medical deferment for heel spurs—Mueller started Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Virginia.


For high school, Mueller attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. As a senior in 1962, Mueller (#12) played on the hockey team with future US senator John Kerry (#18). DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO BY RICK FRIEDMAN/GETTY IMAGES
LIKE HACKETT BEFORE him, Mueller was a star in his Officer Candidate School training class. “He was a cut above,” recalls Phil Kellogg, who had followed one of his fraternity brothers into the Marines after graduating from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Kellogg, who went through training with Mueller, remembers Mueller racing another candidate on an obstacle course—and losing. It’s the only time he can remember Mueller being bested. “He was a natural athlete and natural student,” Kellogg says. “I don’t think he had a hard day at OCS, to be honest.” There was, it turned out, only one thing he was bad at—and it was a failing that would become familiar to legions of his subordinates in the decades to come: He received a D in delegation.

During the time Mueller spent in training, from November 1967 through July 1968, the context of the Vietnam War changed dramatically. The bloody Tet Offensive—a series of coordinated, widespread, surprise attacks across South Vietnam by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in January 1968—stunned America, and with public opinion souring on the conflict, Lyndon Johnson declared he wouldn’t run for reelection. As Mueller’s training class graduated, Walter Cronkite declared on the CBS Evening News that the war could not be won. “For it seems now more certain than ever,” Cronkite told his millions of viewers on February 27, 1968, “that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.”

The country seemed to be descending into chaos; as the spring unfolded, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. Cities erupted in riots. Antiwar protests raged. But the shifting tide of public opinion and civil unrest barely registered with the officer candidates in Mueller’s class. “I don’t remember anyone having qualms about where we were or what we were doing,” Kellogg says.

That spring, as Donald J. Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and began working for his father’s real estate company, Mueller finished up Officer Candidate School and received his next assignment: He was to attend the US Army’s Ranger School.

Arriving in Vietnam, Mueller was well trained, but he was also afraid. “You were scared to death of the unknown,” he says. “More afraid in some ways of failure than death.”
Mueller knew that only the best young officers went on to Ranger training, a strenuous eight-week advanced skills and leadership program for the military’s elite at Fort Benning, Georgia. He would be spending weeks practicing patrol tactics, assassination missions, attack strategies, and ambushes staged in swamps. But the implications of the assignment were also sobering to the newly minted officer: Many Marines who passed the course were designated as “recon Marines” in Vietnam, a job that often came with a life expectancy measured in weeks.

Mueller credits the training he received at Ranger School for his survival in Vietnam. The instructors there had been through jungle combat themselves, and their stories from the front lines taught the candidates how to avoid numerous mistakes. Ranger trainees often had to function on just two hours of rest a night and a single daily meal. “Ranger School more than anything teaches you about how you react with no sleep and nothing to eat,” Mueller told me. “You learn who you want on point, and who you don’t want anywhere near point.”

After Ranger School, he also attended Airborne School, aka jump school, where he learned to be a parachutist. By the fall of 1968, he was on his way to Asia. He boarded a flight from Travis Air Force Base in California to an embarkation point in Okinawa, Japan, where there was an almost palpable current of dread among the deploying troops.

From Okinawa, Mueller headed to Dong Ha Combat Base near the so-called demilitarized zone—the dividing line between North and South Vietnam, established after the collapse of the French colonial regime in 1954. Mueller was determined and well trained, but he was also afraid. “You were scared to death of the unknown,” he says. “More afraid in some ways of failure than death, more afraid of being found wanting.” That kind of fear, he says “animates your unconscious.”

FOR AMERICAN TROOPS, 1968 was the deadliest year of the war, as they beat back the Tet Offensive and fought the battle of Hue. All told, 16,592 Americans were killed that year—roughly 30 percent of total US fatalities in the war. Over the course of the conflict, more than 58,000 Americans died, 300,000 were wounded, and some 2 million South and North Vietnamese died.

Just 18 months after David Hackett was felled by a sniper, Mueller was being sent to the same region as his officer-training classmate Kellogg, who had arrived in Vietnam three months earlier. Mueller was assigned to H Company—Hotel Company in Marine parlance—part of the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment, a storied infantry unit that traced its origins back to the 1930s.

The regiment had been fighting almost nonstop in Vietnam since May 1965, earning the nickname the Magnificent Bastards. The grueling combat took its toll. In the fall of 1967, six weeks of battle reduced the battalion’s 952 Marines to just 300 fit for duty.

During the Tet Offensive, the 2nd Battalion had seen bitter and bloody fighting that never let up. In April 1968, it fought in the battle of Dai Do, a days-long engagement that killed nearly 600 North Vietnamese soldiers. Eighty members of the 2nd Battalion died in the fight, and 256 were wounded.


David Harris, who arrived in Vietnam in May, joined the depleted unit just after Dai Do. “Hotel Company and all of 2/4 was decimated,” he says. “They were a skeleton crew. They were haggard, they were beat to death. It was just pitiful.”

By the time Mueller was set to arrive six months later, the unit had rebuilt its ranks as its wounded Marines recovered and filtered back into the field; they had been tested and emerged stronger. By coincidence, Mueller was to inherit leadership of a Hotel Company platoon from his friend Kellogg. “Those kids that I had and Bob had, half of them were veterans of Dai Do,” Kellogg says. “They were field-sharp.”


A corpsman of Company H aids a wounded Leatherneck of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, during Operation Saline II in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam in 1968.DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES
SECOND LIEUTENANT MUELLER, 24 years and 3 months old, joined the battalion in November 1968, one of 10 new officers assigned to the unit that month. He knew he was arriving at the so-called pointy end of the American spear. Some 2.7 million US troops served in Vietnam, but the vast majority of casualties were suffered by those who fought in “maneuver battalions” like Mueller’s. The war along the demilitarized zone was far different than it was elsewhere in Vietnam; the primary adversary was the North Vietnamese army, not the infamous Viet Cong guerrillas. North Vietnamese troops generally operated in larger units, were better trained, and were more likely to engage in sustained combat rather than melting away after staging an ambush. “We fought regular, hard-core army,” Joel Burgos says. “There were so many of them—and they were really good.”

William Sparks, a private first class in Hotel Company, recalls that Mueller got off the helicopter in the middle of a rainstorm, wearing a raincoat—a telltale sign that he was new to the war. “You figured out pretty fast it didn’t help to wear a raincoat in Vietnam,” Sparks says. “The humidity just condensed under the raincoat—you were just as wet as you were without it.”

As Mueller walked up from the landing zone, Kellogg—who had no idea Mueller would be inheriting his platoon—recognized his OCS classmate’s gait. “When he came marching up the hill, I laughed,” Kellogg says. “We started joking.” On Mueller’s first night in the field, his brand-new tent was destroyed by the wind. “That thing vanished into thin air,” Sparks says. He didn’t even get to spend one night.”

Over the coming days, Kellogg passed along some of his wisdom from the field and explained the procedures for calling in artillery and air strikes. “Don’t be John Wayne,” he said. “It’s not a movie. Marines tell you something’s up, listen to them.”


“The lieutenants who didn’t trust their Marines went to early deaths,” Kellogg says.

And with that, Kellogg told their commander that Mueller was ready, and he hopped aboard the next helicopter out.

Today, military units usually train together in the US, deploy together for a set amount of time, and return home together. But in Vietnam, rotations began—and ended—piecemeal, driven by the vagaries of injuries, illness, and individual combat tours. That meant Mueller inherited a unit that mixed combat-­experienced veterans and relative newbies.

A platoon consisted of roughly 40 Marines, typically led by a lieutenant and divided into three squads, each led by a sergeant, which were then divided into three four-man “fire teams” led by corporals. While the lieutenants were technically in charge, the sergeants ran the show—and could make or break a new officer. “You land, and you’re at the mercy of your staff sergeant and your radioman,” Mueller says.

