Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posts tagged ‘robert mueller’

Attorney John Dowd: ‘I Saw a Stall Going On’ With Mueller Probe


Reported By Susan Jones | September 6, 2018 | 5:29

AM EDT

Former Trump attorney John Dowd told Fox News he regrets relying on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s word that Mueller would move quickly on the Trump-Russia investigation. (Photo: Screen capture/Fox News)

(CNSNews.com) – The Trump administration has given Special Counsel Robert Mueller all the witnesses and documents he requested; Mueller understands that the investigation is a “great burden on the president”; and Mueller has even told President Trump’s legal team that Trump is not a target of the investigation, Trump’s former attorney John Dowd said Wednesday night.

Yet Mueller has not kept his word about wrapping up the Trump-Russia investigation, as he should have done by now, Dowd said.

“That’s when I saw a stall going on, and I just lost complete faith in him because we had shaken hands,” Dowd told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. He said he now regrets taking Mueller at his word.

Dowd, who resigned from Trump’s legal team in March, said it was Mueller’s suggestion that his team “engage” and “work together” with the White House — “and we said fine.”

You ask for the document list, ask for your witnesses. And Ty Cobb and Jay (Sekulow) and I provided them. And he said he wouldn’t let any grass grow. And every meeting and communication we had, we stressed how important it was and how his inquiry was a great burden on the president, and interfered with the president’s ability to lead this country, particularly in foreign affairs.

And he said he took that very seriously. And on and on, he gave me his word he would do it. And we got to late last year and he had completed the 37 witnesses. And I asked him, did you have any problem with those witnesses? They were all well-represented, all well-prepared, and he said no. Did anyone lie to you? No.

Documents. We gave you 1.4 million but more importantly, we gave you the most intimate notes of the communications and deliberations by the president. No president in history has ever done anything like that. Are we missing anything, are there any missing documents? No. Are you satisfied with everything you’ve got? Yes.

I said, well, what’s the president’s exposure? Well, The president’s exposure, he’s a witness slash/subject. I said, so he’s not a target, correct? Correct. That means he had no exposure. And at that point we said well, why don’t you just decline?

He said well, we’d like to get back to you on that but we think we need to talk to the president…And we said, what do you not know that we have not given you — that only the president knows? And he could never answer that question, Sean. And that’s when I saw a stall going on, and I just lost complete faith in him because we had shaken hands.

He’s the one who said, John, we’ll engage. We said, we are not going to raise conflicts, we are not going to raise the legality of the order, we are not going to fool with all this nonsense, let’s get the job done. This president wants the job done. And by the way the president gets the credit. He’s the one that said, give it to him.

Do you now regret believing Mueller? Hannity asked.

“I regret relying on him because he didn’t keep his word,” Dowd replied. “And I believed he would keep his word.

“But more importantly the way we did it completely protected the president. We’ve not waived executive privilege. We’ve not had four years of litigation. We’ve not had motions to quash grand jury subpoenas. We’ve not had anyone go in the grand jury, Sean.

“There is no case there, and that’s what Bob Mueller ought to face up and do. So yeah, it’s a very sad thing to see and then, you see the other cases — I mean, you see the Flynn case and the other case and it’s just — it’s more (of) this sorry abusive practice in the prosecutive ranks.

Libs Use Cohen to Push Guilt by Association, But Forget 5 Obama Pals Who Were 10x Worse


Reported By Lisa Payne-Naeger | August 22, 2018 at

2:37pm

It didn’t take long for liberal spin to conjure up the specter of guilt by association as the media  tried to build a case for impeachment of President Donald Trump due to the latest developments in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort cases.

On Tuesday Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, pleaded guilty to eight charges of felony fraud and campaign finance law violations. In doing so, he also implicated the president, who he claims directed him to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels as well as a former Playboy model to buy their silence for alleged sexual encounters.

That alone would have made liberals happy. But the anti-Trump crowd was also crowing that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on the same day of eight charges of tax and bank fraud brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

A lot of nonsense takes place on social media, but sometimes bits of wisdom shine through. These particular comments put the spotlight on liberal hypocrisy that has no problem with smearing Trump with guilt by association, but was mysteriously blind when it came to former President Barack Obama.

Liberal memories are short when it comes to liberal sins, but author and conservative Twitter user Thomas Wictor reminds us all that guilt by association was — or should have been — a much bigger issue in the Obama administration.

