Tag: Robert Mueller

THE LIST: Not a Single Special Counsel Indictment Mentions Russian Collusion

Robert Mueller’s special counsel has resulted in dozens of indictments and subsequent charges, which many casual observers on the Left seem to view as confirmation that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Witch hunts (even of the literal nature) always find some “guilty” individuals, though a common theme is that their guilt has nothing to do with the original goal of the hunt. That’s on full display in Mueller’s special counsel.

When Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller’s special counsel after the firing of James Comey, it authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”

After reviewing those charges, it’s clear that no evidence of “collusion” has been uncovered.

George Papadopoulos

First charged: October 3, 2017.

Charges: One count of making false statements to the FBI.

Specifics: Made misleading statements to the FBI about his interactions with “an overseas professor” (Joseph Mifsud) who had alleged ties to the Russian government. Mifsud has donated to the Clinton Foundation in the past. No charges relating to actual Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Rick Gates and Paul Manafort

First charged: October 27, 2017, then February 22, 2018.

Charges: Manafort – Found guilty of 8 counts: five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. Gates – 2 counts: conspiracy against the United States and false statements.

Specifics: All regarding tax evasion and money laundering. Zero charges are related to collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Michael Flynn 

First charged: November 30, 2017.

Charges: One count of making false statements to the FBI. Flynn allegedly lied during an interview with two agents.

Specifics: As James Comey confirmed, neither of the FBI agents that Flynn allegedly lied to thought that Flynn was being untruthful. Flynn spoke to a Russian ambassador following the 2016 election, which is standard given Flynn’s former position. Flynn was quizzed on the contents of his conversation with the ambassador, none of which were criminal. The FBI had known this because they surveilled Flynn’s call and knew its exact contents before testing Flynn on how well he could recall it.

Richard Pinedo

First charged: February 2, 2018.

Charges: One count of identity theft.

Specifics: Pinedo operated the website Auction Essistance, which brokered bank account numbers to allow people banned from eBay and PayPal  (and similar websites) to return to those websites under a different identity. Pinedo transferred, possessed and used the identities of other people in connection with unlawful activity, according to a statement of the offense. I’m not sure how this could have less to do with Russian collusion.

Alex van der Zwaan

First charged: February 2, 2018.

Charges: Lying to the FBI and Special Counsel about his interactions with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik (a Ukrainian associate of Manafort).

Specifics: None relating to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Dzheykhun Aslanov, Gleb Vasilchenko, Internet Research Agency LLC, Irina Kaverzina Vladimir Venkov, Anna Bogacheva Maria Bovda Robert Bovda Mikhail Burchik Mikhail Bystrov Aleksandra Krylova Vadim Podkopaev Sergey Polozov Yevgeny Prigozhin Concord Catering, and Concord Management and Consulting LLC

First charged: February 16, 2018

Charges: Multiple charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Specifics: Mueller alleges that the Russians indicted “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” with the key word being “unwitting,” as there’s no evidence that the Trump campaign members knew. More specifically, their crimes include “making expenditures in connection with the 2016 U.S. presidential election without proper regulatory disclosure; failing to register as foreign agents carrying out political activities within the United States; and obtaining visas through false and fraudulent statements.”

While they did try to interfere with the U.S. election, there is no evidence of collusion.

Konstantin Kilimnik

First charged: June 8, 2018

Charges: Two counts: obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Specifics: Communicated with Rick Gates and Paul Manafort (who he’d known since 2005), and aided them in laundering money. “Russia” is mentioned in his indictment only when referencing to the country as a location.

Boris Antonov, Dmitriy Badin, Nikolay Kozachek, Aleksey Lukashev, Artem Malyshev, Sergey Morgachev, Viktor Netyksho, Aleksey Potemkin, Ivan Yermakov, Pavel Yershov, Aleksandr Osadchuk, and Anatoliy Kovalev

First charged: August 31, 2018.

Charges: Multiple charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money.

Specifics: Attempted interference with U.S. election, but not through collusion with the Trump campaign. Also money laundering and identity theft.

W. Samuel Patten

First charged: August 31, 2018

Charges: Violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Specifics: Patten failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department when he represented the Ukrainian political party “Opposition Bloc” from 2014 through 2018. He also admitted to laundering a $50,000 donation from Kilmnik to the Trump inauguration committee (there is no evidence to suggest anyone associated with the Trump campaign knew anything of this).

In Conclusion

Mueller has burned no shortage of witches at the stake with his investigation – but we still have yet to see a single charge of witchcraft.

Are “Only Republicans” Investigating Trump?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

President Donald Trump has referred to Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, which is investigating supposed Russian collusion, as a “witch hunt” on no shortage of occasions.

Given that none of the Trump associates charged thus far have been charged with anything relating to Russian collusion (Paul Manafort and Rick Gates being charged with tax evasion and money laundering, and George Papadapoulos with lying to the FBI), the “witch hunt” characterization sounds appropriate.

But not so fast says a meme on the unjustifiably popular Facebook page “Occupy Democrats.” It can’t possibly be a witch hunt. Why? Because Mueller is a Republican!

So we’re to assume that because Mueller is a Republican, he couldn’t possibly have any such vendetta against Trump. Perhaps Occupy Democrats needs to be put in touch with John McCain, Jeff Flake, or the literally hundreds of other Republican public figures opposed to Trump.

And here’s another thing: we don’t really know if Mueller is a Republican. All we know is that he was….. as of 2001. If he is a Republican, he doesn’t tend to surround himself with his ideological peers. To review the composition of his Special Counsel:

  • Not a single one of the 17 publicly confirmed attorney’s on Mueller’s team is a registered Republican.
  • Nine of the 17 are registered Democrats.
  • At least 10 of the 17 have made political donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

Mueller heads the Special Counsel, but it’s a team without a single Republican doing all the legwork.

The next claim on the meme is that because Republican Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller to head the Counsel, that too must “prove” that it’s not a witch hunt. It’s important to understand that the Special Counsel is merely a continuation of a (formally) secret FBI counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign that began in July 2016.

And in response to that, one abiding by what Occupy Democrats considers “logic” will naturally point out that Comey too was a Republican (now Independent). But in Comey’s case, we know more about his background, and thanks to his book tour, we know he never had Trump’s interests in mind:

  • While Hillary Clinton blames Comey reopening the FBI’s faux-investigation into her private email server two weeks before the election before her loss (among the other billion causes she blames), Comey said he did so to legitimize her “inevitable” Presidency. “…I’m sure that it was a factor,” Comey said in his interview with George Stephanopoulos. “That she’s going to be elected President and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.”
  • Comey also revealed that his entire family support Hillary. “I didn’t take a poll among all the kids, but I’m pretty sure that at least my four daughters, probably all five of my kids, wanted Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president,” James Comey said. “My wife and girls marched in the Women’s March the day after President Trump’s inauguration,” he continued. His wife told ABC she was “devastated” by Trump’s victory.
  • Most significantly, in an interview on the ABC News podcast “Start Here,” Comey was asked if he still considers himself to be a Republican. “No,” Comey replied. “The Republican party has left me, and many others.”

So we don’t know if Mueller is a Republican, and Comey certainly isn’t. Regardless, even if they were, that wouldn’t mean much, unless you see the world through the hyperpartisan, black-and-white lens that Occupy Democrats seems to. It should go without saying that actions speak louder than party affiliation.