Marines in the field knew to be dubious of new young second lieutenants like Mueller. They were derided as Gold Brickers, after the single gold bar that denoted their rank. “They might have had a college education, but they sure as hell didn’t have common sense,” says Colin Campbell, who was on Hotel Company’s mortar squad.


Mueller knew his men feared he might be incompetent or worse. “The platoon was petrified,” he recalls. “They wondered whether the new green lieutenant was going to jeopardize their lives to advance his own career.” Mueller himself was equally terrified of assuming field command.

As he settled in, talk spread about the odd new platoon leader who had gone to both Princeton and Army Ranger School. “Word was out real fast—Ivy League guy from an affluent family. That set off alarms. The affluent guys didn’t go to Vietnam then—and they certainly didn’t end up in a rifle platoon,” says VJ Maranto, a corporal in H Company. “There was so much talk about ‘Why’s a guy like that out here with us?’ We weren’t Ivy Leaguers.”

Indeed, none of his fellow Hotel Company Marines had written their college thesis on African territorial disputes before the International Court of Justice, as Mueller had. Most were from rural America, and few had any formal education past high school. Maranto spent his youth on a small farm in Louisiana. Carl Rasmussen, a lance corporal, grew up on a farm in Oregon. Burgos was from the Mississippi Delta, where he was raised on a cotton plantation. After graduating from high school, David Harris had gone to work in a General Motors factory in his home state of Ohio, then joined the Marines when he was set to be drafted in the summer of 1967.

Many of the Marines under Mueller’s command had been wounded at least once; 19-year-old corporal John C. Liverman had arrived in Vietnam just four months after a neighbor of his from Silver Spring, Maryland, had been killed at Khe Sanh—and had seen heavy combat much of the year. He’d been hit by shrapnel in March 1968 and then again in April, but after recovering in Okinawa, he had agitated to return to combat.

Hotel Company quickly came to understand that its new platoon leader was no Gold Bricker. “He wanted to know as much as he could as fast as he could about the terrain, what we did, the ambushes, everything,” Maranto says. “He was all about the mission, the mission, the mission.”

SECOND BATTALION’S MISSION, as it turned out, was straightforward: Search and destroy. “We stayed out in the bush, out in the mountains, just below DMZ, 24 hours a day,” David Harris says. “We were like bait. It was the same encounter: They’d hit us, we’d hit them, they’d disappear.”

Frequent deaths and injuries meant that turnover in the field was constant; when Maranto arrived at Hotel Company, he was issued a flak jacket that had dried blood on it. “We were always low on men,” Colin Campbell says.

Mueller’s unit was constantly on patrol; the battalion’s records described it as “nomadic.” Its job was to keep the enemy off-kilter and disrupt their supply lines. “You’d march all day, then you’d dig a foxhole and spend all night alternating going on watch,” says Bill White, a Hotel Company veteran. “We were always tired, always hungry, always thirsty. There were no showers.”

In those first weeks, Mueller's confidence as a leader grew as he won his men’s trust and respect. “You’d sense his nervousness, but you’d never see that in his demeanor,” Maranto says. “He was such a professional.”

The members of the platoon soon got acquainted with the qualities that would be familiar to everyone who dealt with Mueller later as a prosecutor and FBI director. He demanded a great deal and had little patience for malingering, but he never asked for more than he was willing to give himself. “He was a no-bullshit kind of guy,” White recalls.


Sgt. Michael Padilla (left) with Cpl. Agustin Rosario (right), who was killed in action on December 11, 1968, during the operation at Mutter’s Ridge.DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL PADILLA
MUELLER’S UNIT BEGAN December 1968 in relative quiet, providing security for the main military base in the area, a glorified campground known as Vandegrift Combat Base, about 10 miles south of the DMZ. It was one of the only organized outposts nearby for Marines, a place for resupply, a shower, and hot food. Lance Corporal Robert W. Cromwell, who had celebrated his 20th birthday shortly before beginning his tour of duty, entertained his comrades with stories from his own period of R&R: He’d met his wife and parents in Hawaii to be introduced to his newborn daughter. “He was so happy to have a child and wanted to get home for good,” Harris says.

On December 7 the battalion boarded helicopters for a new operation: to retake control of a hill in an infamous area known as Mutter’s Ridge.

The strategically important piece of ground, which ran along four hills on the southern edge of the DMZ, had been the scene of fighting for more than two years and had been overrun by the North Vietnamese months before. Artillery, air strikes, and tank attacks had long since denuded the ridge of vegetation, but the surrounding hillsides and valleys were a jungle of trees and vines. When Hotel Company touched down and fanned out from its landing zones to establish a perimeter, Mueller was arriving to what would be his first full-scale battle.

As the American units advanced, the North Vietnamese retreated. “They were all pulling back to this big bunker complex, as it turned out,” Sparks says. The Americans could see the signs of past battles all around them. “You’d see shrapnel holes in the trees, bullet holes,” Sparks says.

After three days of patrols, isolated firefights with an elusive enemy, and multiple nights of American bombardment, another unit in 2nd Battalion, Fox Company, received the order to take some high ground on Mutter’s Ridge. Even nearly 50 years later, the date of the operation remains burned into the memories of those who fought in it: December 11, 1968.

None of Mueller's fellow Marines had written their college thesis on African territorial disputes before the International Court of Justice, as Mueller had.
That morning, after a night of air strikes and artillery volleys meant to weaken the enemy, the men of Fox Company moved out at first light. The attack went smoothly at first; they seized the western portions of the ridge without resistance, dodging just a handful of mortar rounds. Yet as they continued east, heavy small-arms fire started. “As they fought their way forward, they came into intensive and deadly fire from bunkers and at least three machine guns,” the regiment later reported. Because the vegetation was so dense, Fox Company didn’t realize that it had stumbled into the midst of a bunker complex. “Having fought their way in, the company found it extremely difficult to maneuver its way out, due both to the fire of the enemy and the problem of carrying their wounded.”

Hotel Company was on a neighboring hill, still eating breakfast, when Fox Company was attacked. Sparks remembers that he was drinking a “Mo-Co,” C-rations coffee with cocoa powder and sugar, heated by burning a golf-ball-sized piece of C-4 plastic explosive. (“We were ahead of Starbucks on this latte crap,” he jokes.) They could hear the gunfire across the valley.

“Lieutenant Mueller called, ‘Saddle up, saddle up,’” Sparks says. “He called for first squad—I was the grenade launcher and had two bags of ammo strapped across my chest. I could barely stand up.” Before they could even reach the enemy, they had to fight their way through the thick brush of the valley. “We had to go down the hill and come up Foxtrot Ridge. It took hours.”

“It was the only place in the DMZ I remember seeing vegetation like that,” Harris says. “It was thick and entwining.”

When the platoon finally crested the top of the ridge, they confronted the horror of the battlefield. “There were wounded people everywhere,” Sparks recalls. Mueller ordered everyone to drop their packs and prepare for a fight. “We assaulted right out across the top of the ridge,” he says.

It wasn’t long before the unit came under heavy fire from small arms, machine guns, and a grenade launcher. “There were three North Vietnamese soldiers right in front of us that jumped right up and sprayed us with AK-47s,” Sparks says. They returned fire and advanced. At one point, a Navy corpsman with them threw a grenade, only to have it bounce off a tree and explode, wounding one of Hotel Company’s corporals. “It just got worse from there,” Sparks says.

IN THE NEXT few minutes, numerous men went down in Mueller’s unit. Maranto remembers being impressed that his relatively green lieutenant was able to stay calm while under attack. “He’d been in-country less than a month—most of us had been in-country six, eight months,” Maranto says. “He had remarkable composure, directing fire. It was sheer terror. They had RPGs, machine gun, mortars.”

