The biggest political scandal in American history 4

Why did Obama corruptly put the full power of his administration – his State Department, his Department of Justice, the intelligence services – behind the Clintons’ drive to get $145 billion (plus a few hundred thousand and a few pennies more) into their “Clinton Foundation” gofundme hoarde, by selling one fifth of US uranium to Russia?

What the heck did Obama gain by it?

And why, knowing how deeply guilty their president and secretary of state were of colluding with the Russian regime, did the Democratic Party launch a formal investigation into whether Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians, knowing full well he had not – though going to great lengths to fabricate some flimsy “evidence” that he had – when such an investigation was bound to turn up their own filthy racket? Stupidity? Obviously. Panic for cover-up? Certainly. Whopping chutzpah? That too.

Of course they never expected they’d have to take action to conceal the treasonous racket , because they were so sure that Hillary Clinton, for whom the foul plot was woven, would be president.

Oh, what a shock it was, and what agonizing fear gripped them when she lost the election!

Perhaps they imagined that if the people doing the investigation into the non-existent Trunp “collusion” were party to their own collusion, their secrets would be kept safe, the false case against Donald Trump brilliantly concocted without anyone suspecting that the real collusion had happened under the Obama presidency. As we said, stupid!

Andrew McCarthy writes at the National Review:

The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal. The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service”. The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. …

At the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

The Obama administration also knew that congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer. Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer. Prosecutors waited four years before quietly pleading the case out for a song, in violation of Justice Department charging guidelines. Meanwhile, the administration stonewalled Congress, reportedly threatening an informant who wanted to go public.  …

Naïvely viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” rather than a malevolent competitor, the Bush administration made a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the Kremlin in May 2008. …

Then Russia invaded Georgia.

 In 2009, notwithstanding this aggression (which continues to this day with Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton signaled the new administration’s determination to “reset” relations with Moscow.

In this reset, renewed cooperation and commerce in nuclear energy would be central. There had been such cooperation and commerce since the Soviet Union imploded. In 1992, the administration of President George H. W. Bush agreed with the nascent Russian federation that U.S. nuclear providers would be permitted to purchase uranium from Russia’s disassembled nuclear warheads (after it had been down-blended from its highly enriched weapons-grade level).

The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of this uranium to the U.S. is the Kremlin-controlled company “Tenex” (formally, JSC Techsnabexport). Tenex is a subsidiary of Rosatom. Tenex (and by extension, Rosatom) have an American arm called “Tenam USA.” Tenam is based in Bethesda, Md. Around the time President Obama came to power, the Russian official in charge of Tenam was Vadim Mikerin.

The Obama administration reportedly issued a visa for Mikerin in 2010, but a racketeering investigation led by the FBI determined that he was already operating here in 2009. The Racketeering Scheme As Tenam’s general director, Mikerin was responsible for arranging and managing Rosatom/Tenex’s contracts with American uranium purchasers. This gave him tremendous leverage over the U.S. companies. With the assistance of several confederates, Mikerin used this leverage to extort and defraud the U.S. contractors into paying inflated prices for uranium. They then laundered the proceeds through shell companies and secret bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Seychelle Islands — though sometimes transactions were handled in cash, with the skim divided into envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

The inflated payments served two purposes: They enriched Kremlin-connected energy officials in the U.S. and in Russia to the tune of millions of dollars; and they compromised the American companies that paid the bribes, rendering players in U.S. nuclear energy — a sector critical to national security — vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. 

But Mikerin had a problem. To further the Kremlin’s push for nuclear-energy expansion, he had been seeking to retain a lobbyist — from whom he planned to extort kickbacks, just as he did with the U.S. energy companies. With the help of an associate connected to Russian organized-crime groups, Mikerin found his lobbyist. The man’s name has not been disclosed, but we know he is now represented by Victoria Toensing, a well-respected Washington lawyer, formerly a federal prosecutor and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. When Mikerin solicited him in 2009, the lobbyist was uncomfortable, worried that the proposal would land him on the wrong side of the law. So he contacted the FBI and revealed what he knew. From then on, the Bureau and Justice Department permitted him to participate in the Russian racketeering scheme as a “confidential source” — and he is thus known as “CS-1” in affidavits the government, years later, presented to federal court in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.

