Archive for the ‘Robert Mueller’ category

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe

October 19, 2017

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, October 18, 2017

(Please see also, How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One? — DM)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

At the end of their lengthy editorial regarding the new Uranium One revelations —  “Team Obama’s stunning coverup of Russian crimes” — the New York Post editorial board writes:

Until September 2013, the FBI director was Robert Mueller — who’s now the special counsel probing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It’s hard to see how he can be trusted in that job unless he explains what he knew about this Obama-era cover-up.

I’ll go the Post one better. Virtually whatever Mueller has to say about his involvement or non-involvement in this metastasizing scandal, he must recuse himself immediately for the most obvious reasons of propriety and appearance. Frankly, it’s outrageous that he, Ron Rosenstein, or anyone who even touched the Uranium One investigation now be involved with the current probe — unless the real name of the FBI is actually the NKVD.  This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, even remotely.  Forget transparency — this was deliberate occlusion.

The collusion Trump & Co have been accused of is chickenfeed compared to twenty percent of U.S. uranium ending up in Putin’s hands under the aegis of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, the latter two members of CFIUS (the inter-agency committee that reviews the transfer of U.S. companies to foreign entities and was then chaired by Timothy Geithner).  We have heard disturbing allegations of this for some time, via “Clinton Cash” and even from the New York Times, but the new disclosure that a 2009 FBI investigation of this possible nucleardeal uncovered kickbacks, money laundering, and bribes from the Russian company involved (Rosatom) and yet it still was given the go-ahead by the Obama administration is — I can think of no better word — appalling.  How could it have come to pass that this occurred?  Why are we supposed to believe anyone now?

On Wednesday, Senator Grassley asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russia company that the Obama administration approved the purchase?”

Evidently, not much.  At least so far. In fact Sessions said that Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein, who led this long-hidden investigation, should “investigate himself.”

No, Jeff.  You may have properly recused yourself from the Russian investigation, despite Trump’s criticism, but this one is your job.  You run the Department of Justice and therefore the FBI.  Something is rotten as much as it ever was in Denmark.  Indeed it’s worse, since nuclear weapons were not even dreamed of in Hamlet’s time.  So don’t be like Hamlet.  Act now.

For starters, Mueller must step down.  We cannot have an investigation of this magnitude that half the country will completely disrespect — and for increasingly good reason.  History will mock it, also for good reason.  On top of that, with our country as split as it is, the results could be catastrophic.

Equally important, the reputation of the FBI must be resuscitated.  Speaking entirely as a private citizen, I do no trust the FBI anymore. To be honest, it scares me. And I am certain I am not alone.  It feels like an often-biased organization so bent on self-preservation that it hides evidence and lets the powerful off the hook. That’s the royal road to totalitarianism.  No, it’s not the NKVD yet.  No one that I know of is being hauled off in the middle of the night.  But very few of us know what it is really up to, how it makes its frequently dubious decisions, or whether it is working for the good of the citizenry at all.  Almost everything we learn of its investigations is so heavily redacted, no one but one of the myriad leakers seems to know what it means — and they’re usually lying.  This, as they say, will not end well.

People can dismiss my view by claiming I am a right-wing ideologue, but the problem transcends administrations, as have FBI directors.  Something is wrong with the system.  No one seems to be watching the watchers, from the FBI to the NSA.  Other than Senator Grassley, will anyone have the guts to save us?

How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One?

October 19, 2017

How Much Did Mueller and Rosenstein Know about Uranium One? American ThinkerDaniel John Sobieski, October 19, 2017

Back in July, I called for a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s collusion with Russia to turn over control of 20 percent of our uranium supplies to Russian interests in return for some $145 million in donation to the Clinton Foundation. Now it turns out that there was one, an FBI investigation dating back to 2009, with current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller up to their eyeballs in covering up evidence of Hillary’s collusion, bordering on treason, with Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

Prior to the Obama administration approving the very controversial deal in 2010 giving Russia 20% of America’s Uranium, the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were involved in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in order to benefit Vladimir Putin, says a report by The Hill….

