The prevailing assumption regarding the Russian investigation is that it is a big nothing cooked up by bitter Democrats and promoted by the media to avoid facing up to the reality of the 2016 election. Once it became clear that the Podesta e-mails were causing trouble for Clinton, her people started chanting “Russian hacking” at every press conference, as if they had an exotic form of Tourette’s syndrome. It has all the hallmarks of a Clinton media scam. They repeat something over and over, knowing the press will echo it.
The appointment of a special prosecutor has been viewed as an effort by the Trump administration to put the issue to bed. The press was never going to stop talking about and the Democrats were going to keep screaming about it. Name a special prosecutor and everyone has shut up about it. Mueller will spend a year and millions of dollars to discover there is nothing to the claims. That’s the official version. What if it is something else entirely? What if the special prosecutor is just an excuse to handle some other matter?
The rule of thumb with political scandals is they fall into one of three buckets. There is the sex scandal, as with Bill Clinton. Then there are the money scandals, involving graft and public corruption. Hillary Clinton is the obvious example here. Then there is the personal scandal. This is the scandal where hurt feelings or a broken promise result in one member of the political class dishing dirt on another. Watergate was this type of scandal at its core. Mark Felt was angry at being passed over so he ratted out people to the press.
That is the odd thing about the Russia business. It has none of the markings of a political scandal. It works as a media event, as it ticks a lot of boxes for the press. They get to trade on salacious rumors for a while, without having to do any real reporting. Throw in some conspiracy theories and the Boris Badenov angle and it fills the news cycles for a few weeks. Otherwise, there is not enough to this Russian conspiracy to warrant a phone call from the FBI, much less a full blown investigation.
That’s what makes the appointment of a special prosecutor so strange. The guy who convinced Trump to fire the FBI Director was Rod Rosenstein. He’s pretty much a career Justice Department hand. Trump accepted his recommendation and fired Comey. Then Rosenstein ended up as the guy handling the phony Russia story after Sessions mysteriously recused himself. Trump then went on a rampage for a few weeks complaining about Sessions, even hinting that he may fire him over it.
Rosenstein then recommended a special prosecutor. The guy he recommended is a close friend of Comey and the former FBI Directory, Robert Mueller. In fact, Mueller preceded Comey in the job. Forgotten in all the excitement is the fact that Trump claimed the Obama people had bugged Trump Tower. The new was full of stories that the FBI may have got a former Trump adviser on a wire. Of course, we now know that the Obama Administration was running a widespread domestic surveillance operation.
Then there are things that seem unrelated, but maybe not. Comey personally handled the Clinton e-mail probe. He is either a world class bungler or he had a reason to bungle it. Either way, he bungled it. He also appears to have perjured himself in his Congressional testimony. In one case, he later amended his testimony when it became obvious he made false statements under oath. Maybe Comey was trying to hide something, but the more plausible answer is that he is just not very good at this sort of work.
Regardless, there should be a whole bunch of attention on the FBI right now. At the minimum, they have been outlandishly incompetent over the last half of the Obama Administration. That should warrant a house cleaning. Alternatively, they may have been corrupted by the Obama Administration. It’s clear that Samantha Power was abusing her authority with regards to domestic surveillance. It is not unreasonable to assume the FBI was compromised in some way during Comey’s tenure.
That may be what’s really going on with the special prosecutor. The phony Russia scandal provided an excuse to bring in a political pro like Mueller to clean up the mess left by Comey and the Obama Administration. The FBI is not supposed to be spying on Americans without a warrant and they are really not supposed to be listening in on politicians. Someone signed off on bugging Trump Tower, during and after the presidential election. Who knows what other shenanigans have been going on.
The most likely answer for why a special prosecutor was appointed is that it was an easy way to get the whole thing out of the White House. Since the story is bogus and Mueller surely knows it is bogus, it will be a nice patronage program for a year or two and then the whole thing goes away. The second most likely answer is that Mueller’s job is to clean up the mess left by Comey and protect the reputation of the FBI, maybe even some other intelligence agencies. That way, no one gets hurt the problems are quietly fixed.
What this is not. is an investigation about Russia meddling in the election.