At the time this unidentified man became an informant, the FBI was led by director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia.

The investigation was centered in Maryland (Tenam’s home base). There, the U.S. attorney was Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein — now President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump.

Because of CS-1, the FBI was able to understand and monitor the racketeering enterprise almost from the start. By mid-May 2010, it could already prove the scheme and three separate extortionate payments Mikerin had squeezed out of the informant. Equally important: According to reporting by John Solomon and Alison Spann in the Hill, the informant learned through conversations with Mikerin and others that Russian nuclear officials were trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 

There is no doubt that this extraordinarily gainful ingratiation took place. …

In 2005, former President Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire friend and benefactor, Frank Giustra, obtain coveted uranium-mining rights from Kazakhstan’s dictator. The Kazakh deal enabled Giustra’s company (Ur-Asia Energy) to merge into Uranium One (a South African company), a $3.5 billion windfall.

Giustra and his partners thereafter contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Besides the valuable Kazakh reserves, Uranium One also controlled about a fifth of the uranium stock in the United States.

Alas, Putin, the neighborhood bully, also wanted the Kazakh uranium. He leaned on Kazakhstan’s dictator, who promptly arrested the official responsible for selling the uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company. This put Uranium One’s stake in jeopardy of being seized by the Kazakh government.

As Uranium One’s stock plunged, its panicked executives turned to the State Department, where their friend Hillary Clinton was now in charge. State sprung into action, convening emergency meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that the crisis was resolved (translation: the shakedown was complete). Russia’s energy giant, Rosatom, would purchase 17 percent of Uranium One, and the Kazakh threat would disappear — and with it, the threat to the value of the Clinton donors’ holdings.

For Putin, though, that was just a start. He didn’t want a minority stake in Uranium One, he wanted control of the uranium. For that, Rosatom would need a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would be a tall order — not because of the Kazakh mining rights but because acquisition of Uranium One’s American reserves required U.S. government approval. Uranium is foundational to nuclear power and thus to American national security.

A foreign entity would not be able to acquire rights to American uranium without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment [CFIUS] in the United States.

CFIUS is composed of the leaders of 14 U.S. government agencies involved in national security and commerce. In 2010, these included not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … but Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department (and its lead agency, the FBI) were conducting the investigation of Rosatom’s ongoing U.S. racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering scheme.

In March 2010, to push the Obama “reset” agenda, Secretary Clinton traveled to Russia, where she met with Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who was then keeping the president’s chair warm for Putin. Soon after, it emerged that Renaissance Capital, a regime-tied Russian bank, had offered Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a single speech — far more than the former president’s usual haul in what would become one of his biggest paydays ever. Renaissance was an aggressive promoter of Rosatom. ...

The exorbitant speech fee … is a pittance compared with the $145 million … donated to the Clinton Foundation by sources linked to the Uranium One deal.

[Obama] met  with Putin and Medvedev. You’ll be comforted, I’m sure, to learn that aides to the Clintons, those pillars of integrity, assure us that the topics of Rosatom and Uranium One never came up.

Meanwhile, congressional opposition to Russia’s potential acquisition of American uranium resources began to stir.

As Peter Schweizer noted in his essential book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, four senior House members steeped in national-security issues — Peter King (R., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.), and Howard McKeon (R. Calif.) — voiced grave concerns, pointing out that Rosatom had helped Iran, America’s sworn enemy, build its Bushehr nuclear reactor. The members concluded that “the take-over of essential US nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency . . . would not advance the national security interests of the United States.” Republican senator John Barrasso objected to Kremlin control of uranium assets in his state of Wyoming, warning of Russia’s “disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States, specifically Iran and Venezuela”.

