Today’s New York Times exposé of the nefarious activities under investigation in the the Mueller probe is “Prosecutors Examining Ukrainians Who Flocked to Trump Inaugural” (accessible here on Outline). It carries the bylines of four of the Times’s top reporters — Kenneth P. Vogel, Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Iuliia Mendel, but they also had the help of Sharon LaFraniere and Maggie Haberman, who contributed reporting from Washington. That makes six. I read their long, long article with increasing incredulity and amusement. I asked a trusted friend who has closely followed the Mueller probe whether I was wrong to find the story funny. I regret that I must keep my friend’s identity secret to protect him from the long arm of Team Mueller. He responds:
Funny? This is serious stuff. Not only did these pro-Russian Ukrainians suggest peace plans, they posted pictures on social media about inaugural balls that some attended and some did not attend. We all know how nefarious social media posts are. And if you’re going to propose a peace plan to lawmakers, you better darn well have your FARA filings up to date. Because FARA filings protect America against social media and peace plans. The knowledge of vigilance on this makes me sleep easier at night.
I’m surprised the New York Times did not have the details of Mueller’s expanding reliance on 28 USC § 2831, which makes it a crime to sell tickets to any dance at a convention center at which any French song is misleadingly presented as American. It’s an obscure part of the criminal code known as the Trenet Provision.
In this case, of course, “My Way” was played at the Inaugural Ball, and was played without the paperwork being filed with DoJ disclosing that “My Way” is actually “Comme d’habitude.” According to four sources familiar with the proceedings, Paul Anka has appeared before the Mueller grand jury to explain his role in writing English lyrics for the song. Anka’s attorney denied that the singer/songwriter was questioned extensively about any contacts he may have had with the late Charles Aznavour. But it suggests that the special counsel is broadening his inquiry into all French music with English lyrics…