Three Men at the Table: Trump, Putin, Mueller

By | July 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

At the meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in Helsinki, there were translators at the table, and possibly other assistants. But there was someone else at the table, whether the participants knew it or not. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was there, with all his baggage, and his ever-increasing entourage of biased investigators and attorneys.

Think about it. The so-called Russia collusion investigation has been going on for about one and one-half years. Up to now, the only indictments have been for business dealings before Trump even announced his candidacy. But special counsels are appointed to find something, so ‒ surprise! ‒ they invariably find something. Whether it has anything to do with the reason for their appointment is another matter entirely.

Just before the Helsinki summit meeting, Mueller announced the indictment of 12 alleged Russian intelligence agents for meddling in the 2016 election. Finally we have something related to the reason for Mueller’s appointment ‒ possible interference with our election. That is, just when Mueller’s investigation seemed to be petering out without discovering anything substantive, and just before a newsworthy international event, Mueller announced the indictment of 12 alleged Russian GRU agents ‒ who just happen to be in Russia.

And what, precisely, will result?

● First, and most important to Mueller, worldwide attention will be drawn to Mueller.

● Second, further suspicion will be thrown on Trump ‒ indirectly, of course. Mueller won’t come out and say that Trump is now meeting with the man who arranged the interference with our election, to Trump’s benefit. But the inference will be there for all Trump’s enemies to draw, and then to harp upon incessantly.

● Third, Trump’s hand will be weakened. If nothing significant results from the meeting, critics will say that Trump failed. But if an agreement is reached, critics will say, “You see? We told you so. Trump is in bed with Putin. Mueller was right all along. They are colluding.”

Does any sane person expect that Putin will extradite these 12 agents to the United States, where they will be subjected to the tender mercies of Mueller and his merry band? Of course not. Even if, for a moment, Putin considered extraditing the agents, he would change his mind when he recalled how Mueller’s men raided the home, hotel room, office, phones, computers, safe deposit box, and storage locker of one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

Putin will recall the no-knock raid in the early morning. He will recall how Mueller’s associates are deciding what is covered by attorney-client privilege, and what is not. And he will recall that even if documents are privileged, Mueller’s agents can read them, find “work-arounds,” and use the information anyhow. And finally, he will recall that Mueller’s agents can use this information to go after other people not named in any indictment, and not related to any alleged crime, but whose information may be found on the material Mueller seized from the lawyer.

That is, they can go after other clients of the attorneys. And if they can go after the President’s attorney, they surely can go after attorneys of alleged foreign agents. The constitutional guarantee of representation by counsel? Oh yes, it’s still there. But what does it really mean, when the attorney can be criminally charged, and have all his records seized and scrutinized by the prosecutor? Accounts, or even recordings, of conversations between attorney and client? Privileged? Only in theory.

After considering how much the American legal system has come to resemble the Russian legal system, in which the state prosecutor holds all the cards, Putin may injure himself falling off his chair laughing if he is asked to approve the extradition of the 12 alleged agents.

The indictment of the 12 agents just before the Helsinki summit was a publicity stunt by Mueller. But it was worse than that.

Mueller has been running around unchecked in this country. Now he is reaching across the ocean and interfering with foreign nations. I would bet serious money that Mueller did not obtain the permission of Secretary of State Pompeo or of National Security Advisor Bolton before dipping his spoon into the foreign relations stewpot. I would bet that he never even showed these men the courtesy of notifying them that he would be encroaching into their areas of responsibility.

Yes, there were three men at the conference table. This fact is demonstrated by Putin’s semi-serious invitation to Mueller to come to Russia with his investigators. Why do I say semi-serious instead of facetious? Because Mueller injected himself into the complex, risky field of international relations. Now he ‒ and all the rest of us ‒ must deal with the fallout.

But suppose Mueller accepted Putin’s invitation. I wonder how secure Mueller would feel, and how efficiently he could work, if he feared that all his conversations, records, computers, and phones could be scrutinized by the state prosecutors and the FSB. That thought is the only bright spot in this whole mess. You could file it under K for karma.

Interfering with President Trump’s ability to govern domestically is bad enough. Weakening the President in his dealings with foreign nations is even worse, and even more dangerous. To me it is inexcusable. That many Democrats excuse it, and even applaud it, is even more inexcusable.

Did the Russians hack the Democratic National Committee to help Trump, or to help socialist Bernie Sanders? In fact, did the Russians hack the DNC at all, or did John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman, simply fall for an obvious phishing ploy? In fact, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, insists that the “hacker” was not Russia or any other state actor. In fact, the DNC servers were never examined by the FBI, but only by a private security firm hired by the DNC. In fact, for 100 years, it has been the Left, not the Right, who were in bed with Russia. This 180-degree reversal strains credulity.

The Constitution does not vest the power to conduct foreign policy in the special counsel, or the fired FBI director, or the retired CIA director, or any of the other never-Trumpers. The Constitution vests the power to conduct foreign policy in the President. The Russian military is weaker than it was under the Soviet Union. But Russia is still a nuclear power, and Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is not a nice guy. If you doubt this, just ask Alexander Litvinenko.

Those who seek to undo the 2016 election by poisoning relations with Russia are playing with fire. And if things go downhill, we will all get burned. Before this happens, we must tell the never-Trumpers to moderate their hate-filled rhetoric.

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