WERE “SPIES” DEPLOYED TO FOIL A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, THEN “FRAME” MEMBERS OF HIS CAMPAIGN?
by Sharon Rondeau
At approximately 7:30 AM EST, Trump issued three tweets asking rhetorical questions as to whether or not Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is “totally conflicted” after having appointed Mueller to investigate Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election; allegations of Trump campaign aides’ “collusion” with Russian operatives; and the circumstances behind Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017.
Rosenstein generated the letter upon which Trump relied in terminating Comey while Comey was in Los Angeles speaking at an event. Comey and Trump have since called each other “liars.”
No date for Mueller’s report and whether or not it will be a final one stemming from his 19-month-long investigation has been reported, although some observers say that signs point to an imminent winding-down of the probe, assumed from the FBI after indications of political bias within the Bureau were discovered.
From its inception, Trump has claimed that the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt” which will ultimately find no evidence that anyone from his campaign, including himself, “colluded” with Russia to obtain victory over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. During the campaign, neither Trump nor any of his campaign staff was informed that the FBI suspected any illegal activity or communications on the part of his staffers with Russian operatives.
Mueller’s work thus far has produced more than two dozen indictments, although with a majority naming Russian citizens and entities who will likely never face trial given that no extradition agreement exists between Russia and the United States. One company has challenged the criminal charges and hired an American law firm to defend itself.
Americans indicted for what is termed “process crimes” as a result of the Mueller probe are George Papadopoulos, who is completing a two-week prison term resulting from a plea agreement made last fall; Rick Gates, an aide to one-time Trump campaign manager and longtime Republican strategist Paul Manafort; Manafort himself, who ran the Trump campaign for less than four months but was indicted for “conspiracy to obstruct justice” related to his years-long work as a lobbyist; and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret), Trump’s first national security advisor, for accepting a plea agreement in which he said he lied to the FBI about his contacts and conversations during the Obama-Trump transition period.
Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen also pleaded “guilty” to lying to Congress as to the timing of a proposed Trump Organization project in Moscow which did not materialize; to income-tax evasion; and for facilitating payments to two women alleging encounters with Trump “for the purpose of influencing the election” “at the direction of the candidate,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Three others pleaded “guilty” to the crimes of identity fraud, lying to the FBI, and lobbying for a foreign nation without properly registering with the U.S. government.
In his tweets later Friday morning, Trump claimed that reports stating that his own legal team “will not be doing a counter to the Mueller Report” constitute “Fake News.” He then revealed that “Already 87 pages done, but obviously cannot complete until we see the final Which Hunt Report.”
Several months ago, former New York City Mayor and federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team and provided a number of media interviews in which he indicated that the Mueller probe could conclude prior to the 2018 midterm elections. Giuliani has also insisted that his client has done nothing wrong
Some in the media and legal circles have questioned whether or not Mueller was conflicted from the outset to the point where he should not have stepped into the position of Special Counsel, while others have argued that the constitutionality of his authority to process grand-jury indictments and recommend sentencing. One former attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, has argued that Mueller has surpassed the number of days authorized by federal statute for him to operate and thus, any actions he took afterward are null and void.
Trump has maintained that Mueller has conflicts of interest involving, among others, his reported past business dealings with the Trump Organization and his collegial relationship with Comey over the years in which each was supervised by the other at different times, according to The Post & Email’s research.
In an apparent reference to Trump’s days as a presidential candidate, the transition period or both, Trump punctuated his Twitter discussion with, “This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President of the United States!”
Before reporting to federal prison on November 26, Papadopoulos said on Twitter and in a number of interviews that he was “framed” when approached in 2016 by Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who allegedly told Papadopoulos that “the Russians” possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Within a matter of weeks, Papadopoulos has said, then-Australian Amassador to the UK Alexander Downer questioned him in a London bar, then reported through official channels to the FBI that Papadopoulos appeared to have knowledge that Russians had some or all of Hillary Clinton’s missing emails sent over her unauthorized, private server while she was Secretary of State under Barack Obama.
Papadopoulos has said that there was at least one “spy” within the Trump campaign to his knowledge. Other aides have said in interviews that they were approached in on ways by individuals claiming to want to assist the Trump campaign or to supply what they believed to be valuable political information to the campaign for a fee.
Another individual, Dr. Jerome Corsi, has said he expects to be indicted at any time after refusing early last week to accept a Mueller plea deal on one count of perjury. Corsi has since filed a criminal complaint with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s office and a number of other government and non-government officials alleging that Mueller and his team have conducted themselves unethically and criminally in their interactions with him.
In keeping with the medias “Russia” narrative, Mueller and his investigators have been seeking to know whether or not Corsi had foreknowledge of email releases the open-government organization WikiLeaks was to make in the months just prior to the 2016 presidential election which proved damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
In mid-November, Trump broke his months-long silence on the Mueller investigation and declared that the team was “screaming and shouting at people” in what to Trump appeared to be a desperate attempt to obtain “the answers they want” from those under interrogation.
Corsi has said he had no direct contact with WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, and that his speculation, as an investigative journalist, that Assange had acquired Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails just happened to prove accurate.
In interviews over the summer, Giuliani indicated that a counter-report was being crafted in response to whatever work product Mueller would ultimately produce.
The largely government-fawning U.S. media has failed to question Mueller’s authority, tactics or constitutionality ahead of his anticipated filings in the Cohen and Manafort cases on Friday.