Friday, December 15, 2017

Our Not-So-Independent Counsel

By John Hinderaker

Mark Steyn turns his gimlet eye on Robert Mueller’s “independent” investigation of…something. Mark’s survey isn’t definitive; it is much too early for that. But it is illuminating and, as always, entertaining.

He begins by pointing out that Mueller, a lifelong swamp denizen, is anything but independent. As for the Beltway consensus that Mueller is a “straight shooter”:
My advice is that, whenever lifelong swampers assure us of the integrity of any individual, assume “straight arrow” is Beltway-speak for “slimey duplicitous permanent-state operator” and you can’t go wrong.
Now we get to the headlines that have engrossed conservatives in recent days:
3) One of the first things Mueller did was to appoint FBI counter-intelligence honcho Peter Strzok to his “independent” team.
He should not have done that. Not because Strzok is a Democrat (presumably almost everyone at the FBI votes either Democrat or Republican), but because Strzok had been a key player in Comey’s Hillary investigation. The investigators’ comparative treatment of the two candidates was already an issue, and the subject of the Russia investigation had already spent the better part of a year denouncing the investigation of his rival as a sham and a disgrace. In effect, Trump had already, without even knowing of the guy’s existence or his Zelig-like ubiquity, questioned Strzok’s integrity. So why appoint him to a second investigation?
4) Furthermore, why similarly appoint his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, to both investigations? The FBI has over 35,000 employees.
Yet the same handful of key players are running both the Clinton and Trump cases, even though the latter is supposed to be “independent”. So the same operatives are meeting with MI6 dossier-concocter Christopher Steele, and going to the FISA court to get surveillance warrants, and entrapping Michael Flynn.
The appalling Mueller effectively merged the two investigations into one continuous caper run soup to nuts by the same crowd. Phase One: Get Hillary off the hook. Phase Two: Get Trump on it.
5) Just as the Hillary investigation merged with the Trump investigation, so both merged with Fusion GPS, the oppo-research guys working for the Clinton campaign.
The conflicts of interest intertwine so thoroughly that they reach up beyond the FBI into the highest reaches of the Department of Justice. At this stage, it would be no surprise to learn that Mueller and Comey had accidentally failed to disclose that they were the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Fusion GPS. Am I exaggerating? By maybe a hair. This week it emerged that the Associate Deputy Attorney-General, Bruce Ohr, “failed to disclose” that his wife Nellie was working for Fusion GPS.
Oh, really? On the reception desk? As a security guard? No, she was hired by Fusion GPS to do anti-Trump research.
I’m so old, I can remember when most Americans would be shocked to learn that the FBI intervened on behalf of one candidate in a presidential election. Now on to the most notable illicit liaison of our time:
Granted no man is a hero to his valet or his sexter, but even so the juvenile witlessness of their [Peter Strzok’s and Lisa Page’s] billets doux is remarkable for one of America’s most senior counter-intelligence figures and therefore presumably someone trained to be circumspect in insecure communications. Instead, he gives us John le CarrĂ© as rewritten by Teen Beat.
Some of the notorious texts follow. Mark has an interesting take on the infamous August 15, 2016 text:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…
“He” is Trump. “Andy’s office” is believed to be that of the Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, who was in charge of the Trump investigation – then just a few weeks old. The conversation appears to be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity while on duty and in a government office.
But what does “I’m afraid we can’t take that risk” (of Trump winning) actually mean?
Does it mean, for example, that “I’m going to dress up this dodgy Christopher Steele dossier Hillary and Fusion GPS passed along to us into something a bit more credible-seeming and take it to the FISA court to get authorization to tap everyone around Trump round the clock until we hit paydirt”?
9) The above text explains why Mueller hired the same-old-same-old Hillary crowd for his supposed “independent” investigation into Trump: The same people had to run both investigations because otherwise the new investigators would discover the shenanigans of the old investigators. Putting Strzok and Page on the team was the FBI’s way of protecting itself.
I’m not sure I’m persuaded, but it’s an interesting idea to say the least. The bottom line is:
a) The only people improperly colluding with foreigners are Fusion GPS, the Hillary campaign, the FBI Hillary investigation, the FBI Trump investigation and the Associate Deputy Attorney-General, all of whom are colluding with Brit spook Christopher Steele to get the goods on Trump.
b) The only person colluding with the Russians is Christopher Steele, former head of “the Russia house” at MI6.
But of course, the collusion that happened is not the collusion that supposedly is being investigated. “Independently.”
Finally, if you aren’t regularly reading Steyn OnLine, you are missing out on a lot of fun as well as a great deal of insight.