He listed at least five egregious instances where guilt by association could be argued in relation to Barack Obama, and he starts with Obama associate Tony Rezko.

“(3) Obama fundraiser and member of his U.S. Senate campaign finance committee Tony Rezko. Sentenced to over ten years for public and private corruption. Served four.”
“(4) Obama fundraiser Courtney Dupree. Convicted of bank fraud.”
“(5) Obama bundler Willie Shepherd. Pleaded guilty to third-degree assault on his wife in exchange for dropping negligent child-abuse charges.”
“(6) Rod Blagojevich, Illinois governor. Doing 14 years in the federal pen for trying to sell Obama’s vacated seat.”

And he caps it off with this closing tweet.

To be fair, longtime Barack Obama buddy Bill Ayers was never implicated in murder during his spree as a bomber for the domestic terrorist group the Weather Underground.

It’s also worth pointing out that Ayers’ girlfriend at the time, Diana Oughton, died in 1970 when a nail bomb she was helping to build exploded in a house in Grennwich Village. A Vanity Fair article from 2015 claims Ayers and his Weather Underground terrorists never intended to hurt people, but it’s safe to wonder if they were worried about who would be on the receiving end of those nails flying through the air with deadly, explosive force.

The Daily Caller points out some clarifying factors on the the guilt-by-association accusations against Trump.

In the Manafort case, even though Manafort spent a short time with the Trump campaign to work specifically on the Republican National Convention, the media will fail to mention he was “fired over questions of his work as a lobbyist for foreign governments years earlier,” and all charges were related to actions of Manafort long before he ever joined Trump’s presidential run.

As The Daily Caller put it: “It’s guilt by association coupled with omission of relevant facts to paint the president as somehow associated with a guilty person’s actions.”

As far as Cohen is concerned, and as conservative radio host Mark Levin has pointed out, the charges of payoffs to two women for alleged sexual encounters are still not proven to be illegal. It is not not illegal for to pay for non-disclosure agreements in politics or any other sphere of the law.

Liberals have once again cast stones from their own glass houses. They should really think twice before they invent false scenarios.

Some sharp-minded Twitter members might just throw a litany of facts on their feed that blow their latest spin out of the water.

Summary

An enthusiastic grassroots Tea Party activist, Lisa Payne-Naeger has spent the better part of the last decade lobbying for educational and family issues in her state legislature, and as a keyboard warrior hoping to help along the revolution that empowers the people to retake control of their, out-of-control, government.

Report: Mueller Referred Tony Podesta Case To New York Prosecutors


Reported by

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has referred cases on a group of prominent American lobbyists, including Democrat-connected superlobbyist Tony Podesta, to federal prosecutors in New York as part of an inquiry into whether the operatives worked as unregistered foreign agents.

Mueller also referred former Obama White House General Counsel Greg Craig and former Minnesota Republican Rep. Vin Weber to the New York office as part of the inquiry, according to CNN.

All three of the lobbyists worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a campaign to help former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Mueller has indicted Manafort in two federal jurisdictions on a slew of charges related to his work for Yanukovcyh, including tax evasion and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Manafort went on trial in Virginia on Tuesday. (RELATED: Ex-Obama Lawyer Who Worked With Manafort On Ukraine Project Abruptly Leaves Law Firm)

Manafort, a longtime Republican political consultant, worked for a political party connected to Yanukovych from 2005 to 2014, two years before he joined the Trump campaign.

Podesta’s firm, the Podesta Group, and Weber’s firm, Mercury Public Affairs, worked on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a think tank linked to Yanukovych.

Craig’s former law firm, Skadden Arps, worked with Manafort in 2012 to produce a report aimed at justifying the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a Ukrainian politician who opposed Yanukovych, a close ally of Vladimir Putin’s.

Podesta, Weber and Craig have not been charged with any crimes or accused of any wrongdoing. It is unclear whether the Mueller referrals indicate that they are being investigated for a crime. (RELATED: Manafort Goes To Trial, But Don’t Expect To Hear About Collusion)

Another former former Skadden Arps lawyer, Alex van der Zwaan, has pleaded guilty to Mueller’s prosecutors for lying to the FBI about his work with Manafort. Van der Zwaan worked closely with Craig on the Ukraine project.