Mueller realized quickly how much trouble the platoon was in. “That day was the second heaviest fire I received in Vietnam,” Harris says. “Lieutenant Mueller was directing traffic, positioning people and calling in air strikes. He was standing upright, moving. He probably saved our hide.”

Cromwell, the lance corporal who had just become a father, was shot in the thigh by a .50-caliber bullet. When Harris saw his wounded friend being hustled out of harm’s way, he was oddly relieved at first. “I saw him and he was alive,” Harris says. “He was on the stretcher.” Cromwell would finally be able to spend some time with his wife and new baby, Harris figured. “You lucky sucker,” he thought. “You’re going home.”

But Harris had misjudged the severity of his friend’s injury. The bullet had nicked one of Cromwell’s arteries, and he bled to death before he reached the field hospital. The death devastated Harris, who had traded weapons with Cromwell the night before—Harris had taken Cromwell’s M-14 rifle and Cromwell took Harris’ M-79 grenade launcher. “The next day when we hit the crap, they called for him, and he had to go forward,” Harris says. Harris couldn’t shake the feeling that he should have been the one on the stretcher. “I’ve only told two people this story.”


The battle atop and around Mutter’s Ridge raged for hours, with the North Vietnamese fire coming from the surrounding jungle. “We got hit with an ambush, plain and simple,” Harris says. “The brush was so thick, you had trouble hacking it with a machete. If you got 15 meters away, you couldn’t see where you came from.”

As the fighting continued, the Marines atop the ridge began to run low on supplies. “Johnny Liverman threw me a bag of ammo. He’d been ferrying ammo from one side of the ridge to the other,” Sparks recalls. Liverman was already wounded, but he was still fighting; then, during one of his runs, he came under more fire. “He got hit right through the head, right when I was looking at him. I got that ammo, I crawled up there and got his M-16 and told him I’d be back.”

Sparks and another Marine sheltered behind a dead tree stump, trying to find any protection amid the firestorm. “Neither of us had any ammo left,” Sparks recalls. He crawled back to Liverman to try to evacuate his friend. “I got him up on my shoulder, and I got shot, and I went down,” he says. As he was lying on the ground, he heard a shout from atop the ridge, “Who’s that down there—are they dead?”

It was Lieutenant Mueller.

Sparks hollered back, “Sparks and Liverman.”


“Hold on,” Mueller said, “We’re coming down to get you.”

A few minutes later, Mueller appeared with another Marine, known as Slick. Mueller and Slick slithered Sparks into a bomb crater with Liverman and put a battle dress on Sparks’ wound. They waited until a helicopter gunship passed overhead, its guns clattering, to distract the North Vietnamese, and hustled back toward the top of the hill and comparative safety. An OV-10 attack plane overhead dropped smoke grenades to help shield the Marines atop the ridge. Mueller, Sparks says, then went back to retrieve the mortally wounded Liverman.

The deaths mounted. Corporal Agustin Rosario—a 22-year-old father and husband from New York City—was shot in the ankle, and then, while he tried to run back to safety, was shot again, this time fatally. Rosario, too, died waiting for a medevac helicopter.

Finally, as the hours passed, the Marines forced the North Vietnamese to withdraw. By 4:30 pm, the battlefield had quieted. As his commendation for the Bronze Star later read, “Second Lieutenant Mueller’s courage, aggressive initiative and unwavering devotion to duty at great personal risk were instrumental in the defeat of the enemy force and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”

As night fell, Hotel and Fox held the ground, and a third company, Golf, was brought forward as additional reinforcement. It was a brutal day for both sides; 13 Americans died and 31 were wounded. “We put a pretty good hurt on them, but not without great cost,” Sparks says. “My closest friends were all killed there on Foxtrot Ridge.”


As the Americans explored the field around the ridge, they counted seven enemy dead left behind, in addition to seven others killed in the course of the battle. Intelligence reports later revealed that the battle had killed the commander of the 1st Battalion, 27th North Vietnamese Army Regiment, “and had virtually decimated his staff.”

For Mueller, the battle had proved both to him and his men that he could lead. “The minute the shit hit the fan, he was there,” Maranto says. “He performed remarkably. After that night, there were a lot of guys who would’ve walked through walls for him.”

That first major exposure to combat—and the loss of Marines under his command—affected Mueller deeply. “You’re standing there thinking, ‘Did I do everything I could?’” he says. Afterward, back at camp, while Mueller was still in shock, a major came up and slapped the young lieutenant on the shoulder, saying, “Good job, Mueller.”

“That vote of confidence helped me get through,” Mueller told me. “That gesture pushed me over. I wouldn’t go through life guilty for screwing up.”

The heavy toll of the casualties at Mutter’s Ridge shook up the whole unit. Cromwell’s death hit especially hard; his humor and good nature had knitted the unit together. “He was happy-go-lucky. He looked after the new guys when they came in,” Bill White recalls. For Harris, who had often shared a foxhole with Cromwell, the death of his best friend was devastating.

White also took Cromwell’s death hard; overcome with grief, he stopped shaving. Mueller confronted him, telling him to refocus on the mission ahead—but ultimately provided more comfort than discipline. “He could’ve given me punishment hours,” White says, “but he never did.”


Robert Mueller receives an award from his regimental commander Col. Martin “Stormy” Sexton in Dong Ha, South Vietnam in 1969.DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF ROBERT MUELLER
DECADES LATER, MUELLER would tell me that nothing he ever confronted in his career was as challenging as leading men in combat and watching them be cut down. “You see a lot, and every day after is a blessing,” he told me in 2008. The memory of Mutter’s Ridge put everything, even terror investigations and showdowns with the Bush White House, into perspective. “A lot is going to come your way, but it’s not going to be the same intensity.”

When Mueller finally did leave the FBI in 2013, he “retired” into a busy life as a top partner at the law firm WilmerHale. He taught some classes in cybersecurity at Stanford, he investigated the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case, and he served as the so-called settlement master for the Volkswagen Diesel­gate scandal. While in the midst of that assignment—which required the kind of delicate give-and-take ill-suited to a hard-driving, no-nonsense Marine—the 72-year-old Mueller received a final call to public service. It was May 2017, just days into the swirling storm set off by the firing of FBI director James Comey, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein wanted to know if Mueller would serve as the special counsel in the Russia investigation. The job—overseeing one of the most difficult and sensitive investigations ever undertaken by the Justice Department—may only rank as the third-hardest of Mueller’s career, after the post-9/11 FBI and after leading those Marines in Vietnam.

Having accepted the assignment as special counsel, he retreated into his prosecutor’s bunker, cut off from the rest of America.

IN JANUARY 1969, after 10 days of rain showers and cold weather, the unit got a three-day R&R break at Cua Viet, a nearby support base. They listened to Super Bowl III on the radio as Joe Namath and the Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts. “One touch of reality was listening to that,” Mueller says.

In the field, they got little news about what was transpiring at home. In fact, later that summer, while Mueller was still deployed, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon—an event that people around the world watched live on TV. Mueller wouldn’t find out until days afterward. “There was this whole segment of history you missed,” he says.

R&R breaks were also rare opportunities to drink alcohol, though there was never much of it. Campbell says he drank just 15 beers during his 18 months in-country. “I can remember drinking warm beer—Ballantines,” he says. In camp, the men traded magazines like Playboy and mail-­order automotive catalogs, imagining the cars they would soup up when they returned to the States. They passed the time playing rummy or pinochle.

For the most part, Mueller skipped such activities, though he was into the era’s music (Creedence Clearwater Revival was—and is—a particular favorite). “I remember several times walking into a bunker and finding him in a corner with a book,” Maranto says. “He read a lot, every opportunity.”


Throughout the rest of the month, they patrolled, finding little contact with the enemy, although plenty of signs of their presence: Hotel Company often radioed in reports of finding fallen bodies and hidden supply caches, and they frequently took incoming mortar rounds from unseen enemies.

