The reporters covering developments in the ongoing special counsel investigation conducted by Robert Mueller are so excited by the prospect of President Trump’s removal from office impeachment that they can barely keep their tongues from hanging out of their mouths. They demonstrate what it’s all about even if they don’t have a clue what’s going on.
It is a striking fact that the charge to which Michael Flynn pleaded yesterday involves lying about conversations that were not themselves illegal. Flynn was not charged with any substantive criminal offense under the Logan Act or anything else. Rather, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Andrew McCarthy has distinguished himself among the observers commenting on the case. An experienced former federal prosecutor himself, he knows what he is talking about. He is familiar with the ground rules that are to govern such matters. He reviews them in his weekly NRO column today as he has before, finding once again that Mueller has undertaken an essentially unlimited criminal investigation in the guise of a counterintelligence probe.
None of the ground rules applicable to a special counsel criminal investigation have been followed. Mueller’s investigation partakes of the wrongs committed by special counsels in past cases — wrongs reflected in the Department of Justice Procedures that are to govern these matters, but that have been thrown out the window.
What’s going on? McCarthy draws the inferences:
See, we’re not following the normal rules, in which a prosecutor is assigned only after evidence of an actual crime has emerged. We’re in the wooly realm of counterintelligence, where anything goes. And in the event our aggressive prosecutor can’t find any crimes — which would be no surprise, since the investigation was not triggered by a crime — no matter: The special counsel is encouraged to manufacture crimes through the investigative process. Misleading assertions by non-suspects made to investigators probing non-crimes can be charged as felony false statements.
The end game of the investigation is the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency, either by impeachment (which does not require proof of a court-prosecutable crime) or by publicly discrediting Trump to such a degree that his reelection becomes politically impossible. The latter can be accomplished by projecting the appearance of a cri[min]al investigation (notwithstanding that there is no underlying crime), turning administration officials into suspects, and hopefully generating the false-statement prosecutions that help depict the administration as dishonest and icky.
One more thing:
There is no evidence that Flynn or any other Trump associate was involved in Russia’s election interference. Instead, after being elected on the promise of significant policy shifts from the Obama administration, President-elect Trump directed Flynn, his incoming national-security adviser, to make contact with foreign counterparts, including but not limited to officials from Russia. This is standard operating procedure when administrations change — that’s why they call it a transition.
Conclusion: “Mueller’s investigation is a semblance of law-enforcement disguising the brute reality that Trump is being punished for winning the election and defying Obama policy.
McCarthy’s column expands on his comments immediately following the news of Flynn’s plea yesterday. In addition to his biting analysis, McCarthy frames his column with a (non-satirical) modest proposal about how President Trump might fight fire with fire. If you want to understand what is happening the whole thing is must reading.