FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, before the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Greetings RedStaters! I’ve been gone a long time but found it impossible to remain silent after all that’s happened recently with the Mueller investigation. So here goes from someone who is not a lawyer.
Today, in response to Trump’s presidential transition team (PTT) lawyer Kory Langhoffer, Special Counsel Robert Mueller spokesman Peter Carr stated (my emphasis):
“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”
Since when is Mueller’s office conducting an flatout “ongoing criminal investigation”?
Can he legally conduct a criminal investigation without just cause?
The scope of Mueller’s jurisdication was clearly innumerated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Mueller after Sessions recused himself. Here is what order states from May 17, 2017:
ORDER NO. 3915-2017
APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL
TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE WITH THE
2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND RELATED MATTERS
By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility to provide supervision and management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian govemments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:
(a) Robert S. Mueller III is appointed to serve as Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice.
(b) 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 President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).
(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.
(d) Sections 600.4 through 600. l 0 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations are applicable to the Special Counsel.
The sole purpose of the appointment of Special Counsel was to continue Comey’s investigation of Russian interference and possible collusion by Team Trump. It can prosecute crimes it finds during its pursuit of it’s defined purpose.
What did Comey testify to Congress that prompted appointing a Special Counsel that Rosenstein referenced in his order (my emphasis)?
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. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
For months, Comey insisted that the FBI was conducting a counterintelligence investigation to get to the bottom of Russian interfernce in our election. To date, there is no proof that actually happened.
Sure the Russians tweeted stuff and sent diplomats on missions to gather intel…it’s what they do. There is no proof that they hacked into local ballot machines and changed the outcome. Why even Obama said so after the election.
It’s been over a year since the election and no proof has been shown that collusion existed. We’ll never know if the Russian’s hacked the DNC server since the Obama DOJ refused to subpeona their server after the DNC refused to cooperate with an investigation. If only the DOJ had a ferocious appetite for the truth back then the country might be able to move on.
How many stolen emails and laptops does it take to determine if Team Trump colluded with Russia to effect the election? Surely there is enough proof in the tens of thousands of emails GSA voluntarily released to Mueller upon his kind request to determine if Team Trump’s transition team or Trump himself colluded with Russia, no?
Back to the point. Mueller was specifically appointed to determine collusion. If he wants to change the narrow scope of his charter, then he can do so under the codes that Rosenstein stated in his authorization of a special counsel in his last point (d):
28 CFR 600.4 – Jurisdiction.
(a)Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.
(b)Additional jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the course of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere.
(c) Civil and administrative jurisdiction. If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel determines that administrative remedies, civil sanctions or other governmental action outside the criminal justice system might be appropriate, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General with respect to the appropriate component to take any necessary action. A Special Counsel shall not have civil or administrative authority unless specifically granted such jurisdiction by the Attorney General.
I’m not aware of Mueller requesting additional jurisdiction to conduct his investigation. It’s likely that he had the authority to prosecute Flynn for perjury but only because he obtained the transition team’s emails unlawfully.
To change the scope from a counterintelligence investigation to a blatant criminal investigation (of what crime I don’t know) would require Rosenstein’s or maybe Session’s express approval. We can surmise that Rosenstein would grant Mueller’s request in a heart beat.