Command under such conditions wasn’t easy; drug use was a problem, and racial tensions ran high. “Many of the GIs were draftees; they didn’t want to be there,” Maranto says. “When new people rotated in, they brought what was happening in the United States with them.”

Mueller recalls at times struggling to get Marines to follow orders—they already felt that the punishment of serving in the infantry in Vietnam was as bad as it could get. “Screw that,” they’d reply sharply when ordered to do something they didn’t want to do. “What are you going to do? Send me to Vietnam?”

Yet the Marines were bonded through the constant danger of combat. Everyone had close calls. Everyone knew that luck in the combat zone was finite, fate pernicious. “If the good Lord turned over a card up there, that was it,” Mueller says.

Nights particularly were filled with dread; the enemy preferred sneak attacks, often in the hours before dawn. Colin Campbell recalls a night in his foxhole when he turned around to find a North Vietnamese soldier, armed with an AK-47, right behind him. “He’d gotten inside our perimeter. He had our back,” Campbell says. “Why didn’t he kill me and the other guy in the foxhole?” Campbell shouted, and the infiltrator bolted. “Another Marine down the line shot him dead.”


Mueller was a constant presence in the field, regularly reviewing the code signs and passwords that identified friendly units to one another. “He was quiet and reserved. The planning was meticulous and detailed. He knew at night where every position was,” Maranto recalls. “It wouldn’t be unusual for him to come out and make sure the fire teams were correctly placed—and that you were awake.”

The men I talked to who served alongside Mueller, men now in their seventies, mostly had strong memories of the type of leader Mueller had been. But many didn’t know, until I told them, that the man who led their platoon was now the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election. “I had no idea,” Burgos told me. “When you’ve been in combat that long, you don’t remember names. Faces you remember,” he says.

Maranto says he only put two and two together recently, although he’d wondered for years if that guy who was the FBI director had served with him in Vietnam. “The name would ring a bell—you know that’s a familiar name—but you’re so busy with everyday life,” Maranto says.


At the makeshift landing zone getting briefed before being airlifted to join the rest of the operation. Mueller is standing on the right with his back to the camera.DAN WINTERS; ARCHIVAL PHOTO COURTESY OF VJ MARANTO
APRIL 1969 MARKED a grim American milestone: The Vietnam War’s combat death toll surpassed the 33,629 Americans killed while fighting in Korea. It also brought a new threat to Hotel Company’s area: a set of powerful .50-­caliber machine gun nests that the North Vietnamese had set up to harass helicopters and low-flying planes. Hotel Company—and the battalion’s other units—devoted much of the middle of the month to chasing down the deadly weapons. Until they were found, resupply helicopters were limited, and flights were abandoned when they came under direct fire. One Marine was even killed in the landing zone. Finally, on April 15 and 16, Hotel Company overran the enemy guns and forced a retreat, uncovering 10 bunkers and three gun positions.

The next day, at around 10 am, Mueller’s platoon was attacked while on patrol. Facing small-arms fire and grenades, they called for air support. An hour later four attack runs hit the North Vietnamese position.

Five days later, on April 22, one of the 3rd Platoon’s patrols came under similar attack—and the situation quickly became desperate. Sparks, who had returned to Hotel Company that winter after recovering from his wound at Mutter’s Ridge, was in the ambushed patrol. “We lost the machine gun, jammed up with shrapnel, and the radio,” he recalls. “We had to pull back.”

Nights particularly were filled with dread; the enemy preferred sneak attacks, often in the hours before dawn.
With radio contact lost, Mueller’s platoon was called forward as reinforcement. American artillery and mortars pounded the North Vietnamese as the platoon advanced. At one point, Mueller was engaged in a close firefight. The incoming fire was so intense—the stress of the moment so all-consuming, the adrenaline pumping so hard—that when he was shot, Mueller didn’t immediately notice. Amid the combat, he looked down and realized an AK-47 round had passed clean through his thigh.

Mueller kept fighting.

“Although seriously wounded during the fire­fight, he resolutely maintained his position and, ably directing the fire of his platoon, was instrumental in defeating the North Vietnamese Army force,” reads the Navy Commendation that Mueller received for his action that day. “While approaching the designated area, the platoon came under a heavy volume of enemy fire from its right flank. Skillfully requesting and directing supporting Marine artillery fire on the enemy positions, First Lieutenant Mueller ensured that fire superiority was gained over the hostile unit.”

Two other members of Hotel Company were also wounded in the battle. One of them had his leg blown off by a grenade; it was his first day in Vietnam.


Mueller’s days in combat ended with him being lifted out by helicopter in a sling. As the aircraft peeled away, Mueller recalls thinking he might at least get a good meal out of the injury on a hospital ship, but he was delivered instead to a field hospital near Dong Ha, where he spent three weeks recovering.

Maranto, who was on R&R when Mueller was wounded, remembers returning to camp and hearing word that their commander had been shot. “It could happen to any one of us,” Maranto says. “When it happened to him, there was a lot of sadness. They enjoyed his company.”

Mueller recovered and returned to active duty in May. Since most Marine officers spent only six months on a combat rotation—and Mueller had been in the combat zone since November—he was sent to serve at command headquarters, where he became an aide-de-camp to Major General William K. Jones, the head of the 3rd Marine Division.

By the end of 1969, Mueller was back in the US, his combat tour complete, working at the Marine barracks near the Pentagon. Soon thereafter, he sent off an application to the University of Virginia’s law school. “I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam,” Mueller said years later in a speech. “There were many—many—who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.”

Over the years, a few of his former fellow Marines from Hotel Company recognized Mueller and have watched his career unfold on the national stage over the past two decades. Sparks recalls eating lunch on a July day in 2001 with the news on: “The TV was on behind me. ‘We’re going to introduce the new FBI director, Robert … Swan … Mueller.’ I slowly turned, and I looked, and I thought, ‘Golly, that’s Lieutenant Mueller.’” Sparks, who speaks with a thick Texas accent, says his first thought was the running joke he’d had with his former commander: “I’d always call him ‘Lieutenant Mew-ler,’ and he’d say, ‘That’s Mul-ler.’”

More recently, his former Marine comrade Maranto says that after spending six months in combat with Mueller, he has watched the coverage of the special counsel investigation unfold and laughed at the news reports. He says he knows Mueller isn’t sweating the pressure. “I watch people on the news talking about the distractions getting to him,” he says. “I don’t think so.”
Whatever one thinks of Mueller, his whole life and personality could hardly be a starker contrast to Trump, beyond the fact that they both come from money.

Also... Mueller was a Marine Captain, who decades later is attempting to expose a neo-fascist infiltration of the US government at the highest levels...

Man's basically a real-life Captain America, except with Batman's dour attitude.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-22 01:38am

Old article, but still interesting, comparing Mueller's first year as Special Counsel to the past investigations of Watergate, Iran Contra, and Whitewater:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/ho ... hitewater/
It’s a big day for Robert Mueller and his team: One year ago today, Mueller was appointed to lead the special counsel investigation into possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian officials. It’s a miracle, in some ways, that Mueller has lasted this long. President Trump’s relationship with the investigation has grown increasingly adversarial, and at many moments over the course of the past 12 months, it seemed like Mueller’s job was in jeopardy.

So this hasn’t been an easy year for Mueller, but it’s certainly been productive. Since the first indictments came down in the investigation last fall, the special counsel has racked up five guilty pleas and 14 indictments of individuals.1 He also reportedly gave a referral to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York that led to a raid on the office, home and hotel room of presidential lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, which has turned into its own separate investigation.


