Earlier this month RealClearPolitics posted Paul Sperry’s intensely reported account of the Mueller investigation from the perspective of its objects in “‘Scorched Earth’: Mueller’s Targets Speak Out.” Sperry prefaced his report:
Now that [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller has ended his probe finding no election collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, 10 witnesses and targets of his sprawling, $35 million investigation agreed to speak with RealClearInvestigations because they no longer feel in legal jeopardy. They include several people who became household names during the two-year probe – including George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Roger Stone – as well as lesser-known figures whose lives were also upended and finances imperiled when they came into Mueller’s crosshairs. Only three of the 10, Papadopoulos, Stone and a political consultant named Sam Patten, were charged with a crime. Patten received three years probation but no jail time for failing to register as a foreign agent; Papadopoulos served 12 days for lying to federal agents; and Stone awaits trial on false statements, witness-tampering and obstruction charges.
Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel’s nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion.
Sperry’s mind-boggling account seems to have escaped attention. Is this the way it was supposed to go down? While some of the stories are familiar, they remain shocking. Moreover, several of the stories Sperry tells are unfamiliar. I learn from Sperry’s account that our old friend Michael Ledeen was caught up in the Mueller probe:
Mueller also targeted former Reagan official Michael Ledeen, who happened to co-author a book with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies” — that was released during the 2016 campaign.
The Mueller report cites Ledeen as someone former Trump national security adviser Flynn spoke with before returning a call from the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. It says he talked with Ledeen “for 20 minutes.” The report refers to “call records of Michael Ledeen,” followed by a redacted section related to grand jury action.
“That was a surprise to us,” said Ledeen’s wife, Barbara, a Senate Judiciary Committee aide who is also mentioned in the report.
“They went to the grand jury and got a subpoena to get my husband’s phone records and they got them and we never knew,” she fumed. “I guess it was because Michael wrote the book with Flynn.”
Neither Ledeen nor his wife were charged or even subjects in the investigation.
Michael’s experience is the least of it, but it is disgusting.
Quotable quote (Sam Patten): “He said Mueller’s team used the seldom-prosecuted [FARA] law to squeeze him for information about ‘this bullshit story about collusion.’ Agents first interviewed him last May, poring over his emails and texts, but came up dry. He said the fishing expedition wiped out his savings. He racked up some $140,000 in legal bills and had to cash out his retirement account. ‘I’m still digging my way out of the legal hole,’ Patten said.”