According to CNN, Mueller referred information about Podesta to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) shortly before a raid against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Mueller also referred the Cohen case to SDNY prosecutors.

Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, closed the Podesta Group late last year. Craig left Skadden Arps in April, shortly after van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Mercury Public Affairs has fared somewhat better. The GOP-linked firm has thrived under the Trump administration.

Follow Chuck on Twitter

Tags :

Why didn’t FBI tell court about Christopher Steele bias?


Reported by Byron York  | July 26, 2018 09:49 PM

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., set off the argument last February, with the release of the so-called Nunes memo. In the memo, Nunes wrote, “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.”

Advertisement

In another passage, Isikoff and Corn wrote: “As FBI officials saw it, Steele seemed more interested in getting the story out rather than quietly working with them on the investigation. ‘There was clearly an agenda on his part,’ one senior FBI official later said.”

So to conclude: The FBI based a substantial part of its warrant application on Steele’s work. Steele had a strong and clear anti-Trump bias. The FBI knew about it. The bureau should have informed the court. And it did not.

Dam’s Breaking: FBI Agent With Inside Knowledge Flips on Comey, Wants to Testify


disclaimerReported By Benjamin Arie | May 24, 2018 at 3:11pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/ct/fbi-agent-flips-on-comey/

The scandal that has been dubbed “Spygate” is currently making headlines, and former FBI Director James Comey is right in the middle of it.

As Spygate — the allegation that the FBI placed “moles” in the Trump campaign to undermine him — unravels, one incident involving Comey has largely faded from memory. That investigation focused on retired Gen. Mike Flynn, and it’s coming back to haunt anti-Trump elitists.

Flynn was an early target of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Trump team members. In early 2017, he resigned as national security adviser after facing criticism for improperly communicating with a Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period.

Remember, Flynn’s role as national security adviser made talking with Russian diplomats part of his position, and his resignation and subsequent charge had less to do with job-related phone calls and more to do with alleged dishonesty about what was discussed.

As part of a plea deal with Mueller, the previously respected military leader and intelligence expert pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI.

That was seen as proof positive that the probe into the Trump camp was on the right track, but the investigation soon fizzled after few serious indictments were brought forward. Now, more than a year after Mueller’s probe began, it looks more like an unfocused witch hunt than a serious investigation. 

Fast forward to this month. From an unredacted portion of the House intelligence committee report of James Comey’s testimony, eagle-eyed reporters noticed something odd: It appears that despite having almost no evidence against Flynn during the presidential transition, the Obama-era FBI ran an intelligence operation against him anyway, and used an unofficial and likely illegal media “leak” of Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador to justify digging deeper. This is a bit like the police pulling over a vehicle but finding no reasonable suspicion to carry out a search, only to ransack the car anyway because a passerby repeated a rumor about the driver. 

In other words, it has the hallmarks of a setup or a witch hunt.

It doesn’t look much like the proper and lawful investigation of a suspected crime.

flynn01

To add to the growing scandal, Jack Posobiec of One America News reported Wednesday that one of the FBI agents who was in the room when Flynn was interrogated by the bureau believes the disgraced national security adviser was unfairly railroaded — and Comey was behind it.

“FBI Agent Joe Pientka who interviewed General Flynn plans to testify against Comey and McCabe, adds ‘It was all Comey,‘” Posobiec posted on Twitter.

flynn02

Posobiec also hinted that the FBI special agent who is ready to flip on Comey was an eyewitness to the actual interview of Flynn, which may have varied drastically from what went into the bureau’s official reports.

There is also evidence that agents, including Pientka, believed Flynn was being entirely honest with them during the investigation, and that he did not try to deceive them at all.

“Pientka knows what was said in the room, before the 302 reports were written by Strzok,” the journalist explained. The “302 reports” refer to summaries of suspect interviews conducted by agents, while Strzok is the agent who held obvious anti-Trump bias, as revealed in countless text messages.

If correct, the fact that an FBI agent who has firsthand knowledge of Flynn’s interview is disgusted by the bureau’s actions and ready to testify against Comey speaks volumes.