We’ve taken a look at how Mueller’s first year measures up against the initial 12 months of other special counsel and independent counsel investigations. In terms of the number of charges he’s been able to file, Mueller is moving quickly. At one year after the formal appointment of a special or independent counsel, only the Watergate special prosecution force had obtained more indictments and guilty pleas.


But the total number of charges doesn’t tell the whole story. To get a sense of where Mueller’s investigation might go in its second year, it’s worth looking at where the three other highest-profile investigations in modern history — Watergate, Iran-Contra and Whitewater — stood a year after a special or independent counsel came on board and how they evolved in the year or two afterward.

These investigations give us three separate models of what Mueller’s first year could mean for the rest of his investigation, and they show how foolish it can be to predict the end of a special counsel investigation based on its beginning. Watergate lived up to the dramatic promise of its first year: It ended Nixon’s presidency and sent dozens of people to jail. The revelations in the Iran-Contra scandal initially seemed like they might engulf Ronald Reagan, but the scandal began to fizzle when it became clear that Reagan wouldn’t be implicated. And Whitewater, which was sleepy at first, eventually resulted in the impeachment of Bill Clinton — but for reasons that could never have been foreseen after the first year of the investigation.

Watergate
The year after Archibald Cox was named special prosecutor in the Watergate investigation was, to put it mildly, a whirlwind. That’s partially because Cox was stepping into a scandal that had already been unfolding for months. The Watergate break-in occurred in June 1972, and by the time Cox was named special prosecutor in May 1973, the trials of the Watergate burglars were already complete. At this point, the stakes of the investigation were clear: According to a Gallup poll from the month Cox was appointed, 78 percent of Americans said that Watergate was of “great” or “some” importance for the nation. For comparison, in April 2017 — a month before Mueller came on board — Quinnipiac University found that 66 percent of registered voters believed that alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election was either a very or somewhat important issue.

A year after Cox’s appointment, in May 1974, Cox had been fired by Nixon and replaced by another special prosecutor, and it was clear that a wide range of people connected to the Nixon administration had committed crimes far beyond the Watergate break-in, including illegal campaign donations, other burglaries, tax fraud and corruption. Nixon also fortified perceptions of his own guilt during this time by dismissing Cox for trying to obtain tapes from his secret White House recording system and continuing to fight Cox’s successor, Leon Jaworski, over the tapes.

The “smoking gun” tape, in which Nixon ordered his staff to stop the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-in, was released in August 1974, and Nixon resigned just days later. It seems unlikely that events of the same magnitude are in the cards for this summer, but it’s impossible to know what information Mueller’s team has already gathered. “By May 1974, Jaworski knew he had enough evidence against Nixon to indict him, if he had been a private citizen,” said Timothy Naftali, the former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and a history professor at New York University. “But he wasn’t sharing that with the American people.”

In other words: If the Russia investigation is truly like Watergate, Mueller’s team may already have the evidence it needs to topple the Trump presidency, and we just don’t know about it yet.

Iran-Contra
It’s also possible that the Mueller investigation will end up looking more like another high-profile investigation: the Iran-Contra affair.

During the year after Lawrence Walsh was appointed independent counsel for the Iran-Contra investigation, he secured only two guilty pleas. But the scandal — which involved the Reagan administration’s illegal sales of arms to Iran and funneling of the profits to right-wing “Contras” battling the socialist government in Nicaragua — threatened Ronald Reagan at the height of his popularity.

As Reagan administration officials testified before Congress about their participation in the arms deal, it seemed possible that the scandal would engulf the president. Reagan’s approval ratings had plummeted in November 1986, when news about the Iran-Contra affair broke, and they remained low throughout 1987. Meanwhile, in February 1987, 81 percent of Americans agreed that the Iran-Contra scandal was of “great” or “some” importance for the country. By the end of 1987, it seemed clear that more indictments were coming, and Walsh charged six more people — including Reagan administration officials Oliver North and John Poindexter — in the first half of 1988.

But unlike in Watergate, the trajectory of the investigation was far less dramatic than the prevailing opinions of the first year would suggest. The convictions of North and Poindexter were overturned, and Walsh was ultimately foiled in his efforts to prosecute a second round of officials for their role in a cover-up of the deal after George H.W. Bush pardoned them a month before he left office.

And perhaps most importantly, Reagan himself was never implicated. “Reagan was able to recover and salvage his legacy,” said Richard Arenberg, who worked on the Senate committee investigating Iran-Contra and now teaches at Brown University. It’s possible that the Mueller investigation could turn out to be just as anticlimactic, and Trump — like Reagan — could emerge pretty much unscathed.

Whitewater
Then there’s the possibility that the events of Mueller’s first year might not matter much — but his investigation could still end up implicating the president. That’s what happened in the Whitewater independent counsel investigation, which began in 1994 and initially centered on a land deal made by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the late 1970s, when he was still the attorney general of Arkansas.

The independent counsel for that investigation, Kenneth Starr, obtained a handful of high-profile indictments in his first year, including of the former governor of Arkansas.2 But Americans were divided on the investigation’s importance at the time — an August 1994 poll showed that 52 percent of Americans thought the investigation was unimportant. It didn’t appear to threaten the president until several years later, when Starr expanded his investigation to include a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by a former Arkansas state employee named Paula Jones. It was in a deposition for the Jones suit that Clinton lied under oath about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, setting up the perjury prosecution that led to his impeachment.

It remains possible that Trump or his close associates could be implicated in this investigation in ways that are unrelated to collusion with Russia, especially if Trump is forced to give a deposition in one of the civil lawsuits pending against him. But this scenario is probably the least likely of the three to transpire now, if only because Starr had much more flexibility and job security than Mueller does. He and Walsh were appointed under a law passed after Watergate that protected the independent counsel from being fired at the president’s behest, but that law expired in 1999. Under the terms of Mueller’s position as special counsel within the Department of Justice, straying from the issues he was charged with investigating could be grounds for dismissal. “Mueller has to be really careful and focused in a way that Ken Starr didn’t,” said Katy Harriger, a political science professor at Wake Forest University and an expert on independent counsel investigations. “So that reduces the likelihood of a Whitewater-style situation.”

As the Russia investigation enters its second year, the most important variable may be how long Mueller can keep his job. Watergate, Iran-Contra and Whitewater all had one thing in common: They lasted at least four years. Given the reports that Trump has already twice considered ordering Mueller’s removal, it’s not clear that the investigation can survive that long — at least, with Mueller at the helm.

Looking at past special counsel probes also highlights the limits of what Mueller can do on his own. Cox, for example, benefited enormously from the concurrent Watergate hearings held in Congress, which was where the White House deputy chief of staff revealed that Nixon had a secret White House taping system. Mueller hasn’t gotten similar assistance from this Congress.

And despite the drama of Mueller’s first year, we won’t know what his slew of indictments really means until it’s clear what additional evidence he’s been able to collect. “The big unanswered question is: Does Mueller have evidence that Trump is at the center of some kind of web of illegal activity?” Naftali said. “If he does, then we may be looking at something like Watergate. If not — then maybe this is as far as the Russia investigation gets.”

