Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller smiles as he speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, during his farewell ceremony. Mueller is stepping down in September after 12 years heading the agency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
I’ve posted a couple of times on the fiasco that is brewing in federal court in Virginia where Robert Mueller’s crack team are getting ready to have to prosecute at least one, and possibly two, cases they never thought would see the light of day. To recap, under pressure to show he was doing something vaguely related to his charter, Robert Mueller engineered the indictments of three Russian companies, one of which was not even in existence during the 2016 election, and thirteen Russian nationals who we are told exist. I say “told exist” because if you can’t get the existence of a whole company right, you lose the ability to convince me you know the names of individual Russian hackers and have me not laugh.
The first fly in the ointment appeared when one of the defendants, Concord Management and Consulting, retained US counsel. Then the counsel showed up in court and they were not overawed by Mueller. In fact, they had an extensive list of items they were demanding under discovery. This will probably, in the fullness of time, place Mueller in the unenviable position of either producing classified information for the defense or dropping the case.
But wait, there’s more.
As I’ve said since the day the indictment was announced, this was a public relations ploy by Mueller. He indicted a handful of Russians that he thought he’d never have to try. The NeverTrump people and progressives were left in a post-orgasmic swoon. And Mueller went on with whatever it is that he’s doing. Now it seems like his team may have been so confident of the scam they were running that they didn’t even bother to run it properly. I’m quoting the whole article because there is so much awesome in here I don’t want to leave any out.
Attorneys for an alleged component of Russian trolling efforts during the 2016 presidential election are demanding that special counsel Robert Mueller be forced to reveal the grand jury instructions used in count one of the government’s indictment against Concord Management and Consulting LLC.
The nine-page motion (plus supporting documents) filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia relies upon Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(3)(E)(ii) which provides:
The court may authorize disclosure—at a time, in a manner, and subject to any other conditions that it directs—of a grand-jury matter…at the request of a defendant who shows that a ground may exist to dismiss the indictment because of a matter that occurred before the grand jury.
The motion further specifies that Concord Management is requesting a private “inspection of the legal instructions provided to the grand jury regarding Count One of the Indictment…in order to determine whether the instructions provided could support a motion to dismiss Count One of the Indictment.”
Concord’s argument is that Mueller failed to include a necessary knowledge requirement in count one of the indictment against Concord Management and other Russian entities and therefore, may need to be dismissed. (A knowledge requirement refers to intent or knowledge of criminal wrongdoing. Thus, an allegedly offending party would have knowledge of the criminality they’re alleged to have engaged in.) The motion notes, “violations of the relevant federal campaign laws and foreign agent registration requirements administered by the DOJ and the FEC require the defendant to have acted ‘willfully,’ a word that does not appear anywhere in Count One of the Indictment.”
The motion continues, “As such, Count One of the Indictment appears to be facially invalid because it fails to charge an essential element of the offense of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing and defeating the functions of the FEC and the DOJ, that is, that the Defendant acted willfully, in this case meaning that Defendant was aware of the FEC and FARA requirements, agreed to violate those requirements, and ultimately acted with intent to violate those requirements.”
Concord Management’s Monday motion contains at least one reference to U.S. case law where similar indictments were dismissed because they failed to adequately track statutory language. In other words, Concord Management is arguing that Mueller and his army of attorneys charged Concord Management (and other Russian entities) with a vague-sounding “crime” that isn’t actually a crime.
In fact, Concord Management’s motion explicitly says as much, claiming, “[T]he DOJ never brought any case like the instant Indictment, that is, an alleged conspiracy by a foreign corporation to ‘interfere’ in a Presidential election by allegedly funding free speech. The obvious reason for this is that no such crime exists in the federal criminal code.”
Because Mueller’s indictment was apparently sloppy (or intentionally vague) in this regard, Concord Management is asking the court to inspect the language of the grand jury instructions–with the hope that the court agrees the indictment actually failed to include all of the elements of the crime charged. As the motion notes, under U.S. law, indictments must contain all such elements.
The motion also takes some rhetorical license to savage Mueller’s mandate and his apparent focus on private Russian businesses. A representative section reads, in relevant part:
[T]he Deputy Attorney General acting for the recused Attorney General has rejected the history and integrity of the DOJ, and instead licensed a Special Counsel who for all practical political purposes cannot be fired, to indict a case that has absolutely nothing to do with any links or coordination between any candidate and the Russian Government. The reason is obvious, and is political: to justify his own existence the Special Counsel has to indict a Russian – any Russian.
The footnotes also contain a sarcastic reference to “Casablanca” and increase the rhetorical reach of Concord’s potshots at Mueller’s initial indictment.
One such footnote alleges, “Count One of the Indictment is devoid of any specificity about what any officer or employee of Concord actually did other than to generally allege that Concord funded an ‘Organization’ that the Special Counsel imagined and created.” Ouch.
If this is true, and from what we’ve seen of this particular case the odds are that it is true, then Jeff Sessions should step in and fire the entire team that managed this indictment for blinding incompetence. Mueller needs to be called on the carpet by someone with balls, and that would not be Rosenstein, and read the Riot Act over the disgraceful legal chopshop that he’s running.