So it’s time to just straight up ask the question: What exactly is Special Counsel Robert Mueller supposed to be investigating here?
We were told that he was brought on to probe Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and any collusion there might have been between the Trump campaign and Moscow, right? That he was perhaps looking into an obstruction of justice charge relating to the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, correct?
But what has that looked like in real terms? So far, we have this guy indicting Paul Manafort and Richard Gates on money laundering charges that precede the 2016 election by a number of years. And, according to reports, now he’s looking into Michael Flynn’s relationship with Turkey and whether he was paid as a foreign agent to try and kidnap a Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania so he could ship him back to the Erdogan government. What the hell does any of this have to do with Trump and Russia?
According to a recent Wall St. Journal report, Flynn and his son, Mike Flynn Jr. were paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million to get Fethullah Gulen out of Pennsylvania and into Turkey by hook or by crook.
“The people who described the alleged proposal said they didn’t attend the December meeting [where this arrangement was supposedly hammered out] and didn’t have direct knowledge from Mr. Flynn or his associates about its purported details,” reported the Journal. “It isn’t clear how advanced Mr. Mueller’s investigation of the alleged plan to remove Mr. Gulen is, nor is there any indication that any money changed hands, according to those familiar with the discussions and the FBI investigation.”
Well, that sounds like an extraordinarily thin case, to say nothing of its tangential relationship to Mueller’s prime directive. Tangential? That’s not even the right word. This has NOTHING to do with Russia’s meddling in the election and it has even less to do with the Trump campaign’s contacts with Kremlin officials during the campaign. Does Mueller have a broad mandate to take down every prominent member of the campaign on any legal violations he can find, or is he simply using irrelevant crimes to try and leverage these people against the president? Either way, this is an investigation that has gone off the straight and narrow path and into conspiracy town.
You would think that Democrats would be sympathetic to the problems of a Special Counsel team that has wandered astray from its original mission. They were screaming bloody murder in the 1990s, when Kenneth Starr – charged with getting to the bottom of the Whitewater real estate scandal – found himself interviewing Monica Lewinsky for her sexual dalliances with then-President Bill Clinton. Well? Where are those indignant voices today? When are some of those brave Democrats going to stand up and call on Mueller to either get back to the business at hand or resign his post?
We’re not holding our breath.