Dhrumil Mehta contributed research.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-11-22 11:08am

He and Walsh were appointed under a law passed after Watergate that protected the independent counsel from being fired at the president’s behest, but that law expired in 1999.
Why in the ever-loving fuck did that law EXPIRE? Why would you ever make a law like that, in the wake of a scandal as important and massive as Watergate, which has a fucking shelf-life? God, I hate government sometimes.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-22 07:03pm

I know. Frankly, that's the sort of thing that should be written into the Constitution.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-23 07:45pm

Roger Stone associate and Right wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi is reportedly in plea deal negotiations with Mueller:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/23/politics ... index.html
Washington (CNN)Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi said Friday he is in plea negotiations with special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

Corsi, confirming an earlier Washington Post report, declined to comment further. Last week, he said publicly he expected to be indicted by Mueller for "giving false information to the special counsel or to one of the other grand jury."
Corsi's role in the investigation largely revolves around the possibility that he was an intermediary between Stone -- a longtime Trump ally and confidante -- and WikiLeaks. He has been involved in Mueller's investigation for roughly two months and has participated in multiple interviews with investigators, handed over documents and provided testimony before the grand jury.
Corsi could face any number of charges -- spanning from perjury to making false claims to obstruction of justice. The potential charges could be related to false statements he made about his relationship with WikiLeaks and Stone.
During the 2016 campaign, Stone publicly bragged about having "backchannel communications" with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and on several occasions appeared to predict the WikiLeaks releases that roiled the race in the final stretch of the campaign. But in the two years since President Donald Trump's victory, Stone has walked back those claims and said his "backchannel" was merely New York radio host Randy Credico sharing information about his interviews with Assange. Credico denies serving as an intermediary between the two.
Investigators have been skeptical of Stone's explanation. CNN has reported that Mueller's team is examining the possibility that Stone had another intermediary beyond Credico, and that Corsi might have been involved.
Corsi injected himself into Stone's situation last year when he claimed that one of his own articles for InfoWars inspired Stone to predict in October 2016 that there would be trouble coming for Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Not long after that, WikiLeaks started releasing thousands of Podesta's hacked emails.
Stone denies that he ever told Trump about WikiLeaks' dumps before they became public. He also denies colluding with Russia. Both Stone and his lawyer, Grant Smith, told CNN last week that Stone has not been contacted by Mueller's team.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Smith said Corsi has "has been under a tremendous amount of pressure" and said Corsi never shared with him any knowledge that Podesta's emails were stolen and planning to be published.
"He has stated publicly that he is being asked over and over to say things he simply does not believe occurred," Smith said. "I am not aware of any plea talks involving Dr. Corsi, he is an investigative journalist whose activities I would think would largely be covered under the first amendment. He is relentless in his research, and his network of sources is very wide."
In an interview Friday on radio station WBEN with former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo Stone said he wasn't aware of any efforts by Corsi to strike a plea agreement and said he didn't think Corsi would lie.
"I feel badly for Jerry Corsi. He looks like he has been squeezed, but as far as I know, he refuses to lie," Stone said.
But in the same interview, Stone appeared to question Corsi's credibility.
"He doesn't believe the moon landing happened, for example -- he thinks it was staged," Stone said.
If Corsi were to cut a plea deal with Mueller and agree to cooperate with the ongoing Russia investigation, he would be the 33rd individual defendant charged by Mueller's team.
A new case against Corsi would likely make clear that Mueller's unit, which has already charged 12 Russian military intelligence specialists with hacking the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, continues to bear down on investigating the alleged hackers' contacts before the election.
Corsi would join a growing list of Republican political operatives and Trump advisers who face criminal charges and have been helping Mueller's investigators. Those people, who continue to share information in several investigations, according to the Justice Department, are former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen and lobbyist Sam Patten.
The magnitude of the information the cooperators have provided is not yet known, and each has gone almost completely silent in recent months.
CNN's Marshall Cohen and Sophie Tatum contributed to this report.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-25 03:21pm

Papadopoulos ordered to report to jail tomorrow, after trying to weasel out of that part of his plea deal:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/25/politics ... index.html
(CNN)Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe.

Papadopoulos had asked a federal judge twice in the last 10 days to pause his sentence. The federal Bureau of Prisons has him set to surrender at a correctional camp in Wisconsin tomorrow.
The judge who sentenced him, however, denied both of his requests on Sunday, saying Papadopoulos hadn't filed any court appeals within the window he was allowed and gave a firm nod that the office of special counsel, which prosecuted Papadopoulos, has acted correctly.
Papadopoulos gave up much of his rights to appeal under his plea agreement, which he cut with the special counsel's office last year.
He hadn't used any legal tools he still had at hand in his recent court requests, the judge, Randy Moss of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, added.
Papadopoulos will be the third defendant in the Mueller probe to serve jail time. Previously, the Dutch lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan stayed almost a month in a Pennsylvania federal prison for lying to investigators, while the Californian fake ID salesman Richard Pinedo is being held in a southern California prison until mid-May 2019.
Papadopoulos' full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.
He pled guilty last year to lying to investigators about his contact with Russian affiliates during the campaign, including a mysterious European man who told him Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. When federal agents approached Papadopoulos about his interactions with the foreigners, he lied to them repeatedly, he admitted in court. In court filings, Papadopoulos has also accused former Attorney General Jeff Sessions of lying about his interactions on the campaign.
At his sentencing this fall, the 31-year-old said he felt "embarrassed" and "ashamed" for his actions in the investigation. But in the weeks that followed his sentencing in early September, Papadopoulos brought in a new legal team to make court filings on his behalf. He has said publicly via Twitterthat he was a victim in a government conspiracy and will "expose" a corrupt investigation.
Specifically, Papadopoulos claimed to the judge that his prison term should be put on hold while an appeals court weighs the constitutionality of Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel. Four lower-court judges have already written that Mueller has acted appropriately as a Justice Department prosecutor.
Moss in his opinion Sunday shot down the speculation that Mueller's work was at odds with the US Constitution and predicted the DC Circuit Court of Appeals would uphold the special counsel's authority.
"Based on the reasoning contained in those opinions [of other judges], Court concludes that the prospect that the DC Circuit will reach a contrary conclusion is remote," Moss wrote.
Also, a Trump-appointed judge recently upheld Mueller's indictment of a Russian company:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/15/politics ... index.html
(CNN)A federal judge on Thursday upheld a federal indictment against the Russian troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 election, handing a victory to special counsel Robert Mueller.

In a 32-page opinion, Judge Dabney Friedrich rejected efforts by Concord Management and Consulting to dismiss the indictment, which accused the Russian company of conspiring to defraud the US government. Mueller's team says the company was involved in a well-funded "troll farm" that pumped out political propaganda to millions of Americans throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.
It was the second time that Friedrich, a Trump appointee, sided with Mueller and let the case proceed. Earlier this year, she rebuffed Concord's arguments that there were constitutional problems with Mueller's appointment and authority. Thursday's ruling centered more on the merits of the indictment.

Related: Track the publicly known developments of the sprawling investigations into Trump and Russia.
Concord was charged with conspiring to defraud the US government by hiding its election-related activities and failing to register as a foreign agent trying to influence the US political process. The company wasn't charged with violating these laws, a point Concord made in its arguments.
But in upholding the indictment, Friedrich wrote that "the key question" was not whether Concord violated the underlying US laws that regulate foreign agents and political spending. Instead, she said the threshold to indict Concord on the conspiracy charge was whether the company's actions were "deceptive and intended to frustrate the lawful government functions" of the relevant agencies.
Friedrich concluded that Mueller's team showed "plenty" of evidence that Concord tried to deceive US government agencies, bolstering the decision to indict the Russian firm. She cited parts of the indictment that accused Concord employees of lying to the State Department on visa applications and using virtual private networks to hide the fact that their social media posts originated from Russia.
She also knocked down Concord's argument that the indictment should be dropped because Mueller did not prove that the Russians were aware of the relevant US laws and "knowingly" violated those laws.
But again, Friedrich said Concord was overreaching. While prosecutors usually need to show that defendants "knowingly" violated election and lobbying laws, Concord was not charged with those crimes. They were charged with conspiracy, and that statute does not carry the same requirements.
"Concord goes too far ... a general knowledge that US agencies are tasked with collecting the kinds of information the defendants agreed to withhold and conceal would suffice," Friedrich wrote.
Making his first direct move against Russians, Mueller indicted Concord in February, along with two other companies, a dozen of their so-called "trolls," and their oligarch benefactor, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
But none of the 13 indicted Russians have appeared in US courts, and they are expected to remain in their native Russia, where they are safe from extradition. But Concord hired respected American attorneys who have waged an aggressive-but-unsuccessful fight against Mueller in US courts.
CNN previously reported that some Justice Department lawyers have groused that the Mueller team could have avoided this fight with Concord, and the potential for negative court decisions, but ignoring the Russian companies and focusing their indictments on the Russian citizens who ran the troll farm.
Despite these concerns, Mueller has fared well in the courts. Friedrich is one of four federal judges that have upheld Mueller's appointment and constitutionality amid a barrage of legal challenges. Some of those challenges are still ongoing and have moved beyond district courts to the appellate level.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-26 05:15pm

