It has been a yeasty couple of weeks for President Trump. Last Monday, he, like the rest of us, learned that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, had his home, office, hotel, and safe deposit box hoovered by gumshoes at the direction of prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. They carried away the stuff by the boatload—documents, computers, cell phones, tablets: the lot. If you discerned the dogged hand of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in this breathtaking episode, you would not be wrong. Although carried out by feds in N.Y., who apparently had been investigating Cohen “for months,” it was done at the behest of the special counsel.
Exactly what that portends for President Trump is unclear. Andrew McCarthy spoke for many when he outlined the reasons it might place the president in serious legal jeopardy.
Maybe so. As of this writing, the reasons for the raid have included looking into Mr. Cohen’s alleged non-disclosure agreements with Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, and certain other members of the fair sex who claim to have had intimate relations with the president, or people close to the president, at some point in the past. The feds are also said to be interested in the infamous “Access Hollywood” video in which Donald Trump, in 2005, was taped saying crude things about how women were pushovers for celebrities. Cohen’s interest in a taxi business has also been bruited about. And just a few hours ago, Robert Mueller reported that he now has evidence that Cohen was in Prague in 2016 just as the opposition dossier compiled by Christopher Steele and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee said he was. Cohen vigorously denies the claim. “I have never been to Prague in my life,” he tweeted.
Well, either he has or he hasn’t. We’ll see.
While we wait for answer, ask yourself this: what does all this have to do with the central reason a special counsel was appointed in the first place, namely, “to investigate any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump”? Well might you ask.
Meanwhile, there is this breaking development. Just a short while ago, federal agents, apparently with guns drawn, raided St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Maryland, where the president’s youngest child, Barron, who just turned 12, goes to school. Early reports are confusing, but this is sure to be a major story. One unnamed source close to the special counsel’s office has said that the feds are investigating suspicious interest in Russia among several teachers at St. Andrew’s, some of whom travelled to Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, two of whom were photographed in sight of the Kremlin. There are also reports that one of the teachers placed near the Kremlin surreptitiously passed as yet undisclosed documents to Barron in a secluded hallway between classes. Barron himself was photographed speaking alone with a Russian student at school. Anonymous sources have identified the student as the youngest son of Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, whom Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security advisor, also spoke to. The special counsel is also said to be looking into irregular payments made to Barron Trump’s lemonade stand business, which The Washington Post—citing a source close to John Brennan, former head of the CIA under President Obama—claims was unregistered. Some pundits have expressed skepticism about the heavy-handed behavior of the FBI in this case, but Rachel Maddow expressed the consensus opinion in Washington when she said that the whole future of our democratic society is at stake. “Robert Mueller is a national hero, a real straight arrow,” she said. “It is imperative that we let him follow the evidence wherever it may lead.” Steven Hatfill, the government virologist whom Mueller wrongly fingered for the 2001 anthrax attacks, was unavailable for comment, probably because he is off somewhere enjoying the $5.8 million settlement he won from the government and various media outlets who hounded the poor man on the authority of Robert Mueller.
Of course, Barron Trump is not the subject of an FBI sting. I say “of course,” but what I mean is “as far as I know.” It wouldn’t be any further afield for Robert Mueller to target a twelve-year-old than many of his other initiatives in this unending investigation have been.
But again I misspeak: I say “investigation” but what I mean is “cover-up.” That’s what Lee Smith, in an important piece in The Tablet, calls it, and he is right.
As director of the FBI during the post-9/11 period, when foreign intelligence surveillance and its abuses made regular front-page headlines, Muller knows exactly how the system can be abused—and what the penalties are. He also recognizes that Russiagate is evidence of how it was abused, and who abused it—including some of the same people he worked with during his 12-year tenure as FBI director.
The purpose of the Mueller inquiry is therefore not to investigate the mostly ludicrous-seeming charges in the Steele dossier, but to protect the institution of the FBI, former colleagues, as well as the national security surveillance system. Therefore the inquiry has to cover up the sinful origins of the collusion narrative itself—which was born in repeated abuses of power and subsequent crimes committed by US officials in the intelligence bureaucracy and the Obama administration.
I think this is exactly right. But what does it portend? Lee Smith explains that, too. “[B]y using the justice system as a political weapon to attack the enemies of the country’s elite, Robert Mueller and his supporters in both parties are confirming what many Americans already believe. That in spite of all the fine rhetoric, we are not all equal under one law. There is in fact a privileged class, a ruling class that sees its own interests as identical with the public good, and never pays a price for its failures, its abuses, and its crimes.”
Robert Mueller’s excellent adventure will not end until Donald Trump is hounded from office—or until the president shuts down the investigation. Everybody says that it would be “political suicide” for him to fire Mueller. “That’s what Nixon did, and look what happened to him.” But even as Mueller casts his net wider and wider, the public is getting more and more disgusted with this blatant effort to reverse the results of an election and protect the political elite who, assuming Hillary Clinton would win, were totally unprepared for their exposure to negative publicity, not to mention criminal liability. Remember: No one was supposed to know that Susan Rice and Samantha Power had unmasked American citizens so that their private conversations could be leaked to The Washington Post. No one was supposed to know that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee had paid for the “salacious and unverified” (in the phrase of James “higher loyalty” Comey) Steele Dossier. No one was supposed to know that the government’s intelligence services had spied on American citizens, that top FBI officials had actively colluded against candidate and then President Trump. All that was meant to be swept under the table, pushed into the gigantic maw of deep state forgetfulness.
But then Donald Trump performed the impossible and won the election. John Brennan James Comey, Andrew McCabe, love birds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Rod Rosenstein, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie — they and many others were suddenly exposed. It’s a felony to leak classified information, to unmask individuals for partisan gain or to turn the FBI against citizens to assure a certain political outcome. Had Hillary been elected, none of this would be news. We’d never have heard of it. Robert Mueller was appointed to make sure nothing comes of it and that the elites, including his good friend James Comey, are protected. It is a disgusting spectacle, dangerous to the the integrity of our institutions, and it should be shut down now.