ABC News reported Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation last month, may be considering recusing himself from that investigation.
According to ABC, “sources” stated that Rosenstein, the number two man at the Department of Justice, “has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter.”
The DOJ, however, insisted the deputy attorney general’s stance on recusal remains the same. “As the Deputy Attorney General has said numerous times, if there comes a point when he needs to recuse, he will. However, nothing has changed,” DOJ Spokesman Ian Prior told Breitbart News.
Rosenstein came to be the top law enforcement official with regard to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections after he was sworn in in April. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions himself had recused himself based on his being involved in the Trump presidential campaign.
Following the leak of ex-FBI Director James Comey’s now-infamous “let this go” memo, supposedly based on a conversation between President Donald Trump and himself, in May, Rosenstein made the decision to appoint Mueller as special counsel for the investigation.
Under oath before Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey admitted he himself leaked the memo to the press through friend and Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman with the specific purpose of forcing Rosenstein’s hand to make that appointment. Mueller was Comey’s predecessor as head of the FBI and a friend and mentor of his.
Questions have been raised about the future of Mueller’s role, especially given his appointment of several attorneys who have either represented the Clinton Foundation in the past or were themselves donors to the Hillary Clinton campaign for president to serve beneath him in the investigation.
The prospect of Rosenstein’s recusal comes amid reports the rapidly expanding special counsel investigation is shifting away from alleged collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign and towards allegations of obstruction of justice by the president. President Trump has vigorously objected to the propriety of such an investigation.
Presumably, a probe into possible obstruction would involve investigating the Comey’s firing in May. Rosenstein himself wrote the memorandum on which Trump ostensibly made that decision, calling for Comey’s dismissal based on his handling of the Clinton email server scandal.
His involvement in the firing has lead to speculation Rosenstein may need to act as a witness for Mueller’s investigation. Asked about the prospect and his potential need to recuse during his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rosenstein said only, “I am working with career professionals who know these rules and are responsible for enforcing these rules, and I can assure you that we’re going to do the right thing, and we’re going to defend the integrity of that investigation.”
The same ABC report cited sources claiming Rosenstein has not, as of yet, formally asked DOJ ethics attorneys for advice on recusal.
A growing group of law professors, however, have joined the president in questioning Mueller’s decision to look into obstruction over the matter. Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has told media outlets several times that he does not think a case for obstruction is possible given the facts, as has Florida International University College of Law’s Elizabeth Price Foley.
Randy Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center’s Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, called on Mueller to resign over his own ties to Comey, also a subject of the investigation, in a series of tweets Thursday:
Should the deputy attorney general choose to recuse himself, ultimate authority for the Russia investigation would fall to DOJ’s number three, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.
Trump’s Winning Strategy To Defeat Russia/Obstruction Of Justice Probe Revealed
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR MUELLER IS A POLITICAL HACK
June 16, 2017
The New York Times characterizes special prosecutor Robert Mueller as being independent and fair:
Robert S. Mueller III managed in a dozen years as F.B.I. director to stay above the partisan fray, carefully cultivating a rare reputation for independence and fairness.
Let’s fact-check the Times …
Mueller presided over the incredibly flawed anthrax investigation.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the FBI’s investigation was “flawed and inaccurate”. The investigation was so bogus that a senator called for an “independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case.”
The head of the FBI’s anthrax investigation says the whole thing was a sham. He says that the FBI higher-ups “greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation”, that there were “politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters”.
Moreover, the anthrax investigation head said that the FBI framed scientist Bruce Ivins. On July 6, 2006, the FBI’s anthrax investigation FBI Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303, which noted:
(j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.
Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions.
UNSURE ABOUT ASSASSINATION OF U.S. CITIZENS LIVING ON U.S. SOIL
Rather than saying “of course not!”, Mueller said that he wasn’t sure whether Obama had the right to assassinate Americans living on American soil.
Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley commented at the time:
One would hope that the FBI Director would have a handle on a few details guiding his responsibilities, including whether he can kill citizens without a charge or court order.
He appeared unclear whether he had the power under the Obama Kill Doctrine or, in the very least, was unwilling to discuss that power. For civil libertarians, the answer should be easy: “Of course, I do not have that power under the Constitution.”
SPYING ON AMERICANS
NBC News reports:
NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.
On March 2011, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee:
We put in place technological improvements relating to the capabilities of a database to pull together past emails and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search.
Remember, the FBI – unlike the CIA – deals with internal matters within the borders of the United States.
On May 1st of this year, former FBI agent Tim Clemente told CNN’s Erin Burnett that all present and past phone calls were recorded:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the ainvestigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”
The next day, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:
NSA whistleblowers say that this means that the NSA collects “word for word” all of our communications.
Mueller’s FBI was also severely criticized by Department of Justice Inspector Generals finding the FBI overstepped the lhttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=68066&action=edita… improperly serving hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating “terrorism.”
FBI special agent Colleen Rowley points out:
Mueller was even okay with the CIA conducting torture programs after his own agents warned against participation. Agents were simply instructed not to document such torture, and any “war crimes files” were made to disappear. Not only did “collect it all” surveillance and torture programs continue, but Mueller’s (and then Comey’s) FBI later worked to prosecute NSA and CIA whistleblowers who revealed these illegalities.
When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War … Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included … CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.
POST 9/11 ROUND-UP
FBI special agent Rowley also notes:
Beyond ignoring politicized intelligence, Mueller bent to other political pressures. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the “post 9/11 round-up” of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for FBI press releases about FBI “progress” in fighting terrorism. Consequently, some of the detainees were brutalized and jailed for up to a year despite the fact that none turned out to be terrorists.
9/11 COVER UP
Rowley points out:
The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in. I actually had a chance to meet Director Mueller personally the night before I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee … [he was] trying to get us on his side, on the FBI side, so that we wouldn’t say anything terribly embarrassing. …
But overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable. Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable. Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.
Rowley also said says:
TIME Magazine would probably have not called my own disclosures a “bombshell memo” to the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry in May 2002 if it had not been for Mueller’s having so misled everyone after 9/11.
In addition, Rowley says that the FBI sent Soviet-style “minders” to her interviews with the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation of 9/11, to make sure that she didn’t say anything the FBI didn’t like. The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 confirmed that government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses (and see this).
Mueller’s FBI also obstructed the 9/11 investigation in many other ways. For example, an FBI informant hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000. Specifically, investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location. And see this.
And Kristen Breitweiser – one of the four 9/11 widows instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks – points out:
Mueller and other FBI officials had purposely tried to keep any incriminating information specifically surrounding the Saudis out of the Inquiry’s investigative hands. To repeat, there was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. And for the exception of the 29 full pages, they succeeded in their effort.
Rather than being “above the fray”, Mueller is an authoritarian and water-carrier for the status quo and the powers-that-be.
As Coleen Rowley puts it:
It seems clear that based on his history and close “partnership” with Comey, called “one of the closest working relationships the top ranks of the Justice Department have ever seen,” Mueller was chosen as Special Counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.
Mueller didn’t speak the truth about a war he knew to be unjustified. He didn’t speak out against torture. He didn’t speak out against unconstitutional surveillance. And he didn’t tell the truth about 9/11. He is just “their man.”
While not the worst of the bunch, neither Comey nor Mueller deserve their Jimmy Stewart ‘G-man’ reputations for absolute integrity but have merely been, along the lines of George ‘Slam Dunk’ Tenet, capable and flexible politicized sycophants to power, that enmeshed them in numerous wrongful abuses of power along with presiding over plain official incompetence. It’s sad that political partisanship is so blinding and that so few people remember the actual sordid history.
Related previous posts on this blog