CNN is reporting that the Democrats are looking at including legislation to protect Mueller in the next government funding bill. So look forward to a government shutdown over the question of whether the President can obstruct justice.
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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-26 10:38pm

More news tonight: Corsi says he has rejected a plea deal:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/26/politics ... index.html

Also, Mueller is pushing to go ahead with Manafort's sentencing, saying he has violated his plea deal by repeatedly lying to the investigation. So it looks like Mueller has given up on getting anything more of value from Manafort. And that Manafort hasn't figured out that getting a plea deal does not mean "I am untouchable now"- it means "Mueller now owns my ass". That or he's banking on Whittaker as AG to save him.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... eller-lies

This sudden spine-stiffening by the Trump lackies has me nervous. Are people less willing to cooperate now that they know Trump's inside man is overseeing the investigation? Or could they have some inside knowledge that Trump is preparing a move against Mueller?

Edit: On the plus side...
It was not immediately clear whether Mueller had suffered a setback on Monday. While the special counsel lost the cooperation of one of Trump’s most senior campaign aides, his court filing indicated that he had information that Manafort did not know he had – and that it was damaging enough for Manafort to lie about.

The “detailed sentencing submission” promised by Mueller on Monday could also allow him to disclose any evidence of collusion he has uncovered without needing to go through a formal process of reporting to the attorney general. Earlier this month Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker, a sharp critic of Mueller, as acting attorney general, after firing Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia inquiry.
:D
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Dominus Atheos » 2018-11-27 03:54am

Current speculation is that this might have been a trap by Mueller. Trump just submitted his written answers and if he and manafort "got their stories straight" but Mueller knew manafort was lying the whole time, suddenly Mueller has proof of conspiracy, perjury, and several other kinds of obstruction of justice.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-27 01:42pm

Well, breaking news of the day is that Manafort met with Julian Assange around the time he joined the Trump campaign, which certainly suggests coordination on the email leaks, though its not definitive.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-28 02:14am

Wow...

Manafort's legal team wasn't just lying to Mueller, it was sharing information on the investigation to Trump's legal team:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... rt-mueller
Donald Trump’s lawyers have reportedly been briefed by an attorney for Paul Manafort about the former Trump campaign chairman’s discussions with special counsel Robert Mueller.

The New York Times reported Tuesday night that Kevin Downing, a lawyer for Manafort had given Trump’s legal team a précis of questions asked by prosecutors. The report comes a day after prosecutors accused Manafort of breaching his plea agreement with Mueller.

Manafort reached his plea agreement in September on charges brought in Washington DC related to unregistered lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. A jury in Virginia had previously found Manafort guilty on eight charges of fraud in August.


Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, sources say
Read more
Manafort had entered into a joint defense agreement with Trump prior to his guilty plea but the Times reported prosecutors were surprised about the continued cooperation between Manafort’s lawyers and Trump.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Trump declined to discuss Manafort on the record. “Let me go off the record because I don’t want to get in the middle of the whole thing,” said Trump. “At some point, I’ll talk on the record about it. But I’d rather not.”

He did continue his criticism of Mueller Tuesday night, tweeting: “The Mueller Witch Hunt is a total disgrace.”
The question is, how long did Mueller know this? Was he using Manafort to feed false information to Trump? Was he comparing their answers? If he caught Manafort in lies, and Manafort was coordinating with Trump, does that mean that Mueller has caught Trump in a lie? It hardly seems likely to be coincidence that Mueller delayed Manafort's sentencing until right after he got Trump's written answers. Impossible to say right now, but if the question is who's smarter, and who played who, I will bet on Robert Mueller over Donald Trump and Paul Manafort.

And then, there's the question of collusion. Corsi leaked a supposed document relating to his rejected plea deal, which offers some pretty interesting hints:

https://www.vox.com/2018/11/27/18115445 ... oger-stone
It’s quite rare that we get to see an internal document from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe before Mueller wants us to. But on Tuesday, conservative commentator Jerome Corsi decided to give us a glimpse — of a draft document outlining a potential criminal charge against Corsi himself.

The six-page document was written for a potential plea deal which Corsi now says he’ll reject. Corsi provided it to several news outlets, including the Washington Post. And it’s a fascinating read, because it gives us a glimpse into Mueller’s thinking about a part of the probe that hasn’t resulted in any charges yet: Trump associates’ contacts with WikiLeaks.

The special counsel has alleged that Russian intelligence officers hacked leading Democrats’ emails (most notably the DNC’s and John Podesta’s), and provided some of that material to WikiLeaks. But whether Trumpworld had any role in this hasn’t been clear — and has been the focus of intense investigation of late, particularly pertaining to Roger Stone.

Though we should keep in mind that this document is just a draft, and surely isn’t revealing the full scope of what Mueller knows, there’s some interesting material in here nonetheless.(You can read the whole thing at this link.)

The big picture
First off, here’s how Mueller characterizes the big picture.

The document says that the special counsel’s office is investigating “the theft of campaign-related emails and other documents” by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.
It also says the GRU provided “certain” documents to “Organization 1” — WikiLeaks — “for public release.” And it outlines a motive for this: “to expand the GRU’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.”
Then, it says they are also investigating “the nature of any connections between individuals associated with the U.S. presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump” and the Russian government or WikiLeaks.
This is one of the clearest statements of how Mueller views all this so far: a Russian interference operation in which the GRU “provided” documents to WikiLeaks, with the open question being whether Trump campaign associates were involved.

Roger Stone and his contacts with Trump
Second, there’s the description of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. He is identified as “Person 1,” but more revealingly described as a person “Corsi understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.”

Trump’s legal team told the Washington Post that they complained to the Justice Department that Trump was mentioned by name here. (How they got ahold of the document isn’t entirely clear, but Corsi’s lawyers may have provided it to them.)

“It’s gratuitous. It’s not necessary,” Giuliani told the Post. “If you read out of context, it creates a misimpression that they were in contact with the president during this critical time.”

Yet the thing is that Stone regularly said publicly that he was in contact with Trump during this critical time (summer 2016). And Mueller’s mention of this in the document may well suggest he thinks it’s important.

Corsi’s WikiLeaks information
The document goes on to reveal part of the reason Mueller has focused so intensely on Stone and Corsi in recent months: email evidence. It claims:

On July 25, 2016, Stone emailed Corsi, telling him to “get to” Assange in the “Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending” WikiLeaks “emails.”
Corsi forwarded this email to an “overseas individual.” Reportedly, this is Ted Malloch, a UK-based Trump supporter and author.
On July 31, 2016, Stone wrote to Corsi that Malloch “should see” Assange.
On August 2, 2016, Corsi emailed Stone claiming knowledge of Assange’s plans. “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back [from a trip in Europe]. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging..” Corsi continued: “Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke — neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for [Clinton] Foundation debacle.”
The document is silent on what, if anything happened after that during the campaign.

