How many scandals can you fit on the head of a pin — or, in Maoist parlance, let a Hundred Scandals Bloom! And given the way they are blooming, Robert Mueller’s “Russia” investigation looks increasingly ludicrous.
Even if Mueller were even-handed and the exact right person for the job — an open question at the moment — no single special counsel could handle all this. It’s a game of whack-a-mole to beat all games of whack-a-mole.
Let’s enumerate the scandals as of this moment, several or all of which are or could be connected.
- The Original Trump-Russia Scan-dahl. This has been going on for the better part of a century with little to show for it except Donald Trump Jr. demonstrating too much rookie zeal in listening (for a few minutes anyway) to some shady Russian characters and Paul Manafort possibly having made some less-than-savory deals with some equally shady Ukrainian characters. This would have been before Manafort went to work for Trump (a relationship that in itself lasted only for a short time). And, oh yes, Mike Flynn. When all is revealed, and it may never be, I predict what we will find is that Flynn was also guilty of another kind of zeal — wanting to woo Russia away from Iran with the promise of reduced sanctions for Moscow. Some of us (including me) think this was a fine idea that now will not happen thanks to the berserk partisanship on the part of the formerly Russia-friendly Democrats.
- The Unmasking Scandal. It now turns out that a record number of unmaskings (revealing U.S. citizens’ identities during foreign intelligence surveillance) by the Obama administration — well over a hundred — took place during and after the election. Most of these unmaskings seem to have been illegal and were of people connected to Trump. Many appear to have been instigated by, of all people, Samantha Power, a person who, as UN ambassador, had no business doing such a thing. Moreover, for a supposedly renowned human rights advocate, Power’s hypocrisy is monumental and her activities reactionary in the extreme. Such unmaskings are the royal road to totalitarianism, making these actions worthy of a major investigation all by itself. Susan Rice is also doubtlessly involved. Connection to #1 above: So far Flynn is the only one we know (there are obviously more) to have been unmasked. His adamant opposition to Obama’s Iran deal was well known. Coincidence? Highly unlikely. Also, this may indicate that, in a very real sense, Trump was correct: He was wire-tapped. (Related scandal: Obama suddenly changes the long-standing rule and allows all intelligence agencies to see top-secret information for the first time just weeks before Trump’s inauguration.)
- Fusion GPS. Whoa. If you think the unmaskings were nefarious, this is downright sick and evil. This group of journalistic lowlifes — sadly including three former Wall Street Journal reporters (the paper is hopefully doing an investigation of its hiring practices because of this) — promulgates disinformation for creepy Russian regime types and, lately, the hideous Venezuelan leaders currently starving millions of their own people to death. These “genteel scriveners” were the authors of the anti-Trump “dossier” containing the lies about Moscow hotel golden showers, etc. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than smearing in this manner someone who could become the leader of the free world, unless you hate the free world or, more likely in this case, are despicably greedy. The big question is who hired these guys. The leader of the group is thus far refusing to say. No wonder Democrats are in a panic. They should be. They’re the primary suspect and fingering the Dems on this one turns the whole Russiagate scandal on its head.
- Imran Awan. The story of the Pakistani-born IT fraudster who had access (for years) to computer data and materials of over two dozen House Democrats plus Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees threatens to become one of the most extraordinary scandals of our time. If Awan is merely some low-life con cheating the U.S. government out of a few dollars (okay — four million), why are the Clintonistas so concerned they have assigned one of their key consiglieres to head his legal defense? Why did Deborah Wasserman Schultz keep this obviously seriously corrupt individual on her payroll for months until he was finally arrested at Dulles on his way to Qatar by the FBI and the Capitol Police? The possibilities are so many they could fill a book by themselves. But the summa is that we have been told ad nauseum to trust our intelligence agencies. All computer hacking roads lead to Russia. They have proof, they say, although they aren’t showing it to us. (It would compromise sources and methods, doncha know.) Well, I’m willing to admit the Russians are up to no good. They always have been. But I suspect there are a number of surprises in the sources of much of the hacking and some of the truth may be sitting under Imran Awan’s rock — or on his smashed hard drive he desperately wants back from the FBI. Let’s hope the road doesn’t somehow end up at Pakistan’s ISI. Or Hezbollah.
- The Lynch Non-Mob. Our previous attorney general has so much more to answer for than our current one — the tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, insisting the case of the massive Hillary email erasures was a “matter” and not an “investigation” when the alleged crimes would almost certainly send a civilian to jail for life. This undoubtedly contributed to the bizarre behavior of James Comey and to the fact that so much about this “matter” was never truly investigated, tarnishing the FBI’s reputation perhaps forever. A lot of Republicans think this was a big-time coverup and there’s more evidence for that than there is for Trump-Russia collusion, miles more. (Comic relief: Lanny Davis still insisting on Fox the other night that the 30,000 plus erased emails were about yoga lessons.)
- Clinton Cash and Uranium One. Was this ever fully examined by anybody, let alone the FBI? Yet it’s all about Russia and Putin on a level none of the other allegations approach. If true, Hillary Clinton helped facilitate 20% of U.S. uranium being transferred to Russian hands. Uranium! Before you say this is debunked, think twice. Historically, collusion with Russia has been far greater by Democrats than Republicans — and I’m not just talking about Obama’s famous whisper to Medvedev or his pathetic cop-out on Assad’s use of poison gas. We can go straight back to the Cold War when the Democrats constantly attacked Reagan for warmongering the Soviets — until the Soviets collapsed without a shot being fired.
Quite a litany, huh? Are all six connected? It’s hard to say at this time. Maybe all are or none are. I would imagine it’s some, if not all. But they’re all connected morally — plus beneath all this are the endless leaks, which I suppose could constitute a scandal of their own.
Now let’s play that game from Sesame Street — “One of these things is not like the others.” Yes, you got it. It’s number one. In that case, Republicans are under suspicion. In the other five, it’s the Democrats. And yet the only one under official investigation by Robert Mueller and crew is one. Something rotten in the state of…? You bet!
Supposed bien pensant insiders like Lindsey Graham insist that if Trump fires Mueller, the president is done for. I am not so sure. But whatever the case, I have another suggestion. Don’t fire Mueller. Cancel the investigation itself and replace it with a global investigation, one that brings together all aspects of the present political crisis, all these scandals, real or imagined. Indeed, let a hundred scandals bloom. I nominate John Kelly to oversee this. It’s going to take a general.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.