What Goes Around
Just how dead is the RussiaGate story - and how brain-dead are the House Democratic Committee chairmen, Nadler (Judiciary Committee) and Schiff (Intelligence Committee) to haul RussiaGate’s front-man, Robert Mueller back into the spotlight where the next thing to roll over and die will be Mr. Mueller’s evanescent reputation? The entrapment operation that was the Special Counsel’s covert mission has turned out to be Mr. Mueller own personal booby-trap, prompting the question: is it possible that he’s just not very bright?
Though Mr. Mueller’s final report asserted that the Russian government interfered in “a sweeping and systemic fashion” to influence the 2016 election, the 450-page great tome contains zero evidence to support that claim, and the discrepancy was actually noticed by federal judge Dabney Friedrich who is presiding over the case against the alleged Russian Facebook trolls that was one of the two tent-poles in the RussiaGate fantasy. The case is now blowing up in Robert Mueller’s face.
In early 2018, Mr. Mueller sold a DC grand jury on producing indictments against a Russian outfit called the Internet Research Agency and its parent company Concord Management, owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin for the so-called election meddling. The indictment was celebrated as a huge coup at the time by the likes of CNN and The New York Times, styled as a silver bullet in the heart of the Trump presidency. But the indicted parties were all in Russia, and could not be extradited, and there was zero expectation that any actual trial would ever take place — leaving Mueller & Co. off-the-hook for proving their allegations.
To the great surprise of Mr. Mueller and his “team,” Mr. Prigozhin hired some American lawyers to defend his company in court. Smooth move. It automatically triggered the discovery process, by which the accused is entitled to see the evidence that prosecutors hold. It turned out that Mr. Mueller’s team had no evidence that the Russian government was involved with the Facebook pranks. This annoyed Judge Friedrich, who ordered Mr. Mueller and his lawyers to desist making public statements about Concord and IRA’s alleged “sweeping and systemic” collusion with Russia, and threatened legal sanctions if they did.
Judge Friedrich’s rulings were unsealed in early July, after Messers Nadler and Schiff had already scheduled Mr. Mueller’s testimony before their committees. And now they’re stuck with him. The only purpose of his appearance was to repeat and reinforce the narrative that the Russian government interfered in the election, which he is now forbidden to do, at least in connection to the Concord and IRA’s activities. But the other tentpole of the two-year-plus inquisition has also collapsed: the allegation that Russian intel hacked the DNC servers. It’s now a matter of public record that the DNC servers were never examined by federal officials. They were purportedly scrutinized by a DNC contractor called CrowdStrike, co-founded by Russian Dimitri Alperovitch, an adversary of Vladimir Putin, active in US-based anti-Putin lobbying and PR. CrowdStrike’s “draft” report on their review of the server was laughably incomplete, and the Mueller team’s lawyers took no steps to validate it.
It would be interesting to hear Robert Mueller’s explanation for how come US computer forensic experts were never dispatched to take possession of the DNC servers. Surely a ranking member on either House committee would have to ask him that, along with many other embarrassing questions about the stupendously sloppy and disingenuous work of the Special Counsel’s team. It was only one glaring omission among many.
The whole affair now takes on tragic contours of Shakespearean dimensions. The Attorney General, Mr. Barr, is said to be an “old friend” of Mr. Mueller. They clashed pretty publicly after the release of Mr. Mueller’s long-awaited final report. Mr. Barr must at least be dismayed by the bad faith and deliberate deceit in his old friend’s final report, and he really has to do something about it. The entire Mueller episode smacks of prosecutorial misconduct. In retrospect, it can only be explained as a desperate act undertaken by foolishly overconfident political activists.
If Mr. Mueller thought he was being enlisted to play an historically heroic role to help get rid of an elected president detested by the Establishment, then he made the blunder of a lifetime. It was not the first blunder of his long career, but it was the final and fatal one. It is not out of the question that Mr. Mueller himself may eventually be the one indicted and convicted of real crimes against the people of the United States.