The House began moving a bill “expressing disfavor of the Congress” regarding Obama’s revival of the nuclear-cooperation agreement Bush had abandoned. Clearly, in this atmosphere, disclosure of the racketeering enterprise that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was, at that very moment, carrying out would have been the death knell of the asset transfer to Russia. It would also likely have ended the “reset” initiative in which Obama and Clinton were deeply invested — an agenda that contemplated Kremlin-friendly deals on nuclear-arms control and accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran.

So is the answer to “what was in it for Obama?” that he wanted friendly deals on nuclear arms control?

Obama wanted that? We don’t buy it.

But “accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran”? Now that is a possibility.

That was not going to be allowed to happen.

It appears that no disclosure of Russia’s racketeering and strong-arming was made to CFIUS or to Congress — not by Secretary Clinton, not by Attorney General Holder, and certainly not by President Obama.

In October 2010, CFIUS gave its blessing to Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One.

Even though the FBI had an informant collecting damning information, and had a prosecutable case against Mikerin by early 2010, the extortion racket against American energy companies was permitted to continue into the summer of 2014  … [after] Russia annexed Crimea. …

Furthermore –

The prosecution of Mikerin’s racketeering scheme had been so delayed that the Justice Department risked losing the ability to charge the 2009 felonies because of the five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes.

Still, a lid needed to be kept on the case.

It would have made for an epic Obama administration scandal, and a body blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, if in the midst of Russia’s 2014 aggression, public attention had been drawn to the failure, four years earlier, to prosecute a national-security case in order to protect Russia’s takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

The Obama administration needed to make this case go away — without a public trial if at all possible. …

The Justice Department and FBI had little to say when Mikerin and his co-conspirators were arrested [for extortion, fraud, and money laundering]. They quietly negotiated guilty pleas that were announced with no fanfare just before Labor Day. It was arranged that Mikerin would be sentenced just before Christmas. All under the radar. How desperate was the Obama Justice Department to plead the case out? Here, Rosenstein and Holder will have some explaining to do.

Mikerin … was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of money-laundering conspiracy. …  Under federal law, that crime (at section 1956 of the penal code) carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment — not only for conspiracy but for each act of money laundering. But Mikerin was not made to plead guilty to this charge. He was permitted to plead guilty to an offense charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy provision (section 371) that criminalizes agreements to commit any crime against the United States. Section 371 prescribes a sentence of zero to five years’ imprisonment.

The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major. Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section.  No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts.

Interestingly, as the plea agreement shows, the Obama DOJ’s Fraud Section was then run by Andrew Weissmann, who is now one of the top prosecutors in Robert Mueller’s ongoing special-counsel investigation of suspected Trump collusion with Russia.

There was still one other problem to tamp down. That was the informant — the lobbyist who alerted the FBI to the Russian racketeering enterprise back in 2009. He wanted to talk. Specifically, as his attorney, Ms. Toensing, explains, the informant wanted to tell Congress what he knows — about what the FBI and the Justice Department could already have proved in 2010 when CFIUS signed off on Russia’s acquisition of American nuclear material, and about what he’d learned of Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he was not allowed to talk. It turns out, the lawyer explains, that the FBI had induced him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Justice Department warned him that it was enforceable — even against disclosures to Congress.  …

In addition, when the informant was primed to file a federal civil lawsuit to recover his own losses from the scheme, he claims that the Justice Department threatened him with prosecution, warning that a lawsuit would violate the non-disclosure agreement. The Hill reports that it has obtained emails from a civil lawyer retained by the witness, which describe pressure exerted by the Justice Department to silence the informant. What a coincidence: That was in 2016, the stretch run of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

This stinks.

Will Attorney-General sessions nullify the non-disclosure agreement – which he could simply do? We wait to see.

Lou Dobbs of Fox Business News has said that this might turn out to be “The biggest political scandal in American history”.

When will the culprits be brought to trial?

Those of them engaged on the phony investigation into the “Trump-Russia collusion” need to be stopped now. Shades of the prison house are falling upon them.