John Solomon and Alison Spann of The Hill: Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show….

From today’s report we find out that the investigation was supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who is now President Trump’s Deputy Attorney General, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now the deputy FBI director under Trump.

Robert Mueller was head of the FBI from Sept 2001-Sept 2013 until James Comey took over as FBI Director in 2013. They were BOTH involved in this Russian scam being that this case started in 2009 and ended in 2015.

If evidence of bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering in the Uranium One affair are not grounds for a special prosecutor assigned to investigate Hillary Clinton, what is? Rosenstein and Mueller, by their silence on this investigation hidden from Congress and the American people, are unindicted co-conspirators in Hillary’s crimes and should be terminated immediately.

One can understand the Obama Justice Department covering up and slow-waking this investigation, but what about the Trump DOJ and our missing-in-action Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Was this the reason Democrats were hot-to-trot on him recusing himself from all things Russian? How could Rosenstein sit before Congress and not say anything, only to appoint Mueller to investigate Team Trump? Rosenstein and Mueller are poster children for duplicity and corruption.

Collusion itself is not a crime but jeopardizing American national security by conspiring to supply the Russian nuclear program with our uranium is a crime of the highest order. No one to date has provided any evidence that any favor was granted as a result of that meeting or that the Trump campaign benefited in any way from the meeting.

One cannot say the same thing about Hillary Clinton and her role in the Uranium One deal with Russia. Clinton played a pivotal role in the UraniumOne deal which ended up giving Russian interests control of 20 percent of our uranium supply in exchange for donations of $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a federal crime. As Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer has noted:

Tuesday on Fox Business Network, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Breitbart editor at large and the author of “Clinton Cash,” Peter Schweizer said there needs to be a federal investigation into the Russian uranium deal then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved after the Clinton Foundation receiving $145 million from the shareholders of Uranium One…

Discussing the Clinton Foundation receiving $145 million from the shareholders of Uranium One, he continued, “Look, there are couple of things that are extremely troubling about the deal we touched on. number one is the amount of money $145 million. We are not talking about a super PAC giving a million dollars to support a candidate. We are not talking about campaign donations. We are talking about $145 million which by the way is 75 percent or more of the annual budget of the Clinton Foundation itself so it’s a huge sum of money. Second of all we are talking about a fundamental issue of national security which is uranium — it’s not like oil and gas that you can find all sorts of places. They are precious few places you can mine for uranium, in the United States is one of those areas. And number three we are talking about the Russian government. A lot of people don’t realize it now, in parts of the Midwest American soil is owned by Vladimir Putin’s government because this deal went through. And in addition to the $145 million Bill Clinton got half a million dollars, $500,000 for a 20-minute speech from a Russian investment bank tied to the Kremlin, two months before the State Department signed off on this deal. It just stinks to high heaven and I think it requires a major investigation by the federal government.”

Yet seemingly the only thing warranting a major federal investigation is a wasted 20 minutes of Donald Trump Jr’s life that he will never get back. Democrats and the media and, again, apologies for the redundancy, had no problem with Bill Hillary Clinton brokering deals giving Russia and Putin 20 percent of our uranium supply to benefit Clinton Foundation donors, including Canadian billionaire Frank Giustra.

Giustra earlier had a cozy relationship with Bill Clinton and participated in and benefitted from his involvement in a scam run by the Clinton Foundation in Colombia.

Clinton donor Giustra benefited significantly from his association, even if the people of Columbia didn’t:

When we met him (Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo) in his wood-paneled office in Colombia’s Capitol building in May, his desk was stacked high with papers related to Pacific Rubiales’s labor practices, the result of years of investigative work by his staff. He did not see the Clinton Foundation and its partnership with Giustra’s Pacific Rubiales as either progressive or positive. “The territory where Pacific Rubiales operated,” he said, thumbing through pages of alleged human-rights violations, “was a type of concentration camp for workers.”…

In September 2005, Giustra and Clinton flew to Kazakhstan together to meet the Central Asian nation’s president. Shortly thereafter, Giustra secured a lucrative concession to mine Kazakh uranium, despite his company’s lack of experience with the radioactive ore. As Bill Clinton opened doors for Giustra, the financier gave generously to Clinton’s foundation.

As the New York Times reported, this mutual back-scratching gave Clinton donor Giustra control of a significant portion of the world’s uranium supply:

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton…

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges…

In February 2007, a company called Uranium One agreed to pay $3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia, would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.

Now isn’t that special? Both the Clintons and their donor made out handsomely. Uranium One, which was gradually taken over by the Russians, would later be involved in a curious deal involving Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. As the New York Times reported:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well…

Soon, Uranium One began to snap up companies with assets in the United States. In April 2007, it announced the purchase of a uranium mill in Utah and more than 38,000 acres of uranium exploration properties in four Western states, followed quickly by the acquisition of the Energy Metals Corporation and its uranium holdings in Wyoming, Texas and Utah.

So in exchange for donations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with husband Bill, gave Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a nuclear power, control of 20 percent of the world’s uranium supply. Is that what Hillary Clinton meant by a “Russian reset”? Yet neither Congressional Democrats, who accuse Trump and his son of being too cozy with Moscow, nor their wholly owned subsidiary, the mainstream media, are eager to talk about the Clinton uranium deals with Russia.

Actually, we no longer need an investigation of Hillary Clinton and Uranium One. This FBI investigation in conjunction to what we already knew is prima facie evidence of criminal corruption and intentionally putting of American national security at risk for personal financial gain. If an indictment of Hilary Clinton is not forthcoming, then Jeff Sessions should also be fired.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Mueller and Trump Prepare for War with America the Loser

July 22, 2017

Mueller and Trump Prepare for War with America the Loser, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, July 21, 2017

Watergate ended with a whimper, not a bang. After months of sturm und drang, Richard Nixon finally mounted that helicopter, gave that famous farewell peace sign and flew away. Most Americans were relieved to see him go. Our long national nightmare was over.

If something similar happens to Donald Trump, it will be entirely different. A significant portion of the American public — myself admittedly among them — will be convinced he has been railroaded in a partisan hatchet job. The voters who elected the president are going to feel, at the very least, undermined, more likely betrayed,  by their own government and public officials. Many are going to feel this has nothing to do whatsoever with justice and will act accordingly.

The exact results of this mammoth national split are not easy to predict but they could range from massive civil disobedience to outright civil war.

The behavior of special prosecutor Robert Mueller has exacerbated the situation. Even CNN admits he has staffed his investigation almost exclusively with Democratic Party supporters and donors. It’s hard to say whether this is brazen or stupid or both, but it certainly doesn’t lend credibility to his eventual decisions. At the very least it’s extremely unsophisticated for a former director of the FBI — but perhaps that’s really the way it is. Nothing (and no one) can stand in the way of prosecution.

And then there are the leaks that emerge from his supposedly confidential investigation at seemingly a mile a minute pace. The (always) anonymous creeps who do this are sleazy individuals who — under the mega-narcissistic pretense that they are informing the public of something of importance — undercut everything everyone has ever known about the rule of law. They are, effectively, enemies of the state and even more, of the American people — and pompous ones into the bargain.  It would be poetic justice to send them all to Gitmo.

The most recent of these leaks — published as is so frequently the case by that junk scandal sheet formerly known as The Washington Post — tells us that AG Sessions was supposedly talking about the Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. What Sessions said exactly, which could have been something completely innocuous and no more than a sentence or two, if indeed he did say anything at all, was of course not mentioned. If it was something serious, most likely it would have been specified, but then who knows. We don’t know if this leak is first, second or fifth hand. We don’t know anything about the source. We don’t know anything about the content. We just have the smear. Not surprisingly too, this leak — a character assassination really — was again anonymous (what else?). When Joe McCarthy made his famous character assassinations, at least he had the guts to do it under his own name. (Yes, I know McCarthy turned out to be right in some instances.)

Mr. Mueller runs a tight ship, no? (Maybe he doesn’t even want to. Comey certainly didn’t care. He leaked himself.)

The situation is grim all around. Trump, lawyering up, is obviously preparing for war against Mueller who, in his turn, is apparently digging into information regarding the president’s ten-year-old Russian business dealings. Again, this is a fraught decision because everyone in the informed public is aware of the myriad Clinton-Russia connections (including Uranium One) detailed in Clinton Cash that were, as far as we know, never investigated by the FBI, not to mention the well-documented Russian business connections of John Podesta and his brother.

If Trump and his family are singled out for this when the Democrats have skated, this will be regarded by a vast proportion of the public as selective prosecution further exacerbating the ominous possible results I referred to above.

To take any of this seriously as a search for truth is absurd. It’s more like a blood sport, the modern equivalent of a gladiatorial. Trump baiting. And Trump, as the bear, lashes out.

He has reason to. As everyone knows, cooks cook, plumbers fix the plumbing, and prosecutors prosecute. It’s what they do, part of their personality structure. Especially if the prey is big, and they don’t bring in at least one or two significant players, they feel as if they haven’t done their job. So they work and work until they do — nab someone for something. Trump knows this. The media know this. We all know it.

And bad as it may be for Trump, it’s going to be even worse for We the People.

En garde!

Trump says he ‘100 percent’ would speak under oath on Comey conversations

June 9, 2017

Trump says he ‘100 percent’ would speak under oath on Comey conversations, Washington Examiner, Josh Siegel, June 9, 2017

President Trump said Friday that he would “100 percent” be willing to testify under oath that he never told former FBI Director James Comey that he “hoped” Comey would drop the bureau’s investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

In a news conference in the Rose Garden with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump also said he would be “glad” to tell his side of the story to special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I didn’t say that,” Trump said when asked whether he asked Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. “I will tell you, I didn’t say that. And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I’ve read today, but I did not say that.”

Trump also denied Comey’s account that the president had asked his former FBI director to pledge loyalty.

“I hardly know the man,” Trump said of Comey. “Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance? Who would do that?”

Tom Fitton on OAN: “I don’t know if Mueller has the spine” for Trump/Russia Investigation

May 31, 2017

Tom Fitton on OAN: “I don’t know if Mueller has the spine” for Trump/Russia Investigation, OAN via YouTube, May 31, 2017

 

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe

May 26, 2017

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe, Newsmax, Todd Beamon, May 25, 2017

Jared Kushner (AP)

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that reports that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was under FBI scrutiny on Russia pointed to an inquiry that was “being done backwards” and “raises great concerns about civil liberties.”

“Usually, you can point to a statute and say, ‘We’re investigating crime under this statute,'” Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN before referencing special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

“What Mueller seems to be doing is saying: ‘We don’t like what happened. Maybe there was some collaboration. But I can’t figure out what statute was being violated.’

“When Hillary Clinton was being investigated, at least we knew what the statute was.”

The Washington Post and NBC News reported on Thursday that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s meetings last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a banker from Moscow.

Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s lawyer, said that her client would cooperate with the probe.

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings,” she said in a statement. “He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Dershowitz had some advice for Gorelick, whom he said was a former student.

“I would say, first to the investigators: ‘Before you talk to my client, I want to know what your authority is. What your jurisdiction is.'”

Lacking that foundation, Dershowitz likened the Kushner inquiry to the words of Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

“I don’t like criminal investigations to start on hoping that once you have the target, maybe we’ll find the crime, maybe we’ll find the statute – and if we can’t find the statute, we’ll stretch the statute to fit the person.

“I don’t want to ever see that come to America.”

If the President Is Not the Subject of a Criminal Investigation, Then Say So

May 19, 2017

If the President Is Not the Subject of a Criminal Investigation, Then Say So, PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy, May 19, 2017

Succeeding Louis F. Freeh in Washington, DC. Robert Mueller named special prosecutor for Russia probe, Washington DC, USA – 17 May 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Thus, to the extent it involves the president, the investigation announced to the public is a counterintelligence probe. That matters because it would mean the president is not a criminal suspect. A counterintelligence probe is not intended to build a criminal prosecution. It is intended to collect information. Its purpose is to uncover the actions and intentions of foreign powers to the extent they bear on American interests.

To this point, after months of congressional and intelligence-community investigations, there appears to be no evidence, much less strong proof, of a crime committed by Trump. But Democrats calculate that the assignment of a prosecutor implies that there must be an underlying crime — an implication that Sen. Graham’s comments reinforce. That is why they pushed so hard for a special counsel. It fills a big hole in their narrative. They can now say, “What do you mean no crime? They’ve appointed a prosecutor, so there must be a crime — collusion, obstruction, Russia … it’s a crime wave!”

******************************

Well is he, or isn’t he?

Almost everything in a counterintelligence investigation is classified. And much of what goes on in a criminal investigation is secret, kept confidential by investigators and prosecutors. But there is one thing that need be neither classified nor otherwise concealed from the American people: the status of the president.

Is the president of the United States the subject of a criminal investigation?

If he is not, then the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller owe it to the country to say so. There is no reason to be coy about it. In fact, because a president under criminal suspicion would be crippled, his inability to govern detrimental to the nation, it is imperative to be forthright about his status.

Instead, political games are being played and the public is forming an impression — which I strongly suspect is a misimpression — based on semantics. There is no guaranteed outcome in an investigation, but the government should not be able to keep from us the precise nature of the investigation when it involves the president and when the fact that there is an investigation has already been disclosed publicly.

We’ve been told that the main investigation, the one that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein has appointed special counsel Mueller to conduct, is a counterintelligence investigation. That is what former FBI director James Comey revealed (with the approval of the Justice Department) in House testimony on March 20:

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. (Emphasis added.)

In appointing Mueller on May 17, Rosenstein issued an internal Justice Department order stating:

The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump[.]

Thus, to the extent it involves the president, the investigation announced to the public is a counterintelligence probe. That matters because it would mean the president is not a criminal suspect. A counterintelligence probe is not intended to build a criminal prosecution. It is intended to collect information. Its purpose is to uncover the actions and intentions of foreign powers to the extent they bear on American interests.

Yet the New York Times reports that Rosenstein, in briefing the Senate Thursday:

 … affirmed that the Justice Department’s inquiry was focused on possible crimes.

This portrayal of the purported “focus” of the investigation was echoed by several senators, including Republicans Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn.

To be clear, I don’t believe Graham and Cornyn are trying to create a misimpression. To the contrary, I think they are hoping to scale back high-profile congressional hearings about the controversy. Hearings that are paralyzing the administration and frittering away the legislative time needed to push forward the Trump agenda of addressing Obamacare’s ongoing collapse, tax reform, border enforcement, the confirmation of executive officials and judges, and so on.

Yet, listen to Sen. Graham:

You’ve got a special counsel who has prosecutorial powers now, and I think we in Congress have to be very careful not to interfere.

What he means is that once a Justice Department investigation gears up, Congress should back off. But his choice of words would lead any reasonable person to infer: “Ah-hah! Now we have a serious criminal investigation. People are going to be prosecuted.”

On the Democrats’ part, this conflation of intelligence and criminal investigations is quite intentional.

If the probe of Trump’s campaign is about crimes (rather than intelligence about Russia), then they move much closer to the ultimate goal of impeachment, to say nothing of the immediate goals of derailing Trump’s agenda and reaping an electoral windfall in 2018.

This has been one of my main objections to the appointment of a special counsel. To this point, after months of congressional and intelligence-community investigations, there appears to be no evidence, much less strong proof, of a crime committed by Trump. But Democrats calculate that the assignment of a prosecutor implies that there must be an underlying crime — an implication that Sen. Graham’s comments reinforce. That is why they pushed so hard for a special counsel. It fills a big hole in their narrative. They can now say, “What do you mean no crime? They’ve appointed a prosecutor, so there must be a crime — collusion, obstruction, Russia … it’s a crime wave!”

In advancing this storyline, Democrats have gotten plenty of help from the FBI and the Justice Department.

In his March 20 testimony, Comey elaborated:

As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

With due respect, this is a heavy-handed way of putting it. As is well-known throughout the FBI and Justice Department, it is not permissible to use counterintelligence investigative authority to conduct what is in reality a criminal case. It is true enough that if, in the course of a counterintelligence probe, FBI agents incidentally discover that crimes have been committed, they are not required to ignore those crimes. But the agents do not go into a counterintelligence probe with an eye toward collecting criminal evidence. If the point is to build a criminal case, you do a criminal investigation.

Rosenstein’s clumsily worded order also contributes to the confusion. The Comey testimony cited by Rosenstein made it clear that there is a broad investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that examining the nature of links and coordination — if any — between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime is just a part of it. Rosenstein’s order, by contrast, describes the investigation as if its sole focus is ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. For the life of me, I don’t understand why he framed it that way; he could simply have referred to “the investigation confirmed by” Comey and left it at that. Why would the Trump Justice Department gratuitously highlight the notion of Trump-Russia ties when, so far, none have been proved?

Moreover, Rosenstein’s memo goes on to explain that Mueller’s investigative jurisdiction includes any “matters” that arise out of the investigation. This is unavoidable: it needs to be clarified that the special counsel has authority to prosecute any crimes he may stumble upon while conducting the counterintelligence investigation. But the expression of this happenstance reinforces the notion that crimes have been committed.

And of course, crimes may well have been committed … but not, so far as we know, by Trump.

We might think about the main investigation, the counterintelligence investigation, as the mother ship. Attached to it, but not part of its core, are barnacles. There is the investigation of Michael Flynn, which is known to be a criminal probe — there is a grand jury issuing subpoenas, which is not something that happens in a counterintelligence investigation. There have also been suggestions of a barnacle, potentially criminal in nature, related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, related to shady dealings with Ukrainian pols tied to Putin, in the years prior to the campaign.

Evidence of this (potentially) criminal activity came to light because the FBI and Justice Department were conducting the main counterintelligence investigation. Consequently, the activity comes within the special counsel’s jurisdiction — he is authorized to investigate and prosecute it. But this does not convert the main investigation into a criminal investigation. It is still a counterintelligence investigation.

So notice the cynical game: the public statements of the FBI, the Justice Department, and Democrats exploit the fact of the counterintelligence investigation as a basis for saying that agents are investigating Trump. But they are not investigating him as a criminal suspect — the subject of the counterterrorism investigation is Russia; Trump is relevant only to the extent that people connected to his campaign may have ties to Russia.

In tandem, the public statements of the FBI, the Justice Department, and Democrats exploit the fact that the activities of Flynn and Manafort are part of the investigation in order to describe the investigation as “criminal.” But the criminal aspects of the investigation are tangential to the main event, Russia and any potential ties to Trump, which is not criminal.

See the trick? Trump is part of the investigation, the investigation is part criminal, ergo: Trump must be a criminal suspect.

Such word games should not happen.

No one appreciates more than I do the importance of discretion in official public announcements about investigations. But when officials choose to make highly unusual public acknowledgments that an investigation is taking place, they should never create a misimpression. If they have done so, however inadvertently, they must clarify the record.

It is very simple, if President Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation, the Justice Department owes it to the American people, and to Trump, to say so. If he is not the subject of a criminal investigation, they should say so — and they should cease and desist suggestions to the contrary.