That is the same modus operandi now being used by Mueller against Trump and his team: Dig into the lives of political opponents, pushing the boundaries of what is legal and disregarding just cause, in order to overturn every rock and search every closet for skeletons.like i said

This isn’t the way an investigation is supposed to happen, yet elitists within the DOJ don’t seem to care. The American people, however, do — and Mueller, Comey, and their cronies may be in for a surprise as this scandal continues to be exposed.

please likeand share and leave a comment

Mueller may have a conflict — and it leads directly to a Russian oligarch


Special counsel Robert Mueller has withstood relentless political attacks, many distorting his record of distinguished government service. But there’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades — and independent ethicists — acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe.

In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.

Yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in Mueller’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration.

The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation, officials told me.

Some aspects of Deripaska’s help were chronicled in a 2016 book by reporter Barry Meier, but sources provide extensive new information about his role. They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.

“We knew he was paying for his team helping us, and that probably ran into the millions,” a U.S. official involved in the operation confirmed.

One agent who helped court Deripaska was Andrew McCabe, the recently fired FBI deputy director who played a seminal role starting the Trump-Russia case, multiple sources confirmed.

Deripaska’s lawyer said the Russian ultimately spent $25 million assembling a private search and rescue team that worked with Iranian contacts under the FBI’s watchful eye. Photos and videos indicating Levinson was alive were uncovered.

Then in fall 2010, the operation secured an offer to free Levinson. The deal was scuttled, however, when the State Department become uncomfortable with Iran’s terms, according to Deripaska’s lawyer and the Levinson family.

FBI officials confirmed State hampered their efforts.

“We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way,” said Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009, when Deripaska first cooperated, but who left for another position in 2010 before the Iranian offer arrived. “I kept Director Mueller and Deputy Director [John] Pistole informed of the various efforts and operations, and they offered to intervene with State, if necessary.”

FBI officials ended the operation in 2011, concerned that Deripaska’s Iranian contacts couldn’t deliver with all the U.S. infighting. Levinson was never found; his whereabouts remain a mystery, 11 years after he disappeared.

“Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”

The State Department declined comment, and a spokesman for Clinton did not offer comment. Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, declined to answer questions. As did McCabe.

The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel.

  • First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran.
  • Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws.
  • Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.like i said

The FBI rewarded Deripaska for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Former FBI officials confirm they arranged the access.

Deripaska said in a statement through Adam Waldman, his American lawyer, that FBI agents told him State’s reasons for blocking his U.S. visa were “merely a pretext.”

“The FBI said they had undertaken a careful background check, and if there was any validity to the State Department smears, they would not have reached out to me for assistance,” the Russian said.

Then, over the past two years, evidence emerged tying him to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the first defendant charged by Mueller’s Russia probe with money laundering and illegal lobbying. Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money.

Mueller’s indictment of Manafort makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian client for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. There’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.

Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the now-infamous Fusion GPS “Steele Dossier.” Waldman, his American lawyer until the sanctions hit, gave me a detailed account, some of which U.S. officials confirm separately.

Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.

“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.

So why care about some banished Russian oligarch’s account now?

Two reasons.

  • First, as the FBI prepared to get authority to surveil figures on Trump’s campaign team, did it disclose to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that one of its past Russian sources waived them off the notion of Trump-Russia collusion? 
  • Second, the U.S. government in April imposed sanctions on Deripaska, one of several prominent Russians targeted to punish Vladimir Putin — using the same sort of allegations that State used from 2006 to 2009. Yet, between those two episodes, Deripaska seemed good enough for the FBI to ask him to fund that multimillion-dollar rescue mission. And to seek his help on a sensitive political investigation. And to allow him into the country eight times.

I was alerted to Deripaska’s past FBI relationship by U.S. officials who wondered whether the Russian’s conspicuous absence from Mueller’s indictments might be related to his FBI work.

They aren’t the only ones.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told me he believes Mueller has a conflict of interest because his FBI previously accepted financial help from a Russian that is, at the very least, a witness in the current probe.

“The real question becomes whether it was proper to leave [Deripaska] out of the Manafort indictment, and whether that omission was to avoid the kind of transparency that is really required by the law,” Dershowitz said.

Melanie Sloan, a former Clinton Justice Department lawyer and longtime ethics watchdog, told me a “far more significant issue” is whether the earlier FBI operation was even legal: “It’s possible the bureau’s arrangement with Mr. Deripaska violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits the government from accepting voluntary services.”  

George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed: “If the operation with Deripaska contravened federal law, this figure could be viewed as a potential embarrassment for Mueller. The question is whether he could implicate Mueller in an impropriety.”

