A Tale Told By An Idiot, Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing

I’m sure you recognize the above quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It also pretty much describes the investigation carried out by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. What started out with many people convinced that Russia interfered in our election has now boiled down to the fact that President Trump paid some women he behaved badly with to keep quiet. Wow. Talk about a downward slide.

Mark Penn, who formerly served as an advisor to President Clinton, posted an article at The Hill yesterday which illustrates some of Robert Mueller’s mendacity.

The article reports:

I’m experiencing 1998 déjà vu as prosecutors once again work overtime to turn extramarital affairs and the efforts to keep them secret into impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors. Unable to get the witnesses to compose the stories they want, today’s prosecutors are discovering they can simply compose the crimes by manipulating the pleas of men desperate to protect their families.

The Michael Cohen sentencing memo took aim directly at both Cohen and President Donald Trump. It was used, unethically, to cast the president as directing a criminal conspiracy to make “secret and illegal” payments. Sentencing memos are not supposed to use secret grand jury info to point fingers at those who are not being sentenced, but that’s exactly what these did.

One can say today that these New York prosecutors, acolytes of fired U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharra, have learned that the “plea’s the thing wherein to catch the king.” First, they went after the man, not the crime, and turned up millions in unpaid taxes and some bank-loan misrepresentations by Cohen. At that point, they convinced him to cave for the sake of his family; the trick was to get him to plead guilty to supposedly two campaign finance “felonies,” and then vaguely implicate the president as directing them (which Trump denies).

Despite promises to the contrary from prosecutors, they threw their star witness off the bus anyway, making him the biggest chump in this drama after he hired attorney Lanny Davis and burned all his bridges with his former client. Once they had the guilty pleas in hand, the prosecutors no longer needed Cohen; they trashed him as a greedy liar and called for substantial jail time.

The reason these two guilty pleas were so valuable is that these prosecutors could not, in my opinion, have gotten them in court. The first payment was not even made by Cohen but by American Media Inc., a bona fide media company with First Amendment protections; it could have decided to use the story that it bought, hold the story, or just prevent some competitor from using the story.

The article cites the legal precedent for the fact that a payment to a mistress or a publication is not a campaign contribution:

Perhaps the biggest difference between oppo research and paying for nondisclosure of an affair is that one is definitely a campaign expense and the other is a personal expense not covered by election law. When prosecutors brought a similar case against former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), they failed to get a conviction and it came out that FEC auditors had determined that the payments from donors to his mistress were not a campaign expense at all.

The article also points out that the typical remedy for a campaign finance violation is a fine–not indictment or impeachment. This charade is getting very old. Robert Mueller has been a man in search of a crime. He felt as if he already had the guilty party in his sights, he just needed to find the crime. Just for the record, that is not how the American justice system is supposed to work.

One Rule For Me And One Rule For Thee

Mark Penn, a former pollster and advisor to President Clinton, posted an op-ed piece at The Hill today. I suspect he is no longer being invited to the Clinton’s dinner parties. The article explains how the plea deal with Michael Cohen is an attempt to set up President Trump. I am amazed at how vicious some of our politicians are when it comes to President Trump. Robert Mueller is a prime example of that, and it is sad.

The op-ed notes:

Why was Michael Cohen investigated? Because the “Steele dossier” had him making secret trips to meet with Russians that never happened, so his business dealings got a thorough scrubbing and, in the process, he fell into the special counsel’s Manafort bin — the bin reserved for squeezing until the juice comes out. And now we are back to 1998 all over again, with presidents and presidential candidates covering up their alleged marital misdeeds and prosecutors trying to turn legal acts into illegal ones by inventing new crimes.

The plot to get President Trump out of office thickens, as Cohen obviously was his own mini-crime syndicate and decided that his betrayals of Trump meant he would be better served turning on his old boss to cut the best deal with prosecutors he could rather than holding out and getting the full Manafort treatment. That was clear the minute he hired attorney Lanny Davis, who doesn’t try cases and did past work for Hillary Clinton. Cohen had recorded his client, trying to entrap him, sold information about Trump (while acting as his lawyer) to corporations for millions of dollars, and didn’t pay taxes on millions.

This is the problem with this case:

The sweetener for the prosecutors, of course, was getting Cohen to plead guilty to campaign finance violations that were not campaign finance violations. Money paid to people who come out of the woodwork and shake down people under threat of revealing bad sexual stories are not legitimate campaign expenditures. They are personal expenditures. That is true for both candidates we like and candidates we don’t. Just imagine if candidates used campaign funds instead of their own money to pay folks like Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about affairs; they would get indicted for misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes and for tax evasion.

There appear to be two payments involved in this unusual plea — Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation for having “coordinated” the American Media Inc. payment to Karen McDougal for her story, not for actually making the payment. So he is pleading guilty over a corporate contribution he did not make.

No one connected in any way with President Trump is treated in the usual way:

The usual procedures here would be for the FEC to investigate complaints and sort through these murky laws to determine if these kinds of payments are personal in nature or more properly classified as campaign expenditures. And, on the Daniels payment that was made and reimbursed by Trump, it is again a question of whether that was made for personal reasons (especially since they have been trying since 2011 to obtain agreement). Just because it would be helpful to the campaign does not convert it to a campaign expenditure. Think of a candidate with bad teeth who had dental work done to look better for the campaign; his campaign still could not pay for it because it’s a personal expenditure.

Meanwhile, Robert Mueller is totally ignoring campaign irregularities from Hillary’s campaign:

Contrast what is going on here with the treatment of the millions of dollars paid to a Democratic law firm which, in turn, paid out money to political research firm Fusion GPS and British ex-spy Christopher Steele without listing them on any campaign expenditure form — despite crystal-clear laws and regulations that the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds must be listed. This rule was even tightened recently. There is no question that hiring spies to do opposition research in Russia is a campaign expenditure, and yet, no prosecutorial raids have been sprung on the law firm, Fusion GPS or Steele. Reason: It does not “get” Trump.

Any investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election that does not include money laundered through Perkins Coie to pay for the Russian dossier does not have credibility. I suspect that will be the point made in the coming months in an attempt to shut down this travesty. The foundation of appointing a Special Prosecutor was totally flawed and the investigation is even more flawed. It is time to let people associated with Donald Trump live in peace. To do otherwise is to criminalize political opinions.

The Dangers Of The Mueller Investigation

Yesterday Mark Penn posted an article at The Hill stating that it is time to end Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The article reminds us:

At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton “matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

With this report on the way and congressional investigators beginning to zero in on the lack of hard, verified evidence for starting the Trump probe, current and former intelligence and Justice Department officials are dumping everything they can think of to save their reputations.

The article states:

This process must now be stopped, preferably long before a vote in the Senate. Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again.

The tactics in this investigation are designed to make people think twice before they participate in a Republican campaign. Michael Flynn and Michael Caputo have both been essentially bankrupted because of their connection with the Trump administration and the Trump campaign. (articles here and here)

The article concludes:

The president’s lawyers need to extend their new aggressiveness from words to action, filing complaints with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility on the failure of Mueller and Rosenstein to recuse themselves and going into court to question the tactics of the special counsel, from selective prosecutions on unrelated matters, illegally seizing Government Services Administration emails, covering up the phone texts of FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and operating without a scope approved by the attorney general. (The regulations call for the attorney general to recuse himself from the investigation but appear to still leave him responsible for the scope.)

The final stopper may be the president himself, offering two hours of testimony, perhaps even televised live from the White House. The last time America became obsessed with Russian influence in America was the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Those ended only when Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) attacked an associate of the U.S. Army counsel, Joseph Welch, and Welch famously responded: “Sir, have you no decency?” In this case, virtually every associate and family member of the president has been subject to smears conveniently leaked to the press.

Stopping Mueller isn’t about one president or one party. It’s about all presidents and all parties. It’s about cleaning out and reforming the deep state so that our intelligence operations are never used against opposing campaigns without the firmest of evidence. It’s about letting people work for campaigns and administrations without needing legal defense funds. It’s about relying on our elections to decide our differences.

In 2016 (and beyond) the leadership of the FBI and Department of Justice were much more of a danger to our Republic than the Russians were.

And The Lies Keep Coming…

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article with the headline, “Media Outraged After Trump Tricks Them To Cover Endorsements From Military Heroes.” The story explains that the media went to the Trump International Hotel expecting Donald Trump to take questions about whether he still questions President Obama’s birthplace. The media is trying very hard to make this an issue in the Presidential campaign (to illustrate that Donald Trump is not a good candidate?). When they got to the press conference, they were treated to a barrage of military endorsements for Trump. It wasn’t what they wanted or expected.

The article reports:

At the very end of the campaign event, Trump finally addressed the topic the media was there to hear. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump said. “Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong again.”

Many reporters, some standing on chairs, began shouting questions over the applause from the guests in attendance. But Trump, having accomplished what he wanted, took none.

Meanwhile, the media has tried very hard to hang the birther controversy on Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the age of google searches has made that impossible.

Yesterday Breitbart reported the following:

The mainstream media, from Bloomberg News to MSNBC to Politico to the Washington Post and more, have all confirmed: Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 campaign for president did substantially further the birther movement.

…It’s not just Hannity, who’s opposed to Clinton’s election and is a supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has confirmed that Clinton’s 2008 campaign and its allies pushed this.

In fact, Politico, in 2011, published a piece from two of its top reporters at the time—Ben Smith and Byron Tau, who have gone on respectively to BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal—specifically detailing how the Clinton campaign was behind birther rumors spreading.

The birther thing is something the media tried to use to attack Donald Trump. It is totally irrelevant at this point. The problem is that most of President Obama’s personal records remain sealed–even after almost eight years in office. That is unusual. That is actually why the birther controversy has continued–there are some genuine questions about some documents relating to President Obama. The mainstream media is getting desperate. They have lost any objectivity or credibility that they might have had. This election will probably mark the end of their influence on the majority of Americans.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

“With Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager admitting on national television and on Twitter that they promoted the rumors surrounding now-President Obama’s heritage, Mr. Trump has been fully vindicated,” Miller (Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller) said. “Not only was a Clinton campaign worker blamed and fired over the activity, we have now been informed that Secretary Clinton was aware of what was going on, with Clinton’s campaign manager even apologizing to Obama’s campaign manager. This still does not explain why Hillary Clinton failed to fire her chief strategist Mark Penn on the spot over the memo he sent her advocating she portray Obama as ‘fundamentally’ foreign. Hillary Clinton didn’t tell the truth about her emails and she didn’t tell the truth about her campaign’s role in pushing these rumors in 2008. This pattern is never going to change, and it’s why nobody trusts Hillary Clinton.”

There will be people who will vote for Hillary Clinton regardless of how many lies she tells. That is their privilege. It is my hope, however, that Americans are tired of the lies that surround Hillary and her campaign and will make a different choice.