And on the Clintons? And Eric Holder? And Barack Obama?

Will justice be done and be seen to be done?

Failure of the rule of law? 1

Is it not obvious that crimes have been committed by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

And that they are getting away with them?

Deroy Murdock writes at Townhall:

James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and the Clintons should do time for their crimes. So should the unnamed leakers who give away state secrets as if they were handing out leaflets at a busy street corner.

While the relentless Russiagate probe continues its futile search for lawbreaking among Team Trump, actual crimes already have occurred at the highest levels of the Deep State and among former Democratic officials. These perpetrators should be prosecuted. 

Someone violated federal law by unmasking former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency transcripts or other surveillance records of his conversations with Russian ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak. As part of the presidential transition, it was perfectly normal for Flynn to speak with Kislyak and other foreign emissaries. It also is no surprise that the NSA and other American intelligence agencies cup their ears when Kislyak speaks.

However, the identities of Americans in such conversations are supposed to remain confidential. Whoever unmasked Flynn in such documents violated the federal Espionage Act of 1917, 18 U.S. Code § 793. It prohibits the improper handling and transmission of “information respecting the national defense”.

The anti-Flynn leaks also appear to breach 18 U.S. Code § 798, which forbids disclosure of classified data “concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”  …

Leaking seems to be Washingtonians’ favorite indoor activity. And Comey got in on the fun, too. Referring to his memo-to-file about a private Oval Office meeting with Trump, Comey said, “I need to get that out into the public square,” as if that were his job.

… and as if there was something so incriminating in what the president said that it simply had to be broadcast to the nation.

But surely if there had been something of that sort, it would have been the right procedure for the FBI to bring to the attention of the Justice Department?

It is not normal FBI procedure to leak details of an investigation to the press rather than use it to build a criminal case.

A president cannot be charged with a criminal offense, but if there is proof that he has committed crimes, or has said something that could be interpreted as criminal, he could be impeached. But only by Congress, not by the readers of a  Communist Youth organ such as the New York Times.

Yet the Dirctor of the FBI wanted it to reach the NYT at all costs. So he leaked it through the conduit of a leftist academic.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.” This “close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school,” is named Daniel C. Richman. …

“I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey explained.

Shazzam!

Comey’s leaked memo hit the front pages, and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a special counsel: Comey’s mentor and one-time boss, former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

Comey and Mueller’s toasty relationship raises legitimate worries about Mueller’s capacity for disinterest in a case that involves the dismissal and public ostracism of his protégé of at least 14 years. …

How can Mueller be objective about his bosom buddy, who now is at the epicenter of this entire probe?

Also troublesome: Mueller’s team includes attorneys who maxed out in donations to Hillary and Obama, defended Hillary against Freedom of Information Act requests, and even represented a Clinton staffer at the heart of E-mailgate. …

According to Political Insider, “In total, Mueller’s team has made $52,650 in political donations since 1997, 95 percent of which ($49,900) went to Democrats.”

Among some 100,000 attorneys in the Washington, D.C. Bar, was Mueller really unable to employ lawyers who neither have worked for the Clintons nor underwritten their campaigns? Could he not have hired professionals unconnected to either the Clintons or the Trumps? Was that really so hard?

Or maybe Mueller deliberately assembled a kennel full of Hillary-loving legal Rottweilers.

Whatever Mueller’s objectives, he has crafted at a minimum — a major appearance of impropriety. If Team Mueller fairly, honestly, and properly discovers wrongdoing among Team Trump, Republicans may dismiss his findings as the crooked output of a rigged system. But if Mueller correctly exonerates Trump & Co., Democrats may scream that the special counsel chickened out, to avoid being accused of running a politically tainted probe. Either way, such second-guessing would erode confidence in American justice.

