Recent developments and leaks coming out of Robert Mueller’s special investigation have once again confirmed that when it comes to the Clintons and their allies, the law simply doesn’t apply to them.
The Mueller team decided to indict former-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on, among other things, failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. Reports also indicate that the investigation has compiled enough evidence to do the same against Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, likely for him failing to properly disclose his work for Turkish interests. While none of these have anything to do with the 2016 election, they represent a troubling new set of standards being applied to Trump campaign aides.
Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, Americans who do work on behalf of a foreign government’s interests are required to register with the Justice. Since the 1960s, however, this law has only been enforced around half a dozen other times.
Mueller doesn’t seem to care about precedent, however. Officially, these indictments came as a result of the investigation and Mueller’s mandate to prosecute any crimes that are discovered in the course of his probe into Russian election meddling. Even though these charges have nothing to do with his actual mandate, he is technically within his scope to prosecute them. The problem, however, is that Manafort and Flynn were not the only 2016 election figures who broke this obscure and seldom enforced law.
In recent weeks, published reports indicate that Hillary Clinton’s own campaign chairman, John Podesta, has been implicated in the same crime Manafort allegedly committed.
According to the indictment, Paul Manafort’s firm hired two redacted companies to work on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine and the Ukrainian government’s interests. While the contractors remained nameless in the indictment, it has been widely reported and confirmed that one of those companies was the Podesta Group.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaign chairmen previously worked together as lobbyists on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Neither Manafort, nor Podesta’s firm, filed the proper paperwork with the Department of Justice to register as foreign lobbyists. In mid-2017, both of them retroactively filed these papers and apologized for the error.
During the course of the investigation Mueller discovered this evidence. He discovered evidence that both Clinton and Trump’s campaign chairmen illegally lobbied for a foreign power. Yet, only Trump’s chairman as been indicted.
It doesn’t stop there. New reports also indicate that the Podesta Group lobbied on behalf of the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy’s desire to finalize the Uranium One deal. For that work helping the Russians purchase 20% of the United States’ Uranium, the Podesta Group was paid $180,000. Once again, Podesta did not file the proper paperwork with the DOJ to register under FARA.
Obviously, the Uranium One story has many more components to it, with Bill Clinton receiving a $500,000 payment from a Russian bank with interests in the deal and the Clinton Foundation receiving $145 million from individuals who financially benefitted from the Uranium One sale.
Democrats cheered the Mueller indictments against Paul Manafort, even though they had nothing to do with Trump or the Russians influencing American politics. Yet in the next breath, theses same people say that a Special Counsel is not needed to look into these Clinton criminal allegations.
Unfortunately Democrats can’t have it both ways. They can’t celebrate Manafort’s indictment for FARA violations while also saying there is no need to prosecute Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman for committing the very same crime. After tens of millions of dollars have been spent trying to find evidence that Trump campaign staffers illegally worked with Russia to influence American politics, to no avail, there is now evidence that Clinton’s own campaign chairman did just that. His law firm illegally colluded with the Russian government help them acquire the rights to American Uranium.
Many in the media are claiming that there is a new smoking gun because Carter Paige, a nobody in the Trump campaign, admitted he suggested that Trump make a foreign campaign trip to deliver a speech in Russia. What is interesting is that when Trump took a campaign trip to Mexico, McCain took a campaign trip to Israel, Obama took a campaign trip to Germany, and Romney took a campaign trip to England, no one ever accuse their staffers of colluding with Mexico/Israel/Germany/England. That is because this is simply what campaigns do. They brainstorm ways to make their candidate look powerful and respected on the international stage. That is not collusion.
But the Podesta Group being paid to illegally lobby on behalf of Russia’s nuclear interests certainly seems to be collusion.
If Mueller is truly going to prosecute any crime he discovers, then he must indict the Podesta brothers for committing the same crime as Paul Manafort. However, this investigation doesn’t appear to be aimed at reaching the truth. It appears aimed at going after the President no matter what.
In the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin had a saying: “You show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” Even if a political adversary hadn’t committed an obvious crime, Stalin would either make one up or just investigate until he found a criminal act. Mueller appears to have adopted the same mantra. If he won’t prosecute crimes committed by other campaigns’ staffers that he discovers during the course of his investigation, then he must resign or be removed and replaced by a Special Counsel that is truly independent.
Otherwise, this is nothing but a Soviet-style witch hunt.