While Robert Mueller was making the headlines with his appearance on Capitol Hill, the internal investigation at the Justice Department was continuing as to the source of the charges of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign.
Fox News posted an article today about that investigation. Before I go into the details, I think we need to consider why the internal investigation is important. Despite what the Democrats are trying to spin, Mueller, in the afternoon session and his opening remarks, made it clear that there was no evidence of collusion. His task was to look for collusion. The second part of his report, based on speculation by news sources, tried to imply that there was obstruction. That charge was based on conversations and thoughts–not actions. The President talked about firing Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller was not fired. Was talking about it a crime? Using that standard, you can pretty much find anyone guilty of anything. If I decide that I need money and say that I want to rob a bank, is that a crime? Not unless I follow through on it.
The internal investigation is important to determine the source of the charges against candidate Trump. If the source is questionable or political, then the same technique can be used against any future President. That does not bode well for our republic.
The Fox News article points out a few basic things the internal investigation has uncovered:
The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.
The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.
The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.
The story continues:
A source told Fox News that the “exculpatory evidence” included in the transcripts is Papadopoulos denying having any contact with the Russians to obtain the supposed “dirt” on Clinton.
But Papadopoulos did not only meet with Mifsud and Downer while overseas. He met with Cambridge professor and longtime FBI informant Stefan Halper and his female associate, who went under the alias Azra Turk. Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, once over dinner and once with Halper. He also told Fox News back in May that he always suspected he was being recorded. Further, he tweeted during the Mueller testimony about “recordings” of his meeting with Downer.
…Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., now a Fox News contributor, first signaled the existence of transcripts of secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and Papadopoulos earlier this year.
“If the bureau’s going to send in an informant, the informant’s going to be wired, and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls, there’s going to be a transcript of that,” Gowdy said in May on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” acknowledging he was aware of the files and suggesting they included exculpatory information.
The article concludes:
The Barr-Durham review is likely to draw more attention following Mueller’s highly anticipated testimony on Capitol Hill. Republicans sought to focus their questioning on the origins of the Russia investigation under then-Director James Comey’s FBI—a topic Mueller repeatedly said was “out of his purview” due to the ongoing investigation being led by the Justice Department. Another review is being conducted by the DOJ inspector general.
“Maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Wednesday. “Here’s the good news—that’s exactly what Bill Barr is doing and thank goodness for that.”
The fact that an investigation which began with the misuse of government agencies to spy on a political opponent has taken two years is a miscarriage of justice. Those responsible need to be severely penalized so that the country never has to go through this again.