Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought forth indictments in the Russian Collusion case, naming former Donald Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and his longtime business associate Rick Gates in a series of tax evasion and lobbying regulation charges. The charges appear to stem from activities taking place between 2008 and 2015, well before Manafort’s association with the Trump Campaign, and none of them related to the Special Counsel’s primary mandate investigating possible criminal activities between the Trump Campaign and Russia to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election.
Although the Special Counsel is allowed by the language of the mandate to investigate “any criminal activities that may be discovered arising from the investigation,” the allegations put forth against Manafort and Gates are far removed from the concept of colluding with Russia. In fact, these charges apparently have more to do with Manafort’s and the Democrat party’s collusion with Ukraine. While there are some tangential relationships between Ukrainian interests and Russia, none of the alleged activities or crimes are in any way related to whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to manipulate the election and would seem to go beyond even Mueller’s broad mandate.
Justice may be blind, but the process of justice must be transparent and fair and this process as currently operating sets up a perception of the President as guilty of treason because his onetime associate might be guilty of tax evasion.
While we cannot know at this point whether Manafort and Gates are guilty of the allegations made against them, the case should be handed over to the Justice Department to continue prosecution through the normal processes of justice rather than through auspices of the Special Counsel. The problem created by the Special Counsel’s retaining the case is that the Trump Campaign and perhaps Donald Trump himself are tainted by the alleged crimes of other people that predates their association with Trump and the campaign. This is classic guilt by association and links the concept of collusion with Russia to any and all crimes of any and all Trump Campaign associates – no matter how tangential and distant – forever bonding the two different issues together. Justice may be blind, but the process of justice must be transparent and fair and this process as currently operating sets up a perception of the President as guilty of treason because his onetime associate might be guilty of tax evasion.
Recent discoveries surrounding the Uranium One scandal and the Trump Dossier (a major impetus of the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate Russia Collusion) have shown Robert Mueller (FBI director during the Uranium One period and longtime close associate of Jim Comey, who illegally leaked FBI notes that brought on the Russia Collusion investigation) is legally conflicted beyond the reasonable bounds of transparently fair justice.
The only fair process to achieve actual justice in this affair is for Mueller to hand the Manafort/Gates case over to the Justice Department for reassignment to lawyers in the regular judicial process, followed by the immediate resignations of Mueller and the bevy of expensive attorneys he hired. Once the Special Counsel is resigned a new Special Counsel can then be appointed to investigate the entirety of the Russian relationship with America’s political parties, to include any crimes that may have been committed during the Obama Administration’s Uranium One, Clinton Foundation pay-to-play, illegal unmasking and Trump Dossier scandals.
For some background information on this case follow this link.