Now that sources have unmasked the Deripaska story, time will tell whether the courts, Justice, Congress or a defendant formally questions if Mueller is conflicted. In the meantime, the episode highlights an oft-forgotten truism: The cat-and-mouse maneuvers between Moscow and Washington are often portrayed in black-and-white terms. But the truth is, the relationship is enveloped in many shades of gray.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

[Editor’s note: This post was updated at 8:10 p.m. on May 14, 2018.]

please likeand share and leave a comment

Federal Judge Could Be A Nightmare For Special Counsel Mueller


Reported by Richard Pollock | Reporter | 11:59 PM 05/06/2018

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo | Judge Ellis III VS Robert Mueller

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo | Judge Ellis III VS Robert Mueller  

Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III, a Reagan appointee, could be the ultimate nightmare for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who may lose his legal case against Paul Manafort, according to an extraordinary May 4 exchange in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia. A dismissal could be a major wrecking ball to Mueller’s overall case in his Russian collusion case against President Donald Trump.

Amid Friday’s legal event, Ellis was best known for invoking an NFL term to dismiss Mueller’s legal posture, saying “C’mon man!” as he challenged the special counsel’s attempt to drag an unrelated bank fraud case back in 2005 to indict Manafort. Those charges are well beyond Mueller’s original mandate to investigate alleged collusion with Russia in 2016 and had to be dismissed, the judge said, according to the hearing transcript.

“If I look at the indictment, none of that information has anything to do with links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump,” he lectured Michael Dreebeen, Mueller’s lawyer in the court room. “So I don’t see what relation this indictment has with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate.” 

The federal judge also was enraged that Mueller redacted 75 percent of an August 2017 order from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which further outlined the special counsel’s mandate, according to the transcript. Ellis has handled numerous espionage cases and enjoys among the highest level government clearances, the judge reminded the government’s lawyer.

The judge slammed the special counsel, saying he understood his real intention was “to exert leverage on a defendant so that the defendant will turn and provide information on what is really the focus of the special prosecutor,” namely President Trump.

Dreeben replied, their “investigatory scope” permitted them to include wrongs committed a decade before Trump declared his candidacy for president.

Ellis shot back: “My question to you was, how does bank fraud and these other things that go back to 2005, 2007, how does that have anything to do with links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Trump?”

The original May 2017 order setting up the special counsel’s office by Rosenstein permitted them to go after crimes beyond Russian collusion, Dreeben replied. “We are not limited in our prosecution authority to crimes that would fit within the precise description that was issued in this public order,” he told Ellis.

Ellis cut to the chase and told the special counsel their intention was really to get Manafort to “sing” to get Trump. “I’ve been here a long time. The vernacular is to sing,” he said.

Ellis admonished the special counsel, saying he was seeking “unfettered power”something the founding fathers fought against. “What we don’t want in this country is we don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” Ellis stated. “So it’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me that the special prosecutor has unlimited powers to do anything he or she wants,” the judge said.

Dreeben said Mueller is following both the May and August 2017 orders from Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller. But Ellis shot back that the order he was given had 75 percent of the August memo was redacted.

“I have that right here, and I’m glad you raised it because 75 percent of it is blocked out, redacted. Why don’t I have a full copy it,” Ellis asked.

“The only paragraphs that are to Mr. Manafort are the ones that are pertinent are the ones contained in this record,” Dreeben replied.

“Well, let me use a phrase that I’m fond of that I used to use with my children,” the judge said, dripping with sarcasm. “I can’t use it with my wife, but I’ll be the judge of whether it relates to the others.”

Dreeben would consult with the intelligence community to see if the rest of the classified memo could be shared with the judge, he said.

“Yes, of course, you may do that,” Judge Ellis replied. “If any part of it is classified, it won’t surprise you to know that a district judge is fully cleared. In fact, I have several espionage trials underway,” he told the Mueller attorney.

Following that exchange, Ellis didn’t mince words with Dreeben as he laid into Mueller’s attorney. “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” he said. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever. That’s what you’re really interested in.”

In the end, Ellis asked Dreeben if he had anything to add.

“No thank you, Your Honor,” he said.

“Good choice on your part,” an angry Ellis replied. “Thank you for your arguments,” he told Dreeben. “They were entertaining.”

The court resumes in two weeks.

Follow Richard on Twitter

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: