Trump Preparing Counteroffensive; Begins Investigating Mueller's Team For Conflicts

Over the past two days there have been some rather substantial developments in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation into alleged ties between President Trump and the Kremlin.  First came the news yesterday that Mueller planned to expand his probe to review Trump's personal business transactions, an announcement which sent stocks tumbling on the day (see: Mueller Expands Probe Into Trump Business Transactions: Dollar Tumbles, Stocks Slammed).  Meanwhile, just this morning we learn that the Trump legal team has been shaken up with Kasowitz out (not terribly surprising after his recent email meltdown) and Corrallo resigning (see Trump Legal Shake Up: Kasowitz Out As Personal Attorney, Corrallo Resigns).

Now, as the New York Times points out, Trump may be preparing a counter-offensive aimed at identifying potential conflicts of interest among the people hired by Mueller in order to force recusals.

President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.

 

The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging. It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as F.B.I. director is part of the special counsel’s investigation.

 

The effort to investigate the investigators is another sign of a looming showdown between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mueller, who has assembled a team of high-powered prosecutors and agents to examine whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers aided Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

Mueller

 

To seek a recusal, Trump’s lawyers can argue their case to Mueller or his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Justice Department has explicit rules about what constitutes a conflict of interest. Prosecutors may not participate in investigations if they have “a personal or political relationship” with the subject of the case. Making campaign donations is not included on the list of things that would create a “political relationship.”

Of course, these developments come as Mueller’s team has allegedly requested documents from the Internal Revenue Service related to Paul Manafort's criminal tax investigation that had been opened long before the Trump campaign began. Manafort was never charged in that case.  Federal investigators have also contacted Deutsche Bank about Trump’s accounts, and the bank is expecting to provide information to Mueller.

Of course, Newt Gingrich, a former 'informal advisor' to President Trump, was among the first to point out the potential conflicts of interest among the folks being hired to fill Mueller's team.

"Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink."

 

As The Hill noted around the same time, several of Mueller's early, notable hires have all been contributors to Hillary's and/or Obama's previous campaigns and Jeannie Rhee actually represented the Clinton Foundation.

Michael Dreeben, who serves as the Justice Department’s deputy solicitor general, is working on a part-time basis for Mueller, The Washington Post reported Friday.

 

Dreeben donated $1,000 dollars to Hillary Clinton’s Senate political action committee (PAC), Friends of Hillary, while she ran for public office in New York. Dreeben did so while he served as the deputy solicitor general at the Justice Department.

 

Jeannie Rhee, another member of Mueller’s team, donated $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign PAC Hillary for America.

 

Andrew Weissmann, who serves in a top post within the Justice Department’s fraud practice, is the most senior lawyer on the special counsel team, Bloomberg reported. He served as the FBI’s general counsel and the assistant director to Mueller when the special counsel was FBI director.

 

Before he worked at the FBI or Justice Department, Weissman worked at the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, during which he donated six times to political action committees for Obama in 2008 for a total of $4,700.

 

James Quarles, who served as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, has donated to over a dozen Democratic PACs since the late 1980s. He was also identified by the Washington Post as a member of Mueller's team.

 

Starting in 1987, Quarles donated to Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis’s presidential PAC, Dukakis for President. Since then, he has also contributed in 1999 to Sen. Al Gore’s run for the presidency, then-Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential bid in 2005, Obama’s presidential PAC in 2008 and 2012, and Clinton’s presidential pac Hillary for America in 2016.

Meanwhile, Trump himself, in a move that surprised a few people on his own legal team, seemed to ramp up the pressure on Mueller alleging to the New York Times that the mere fact that he was interviewing to replace Comey as FBI Director at the time of his appointment as Special Counsel created a conflict of interest. 

Mr. Trump’s advisers are split on how far to go in challenging the independence of Mr. Mueller, a retired F.B.I. director and one of the most respected figures in law enforcement. Some advisers have warned that dismissing Mr. Mueller would create a legal and political mess.

 

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump has kept up the attacks on him. In his interview with The Times, which caught members of his legal team by surprise, he focused on the fact that Mr. Mueller had interviewed to replace Mr. Comey as the F.B.I. director just a day before Mr. Mueller was appointed special prosecutor, saying that the interview could create a conflict.

 

“He was sitting in that chair,” Mr. Trump said during the Oval Office interview. “He was up here, and he wanted the job.” Mr. Trump did not explain how the interview created a conflict of interest.

 

Mr. Trump also said Mr. Mueller would be going outside his mandate if he begins investigating matters unrelated to Russia, like the president’s personal finances. Mr. Trump repeatedly declined to say what he might do if Mr. Mueller appeared to exceed that mandate. But his comments to The Times represented a clear message to Mr. Mueller.

 

“The president’s making clear that the special counsel should not move outside the scope of the investigation,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said during a news briefing on Thursday.

Of course, we suspect that any effort to limit the 'scope' of the Special Counsel's investigation will only result in a redoubling of Mueller's efforts...the only question is how far Trump is willing to push in his 'counteroffensive.'

Comments

MalteseFalcon CheapBastard Fri, 07/21/2017 - 11:40 Permalink

Trump may be preparing a counter-offensive aimed at identifying potential conflicts of interest among the people hired by Mueller in order to force recusals.This "offensive" was too slow in coming.Recusals?  Trump will need Mueller's permission.And the scope of the investigation?Mueller will work the "edge of the envelope", play a game of chicken and dare Trump to do anything about it.Trump must immediately begin prosecution of a major Obama administration figure and make it clear that all the shit is going to hit the fan.And if AG Sessions is not up for that, he should resign immediately.

In reply to by CheapBastard

BarkingCat MalteseFalcon Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:03 Permalink

Maybe the already are in a middle of an investigation that is sending the democrats into a panic.The democrats know aboutit but the public is kept in the dark for now.Maybe that is why Mueller is fishing far and wide. I hope that is the case. If it is not, then Trump should tell Sessions to apoint a special prosecutor to look into the following:- Fast and Furious - Soros meddling in foreign governments- Soros funding domestic terrorist groups  (Antifa and BLM)- Clinton Foundation  That is a good start.Hell, if it is true that Russia has a international arrest warrant out for Soros, Trump should have him picked up and delivered to Russia immediately  (before he has a chance to contest it in court ). 

In reply to by MalteseFalcon

StarGate CheapBastard Fri, 07/21/2017 - 13:39 Permalink

Mueller is final architect of the official explanation of the 911-WTC attack post his FBI investigation. If you believe that investigation result then Mueller is clean cop.

Per FBI:
19 unsophisticated Arabs who could not speak English, except in pre-recorded tapes, were led to attack WTC, Pentagon and WH by their leader Osama Bin Laden, who was not Yemeni born as the Lad B. Obama.

The 19 (911 backwards) Arabs learned to fly the world's most sophisticated and complex airplane jets thru video games and hanging out a few weeks in backwoods small airports. In each instance they overcame airplanes with dozens of full blooded American men aboard, some of whom were trained military veterans, but were afraid of the small Arab speaking fellows because they had tiny box cutters.

Members of the 19 unsophisticated Arabs were able to fly an airplane into the Pentagon and leave no evidence of the airplane behind.

They were able to bring down WTC #7 building without touching it or seeing it. Perhaps they used secret Arab code words like "abracadabra".

The reason they did it per Mueller's FBI, is because the USA did not have a Muslim government.

Link to court case:
https://www.justice.gov/archives/ag/indictment-zacarias-moussaoui

In reply to by CheapBastard

MrBoompi Teja Fri, 07/21/2017 - 11:44 Permalink

Nobody who makes billions of dollars is as clean as a whistle.  No one elected to the White House is as clean as a whistle.  Nodody is saying Trump is as clean as a whistle.  It appears you hate Trump.  Fine.  Just don't give me any fucking bullshit about Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, or the DNC being cleaner than Trump.  That's preposterous.  

In reply to by Teja

StarGate jimmy12345 Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:51 Permalink

Mueller was protected by Bush(s)-Cheney then by Obama-Clinton(s). Cheney / Bush Sr are fading as are the Clintons. McCain and Pelosi are fading. Obama, Schumer and Schiff are only ones left on the open playing field to protect Mueller. All the rest are invisible CIA-NSA-FBI deep state players.

As soon as the American public wake up (agreed, they are asleep in front of TV) and start asking:

Wait a minute...
Honorable Mueller gave us the official 911-WTC story,
He gave us the official WMD Saddam Iraq story,
He gave us the official Benghazi story,
He was involved in Waco attack on American children,
then what was his role in the OK city story?

So now I have to believe his Russia story too?

In reply to by jimmy12345

11b40 overbet Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:14 Permalink

Not just liberals, but almost all of ConGress praised him. After all, he was the Chief of the Swamp Police for 12 of some of the worst years this country has endured. 9/11, the lies leading up to the Iraq invasion, all the financial garbage that has ruined the economy, and more.:..all under the watchful eyes of Mueller. So, what's not to like?

In reply to by overbet

FrozenGoodz (not verified) Theta_Burn Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:15 Permalink

There'll be riots if Mueller's fired. Anyone he pardons can be compelled to testify without any grant of immunity, and that testimony could undo him. If he pardons himself, impeachment is specifically carved out of the presidential pardon power within the Constitution, so if Trump were impeached, he’d have no counter to that action.

In reply to by Theta_Burn

LyLo Sparehead Fri, 07/21/2017 - 11:45 Permalink

Downvote this all you want, Frozen: you know he's right.  And they know it, hence why the "resistance" is confined to places that voted overwhelmingly against Trump; the instant that these marches hit anywhere with even a minimal conservative presence, suddenly all their "brave" marchers are outed for the fucked up violent bigots that they clearly are, and that's the end of it.  They don't even have to "hand them their ass," as honestly, the "resistance" is so shallow they don't even merit a real response at this point.(Not to say I'm not nervous: violent leftists in institutions of higher learning has a very scary history, and it should be taken seriously...  But so far, they kinda suck so badly we really haven't even needed to, which I am more than happy to see.  lol  You'd think, what with them willing to openly look up to the most violent and crazed voices in history, that they'd be a more effective.  Unfortunately for them, they'd have to have read the things those people wrote to effectively emulate them, which would immediately sap support as people see the tactics for what they are and many of them don't seem big readers anyways...  It's a vicious and cruel irony being the idot left right now.  Fucking lulz.)

In reply to by Sparehead

NidStyles LyLo Fri, 07/21/2017 - 14:05 Permalink

They'd find out like the Saul Alinksy's of their day that people like Stalin despised them and put their ilk in the camps first. There's a reason why the Marxists say Stalin was a right-wing Authoritarian now. It's because he didn't take the crap from the agitators and degenerates.He revolted against the hard left and the revolutionaries. He was literally a man they created by trying to kill off all the men like him.He disbanded their organizations, razed the Jewish temples where that crap was being taught, and executed most of the NKVD and replaced it with the KGB.They created their own worse nightmare and he turned on them like he was meant to. That's why the Marxist professors don't push their "tools" to read history anymore. Because those "tools" started realizing who they were dealing with when they saw how Stalin fought them continuously for decades even during WWII, and what sort of fate awaited them once they willingly did all the heavy lifting for the Bolsheviks. They realized they had been conned into destroying their own heritage and handing it over to a ruthless group of people that would create a systematic genocide of those whom were deemed too good to hard to be controlled. Essentially eugenically selecting intelligence and willpower out of the population. How that system would only make it so someone like Stalin would appear. A man so ruthless, that only his direct adversary like Mao would beat him on the scale of depravity.Only a man like that could survive in such a system and actually seize control. Marxists simply don't understand natural selection. The more grotesque the system, the greater the tyrant that will seize it. By trying to genocide a people, you only select out the compassionate ones that keep the Stalins of that society in check. You effectively are creating your own enemy by selecting all those that would prevent him from doing it in the first place. 

In reply to by LyLo

lew1024 NidStyles Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:30 Permalink

You are a fellow Discordian, whether you are aware of our doctrines or not.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiscordianismIndeed, all of the forces of history come from someone trying to organize things their way, which produces the forces that oppose it. Entropy, a higher-level Constructal Law in the operation of evolutionary systems.  The CL specifies the evolution of systems of flow. Discordianism is a social manifestation of the organization of evolving societal forces.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructal_lawYin-Yan, You cannot measure force without inertia or force. It goes deep into nature and evolution.;). 

In reply to by NidStyles

HumanMan FrozenGoodz (not verified) Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:33 Permalink

Bring on the riots! Let us have at it already. If you're mad enough to break stuff because the guy trying to take out the president is fired, you're mad enough to do so now because trump is still there! Let's have a nice big riot from sea to shining sea, and the rest of us will come out to play too. I welcome it, I've got a lot of contempt built up from the last year of lies and injustice. It's time to play Cowboys and indians,

In reply to by FrozenGoodz (not verified)

BarkingCat FrozenGoodz (not verified) Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:18 Permalink

 oh fuck you.The Trump even investigated by special prosecutor is absurd. Obama should have been investigated dozen times or more yet  no one even ever suggested it.  fuck it, Trump should order the justice department to truly investigate whether Obama was eligible to be president.I want that shit settled.  That issue should not be a question mark in presidential history.Right now it is as all the evidence that was put forth by Obama's team proven is fake or at the very least there is a very strong argument that it is fake

In reply to by FrozenGoodz (not verified)

Not My Real Name LyLo Fri, 07/21/2017 - 12:45 Permalink

Exactly. But remember, leftists believe the Constitution is a "living breathing document" that can be interpreted to mean whatever the hell they feel is appropriate for a given set of circumstances.If the Constitution's words can be twisted to mean anything, then it stands for nothing.  

In reply to by LyLo