For his part, Comey’s leak to Professor Richman looks like a violation of, at least, 18 U.S. Code § 641, which bars the unauthorized conveyance of “any record” belonging to the U.S. government. Comey should be brought back before Congress and forced to spell out any and every such leak he ever made, describe the documents he spilled, the dates he did so, etc. Each one of those instances should constitute an individual count in an indictment for breaking the Espionage Act.

According to Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer benignly to E-mailgate as a “matter” rather than an “investigation”. While that latter word was more politically volatile, it also was accurate. After all, Comey ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not the Federal Bureau of Matter.

According to Circa.com’s John Solomon and Sara A. Carter, Comey told senators behind closed doors about “a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton”, never mind evidence of Hillary’s crimes.

Comey reportedly showed Lynch that do-not-prosecute record. As one source familiar with Comey’s comments told Solomon and Carter, “the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office”. …

Coupled with Lynch’s notorious “golf clubs and grandkids” pow-wow with Bill Clinton on her official plane at Phoenix Airport last June 27, just five days before the FBI questioned Hillary (inexplicably, not under oath), Lynch’s behavior reeks of obstruction of justice.

Comey stated last July 5 that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton in E-mailgate. This claim instantly was refuted by reasonable former federal prosecutors including Sidney Powell, Andrew McCarthy, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Michael Mukasey. They all stated why Hillary deserved indictment.

Comey said that Hillary should have stayed free because she had no criminal intent to violate the Espionage Act. However, to be convicted under this statute, one need not possess criminal intent. …

Hillary could be convicted merely for handling classified documents in a “grossly negligent” fashion. She certainly did this. …

Beyond E-mailgate, the Clinton Foundation’s bribes-for-favors scandal has gone entirely unpunished. Hillary approved the Kremlin’s purchase of 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies. She permitted Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to acquire Uranium One Inc. This is the sort of cloak-and-dagger Russian collusion about which Democratic mouths have foamed since last fall. The $145 million that Uranium One’s investors pumped into the Clinton Foundation before, during, and after this grotesque deal epitomizes the pay-to-play bonanza for which Hillary should be tossed in the clink. Ditto the $500,000 fee that Kremlin-controlled Renaissance Capital handed Bill Clinton for a one-hour speech while Hillary decided to green-light this transaction. Remember: the Clintons literally gave Vladimir Putin access to the active ingredient in hydrogen bombs — extracted from American soil. …

And “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy is treason according to the Constitution.

The House Government Oversight Committee should hold public hearings and subpoena Comey, Lynch, and the Clintons and make them testify publicly about these crimes, under penalty of perjury.

After that, President Trump should keep a promise that he made in the October 9 debate against Hillary: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”

Prosecuting Comey for leaking government papers, Lynch for sandbagging the E-mailgate probe, and the Clintons and Clintonites for running their bribes-for-favors scams would not signal American devolution into a banana republic. Rather, this would reinvigorate a core principle of American constitutional republicanism: Equal Justice Under Law.

On all that is wrong with James Comey’s buddy Robert Mueller being appointed to sniff out an unknown crime in the Trump administration, Andrew McCarthy writes:

So I’ve been wondering: Why on earth does a prosecutor, brought in to investigate a case in which there is no apparent crime, need a staff of 14 lawyers?

Or, I should say, “14 lawyers and counting.” According to the press spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller — yeah, he’s got a press spokesman, too — there are “several more in the pipeline.”

Concededly, none of Mueller’s recruits requires Senate confirmation, as do Justice Department officials — notwithstanding that the former may end up playing a far more consequential role in the fate of the Trump administration. But does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get — count ’em — three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

A special counsel, the need for whom is far from obvious, has in just a few days staffed up with four times the number of lawyers. And all for a single investigation that the FBI has described as a counterintelligence probe — i.e., not a criminal investigation, the kind for which you actually need lawyers.  

Oh, and about those three Justice Department appointees: One of them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has already recused himself from the investigation in question — the department’s most high profile undertaking. Another, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is reportedly weighing whether he, too, should bow out. Perhaps he figures he has already done quite enough, having sicced a special-counsel investigation on the Trump Administration by flouting both the regulation that requires a basis for a criminal investigation before a special counsel is appointed, and the regulation that requires limiting the special counsel’s jurisdiction to the specific factual matter that triggers this criminal investigation.