Corsi’s purported attempts to thwart the investigation
Next, Mueller’s team describes Corsi’s purported conduct after Trump won. The document claims:

That in early 2017, Corsi “deleted from his computer all email correspondence that predated October 11, 2016.” (This date is a few days after WikiLeaks started posting the Podesta emails on October 7, 2016.)
That Corsi counseled Stone when congressional investigators were looking into his knowledge of WikiLeaks. “You may be defending yourself too much — raising new questions that will fuel new inquiries,” Corsi wrote. “This may be a time to say less, not more.”
Then, in September 2018, Corsi was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators. The special counsel’s team writes in the draft that Corsi knowingly made several false statements. This is the actual criminal conduct that would be charged here:

Corsi is said to have told investigators he declined Stone’s request to get in touch with WikiLeaks. (He actually forwarded the request to Ted Malloch.)
Corsi is said to have told investigators that Stone never asked him to put anyone else in touch with WikiLeaks. (Stone actually told him Malloch should see Assange.)
Corsi is said to have told investigators he “never provided” Stone “with any information” about WikiLeaks, “including what materials” the group possessed or what they “might do with those materials.”
Keep in mind that these are not even allegations yet, but rather potential allegations in a draft document. Corsi has essentially admitted giving false information to the Mueller team, but claimed that he did so due to a bad memory, not due to intentional lying.

Also keep in mind this document was written for a potential plea deal — a deal Corsi now says he won’t take. If Mueller does decide to move ahead and indict Corsi, the eventual charging document could well look far different and provide a good deal more detail. But regardless, the document gives us a glimpse into what Mueller was prepared to say about an important part of the investigation at this point.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-30 01:09am

Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ea/577015/
Michael Cohen’s decision to plead guilty to lying to Congress on Thursday was remarkable for three reasons.

The first was that Cohen walked into a Manhattan federal courtroom unannounced. He did it by surprise. We live in a political environment characterized by constant leaks, each choreographed more carefully than a public announcement. The drama of learning what’s going to happen at an event, rather than before the event, has mostly disappeared. But Cohen’s plea, a momentous development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, happened with no warning. That reflects admirable discipline in Mueller’s office.

The second remarkable thing was that the plea happened at all. Cohen already pleaded guilty in August to eight federal felonies, including tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations. That plea already ended his career and exposed him to at least several years in federal prison. By contrast, Cohen’s new plea is to a lone count of lying to Congress in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 —a weapon Mueller has wielded ruthlessly against President Donald Trump’s followers, including Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Paul Manafort. The conviction won’t increase Cohen’s sentence, and the additional felony count won’t have any perceptible impact on his life. If anything, by adding a cooperation term to his plea agreement, this new plea gives him an opportunity to reduce his sentence.

Normally, federal prosecutors don’t waste time with this sort of rubble-bouncing. So why would Mueller spend the time and resources on it? Because it tells a story about Trump and his campaign. Because it lays a marker.

It’s not clear whether the Constitution allows Mueller to indict a sitting president. But Department of Justice policy forbids it, and Mueller is a rule-follower. If Mueller thinks that the president has committed a federal crime, his remedy is to recommend impeachment in a report to the attorney general. The attorney general, in turn, is supposed to tell Congress the outcome of the special counsel’s investigation and decide whether the report should be made public. Did you catch the problem? The acting attorney general is Matthew Whitaker, Trump’s creature and a vigorous critic of Mueller’s investigation. Mueller has every reason to expect that Whitaker will suppress the report and limit what he shows to Congress.

A formal report is not, however, Mueller’s only way to tell Congress—and the nation—about his conclusions. The journalist Marcy Wheeler has written extensively about her theory that Mueller will “make his report” through court filings against Trump confederates like Manafort and Cohen. On Monday, Mueller accused Manafort of lying to investigators, breaching his cooperation agreement, and committing further federal crimes; he promised he’d bring the receipts when he filed briefs urging a long sentence. Those sentencing briefs will let Mueller tell the story of how Manafort lied about the Trump campaign—and, by extension, lay out the evidence of what the Trump campaign did.

Cohen’s case lets Mueller do the same thing—tell a story, make a report. The information—the charging document to which Cohen pleaded, waiving his right to indictment by grand jury—asserts that the Trump Organization planned a hotel in Russia, communicated with Russian officials about it, and even contemplated sending Trump himself for a visit to Russia well into 2016, contrary to Cohen’s congressional testimony that the plan was abandoned in January 2016. The significance is not just that Cohen lied to Congress. The significance is what he lied about: the fact that Team Trump continued to pursue Russian opportunities well into the campaign. Not only that, but the Information also asserts that Cohen kept Trump (whose identity is not at all concealed as “Individual 1”) and others within the campaign informed about his progress in Russia.

The third remarkable thing about Cohen’s plea was its substance. The president of the United States’ personal lawyer admitted to lying to Congress about the president’s business activities with a hostile foreign power, in order to support the president’s story. In any rational era, that would be earthshaking. Now it’s barely a blip. Over the past two years, we’ve become accustomed to headlines like “President’s Campaign Manager Convicted of Fraud” and “President’s Personal Lawyer Paid for Adult Actress’s Silence.” We’re numb to it all. But these are the sorts of developments that would, under normal circumstances, end a presidency.


They still might. Cohen admitted that he lied to Congress to support President Trump’s version of events. He notably did not claim that he did so at Trump’s request, or that Trump knew he would do it. But if Cohen’s telling the truth this time, then this conclusion, at least, is inescapable: The president, who has followed this drama obsessively, knew that his personal lawyer was lying to Congress about his business activities, and stood by while it happened.

And that’s not all. Cohen’s plea is only one shoe dropping in a boot warehouse. Who else lied to Congress about the pursuit of a hotel deal in Russia? Donald Trump Jr.? Did the president himself lie about it in his recent written answers to Mueller’s questions? (His lawyers claim that his answers matched Cohen’s.) Even if the pursuit of the hotel deal wasn’t criminal (and there’s no evidence that it was), everyone in Trump’s orbit who made statements about it—whether under oath or in interviews with the FBI—is in jeopardy today.

They’re not just in danger from Mueller, either. In just weeks, a Democratic majority will take over the House of Representatives. Control of committees will shift, and subpoenas will fly like arrows at Agincourt. Each hearing will present new terrible choices: Take the Fifth, tell uncomfortable truths, or lie and court perjury charges? Each subpoena is a new chance for frightened Trump associates to make new bad decisions like the ones that have felled Cohen and Manafort and Gates and Flynn and Papadopoulos.

I wouldn’t expect President Trump’s agitated tweets to stop anytime soon.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
"These developments would, under normal circumstances, end a presidency."

Unfortunately, the Senate is still in the hands of traitors and Quislings. However, that does not change the fact that the House has a duty to impeach.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-11-30 07:23pm

Let me start this post by saying I despise Trump and am rooting for Mueller to expose him and his ilk for the scum we all know they are.

That said, I AM getting pretty sick of think pieces and talking heads saying things like, "These developments would, under normal circumstances, end a presidency." What "normal circumstances" are they even referring to? Under "normal circumstances," NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING AT ALL. That's what "normal circumstances" means! The whole point of "normal circumstances" is that under those circumstances we are not having both a
Constitutional and existential crisis as a nation. Everything that is going on right now is utterly unprecedented in American politics. It just seems disingenuous to point to a precedent that doesn't actually exist, using nigh meaningless language like that.

It just irritates me because it's bad writing. Not because I disagree that Trump and his ilk are guilty and deserve to be punished, not because I disagree that the other branches of government have a duty to put a check on unfettered executive writ, but because it especially irks me when people I otherwise agree with make bad arguments. (Not directed at you TRR, directed at the writer of that article, and many other similar ones that use similar dumb language.)

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Re: Mueller Investigation Superthread

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-11-30 08:00pm

I am interested in what Mueller finds, but seriously TRR, a real life Captain America. WTF? Well if Captain America was one of a number who provided such faulty intel that it led to tens of thousands of US dead and wounded and hundreds of thousands Iraqi deaths, then yeah, Mueller is a real life captain America.

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