The way this is supposed to work is: the Justice Department first identifies a likely crime, and then assigns a prosecutor to investigate it. Here, by contrast, there are no parameters imposed on the special counsel’s jurisdiction. Mueller is loosed—with 14 lawyers and more coming—to conduct what I’ve called a “fishing expedition”.

But it is actually worse than that … Mueller’s probe is the functional equivalent of a general warrant: a boundless writ to search for incriminating evidence. It is the very evil the Fourth Amendment was adopted to forbid: a scorch-the-earth investigation in the absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed.

For now, Mueller appears utterly without limits, in his writ and in his resources. As the ease with which he has staffed up shows, it is not hard to recruit lawyers. All you need is money. Mueller has a bottomless budget, thanks to a bit of Treasury Department chicanery known as “permanent, indefinite appropriations”. 

Under the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, no funding is supposed to be paid out of the treasury unless Congress has approved it in advance. Under the Framers’ design, with an eye toward limited, accountable government, every spending initiative must compete with every other one when Congress enacts a budget. Lawmakers must decide what we can and can’t afford when they draw on what is supposed to be the finite pot of money confiscated from taxpayers. We are supposed to know what we are underwriting and what it will cost.

The Swamp, ever resistant to such restraints, has developed a scheme known as “indefinite appropriations”. These are slush funds for future contingencies. A good example is the “Judgment Fund” which President Obama raided to underwrite nearly $2 billion in ransom payments demanded by Iran, the sweetener he needed to close the infamous nuclear deal.

And that sounds like treason too.

It is an Orwellian game. What makes an appropriation an appropriation is that Congress provides a definite amount of funding suitable to the task it has approved. If it turns out more is needed, the executive branch is supposed to come back to Congress — ask for it and justify why it should be prioritized over other needs.

Mueller’s special counsel investigation is somehow under no such restrictions, according to the Justice Department. He unilaterally decides how much staffing he needs. And unlike a normal prosecutor’s office, the special counsel does not have to apportion his resources over hundreds of cases. He can direct all of them at one investigative target.

In this instance, the target is Trump, and the resources — apart from what will be scores of FBI agents — include 14 lawyers (going on 15 … going on 16…).

These lawyers, overwhelmingly, are Democrats. … Mueller’s staffers contribute to Trump’s political opponents, some heavily. The latest Democratic talking-point about this unseemly appearance is that hiring regulations forbid an inquiry into an applicant’s political affiliation. That’s laughable. These are lawyers Mueller has recruited. They are not “applicants”. We’re talking about top-shelf legal talent, accomplished professionals who have jumped at the chance of a gig they do not need but, clearly, want. …

Notice that, consistent with the familiar ethical canon that lawyers must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the standard here is based not on the lawyer’s personal rectitude or his subjective belief that he can administer the law impartially. The issue is: What would this look like to fair-minded observers?

Consequently, if this boundless investigation careens into a criminal prosecution, Mueller could have some major soul-searching to do. I thus confess to being taken aback that he has exacerbated the problem, rather than trying to mitigate it, with his staffing decisions. Into an investigation that was already fraught with political tension, the special counsel has recruited partisans — to politicians who describe themselves not as a loyal opposition but as the Trump “Resistance”. What are fair-minded people to make of that?

Not just one or two recruits, but 14 lawyers, with more to come. …

Why does special counsel Mueller need 14 lawyers (and more coming) for a counterintelligence investigation, as to which the intelligence professionals — agents, not lawyers — have found no “collusion with Russia” evidence after over a year of hard work? What will those lawyers be doing with no limits on their jurisdiction, with nothing but all the time and funding they need to examine one target, Donald Trump?

The Mueller investigation itself has the smell of corruption about it.

The law is the house in which we live. If its timbers are rotten, what will become of us?