The recent developments in the so-called Russian hacking case have proven that it was never about Russia. It was about “other stuff.” This seemed obvious for a while, but now we know for sure. The two main figures singled out as part of some conspiracy to do something with the Russians, were found to have done nothing with the Russians. They have been charged with unrelated crimes. The public statements of Robert Mueller make clear that he is not investigating Russian involvement in the election.
This was not hard to figure out. I posted about this here and here. The chants of “Russian hacking” from the Clinton camp were always ridiculous. Lots of foreign governments meddle in our elections. That is not new. What they are not doing, because it cannot be done, is “hacking” the election. Instead, the public information has always supported the idea that the people involved in this probe were trying to hide something. The question is what are they trying to hide and why would they go to these lengths?
So, what is going on?
The first thing to note is that all of the recent scandals seem to include one of the people now involved in the probe into the mythical Russian hacking stuff. Robert Mueller was the delivery boy in the Uranium One deal. He delivered a uranium sample to the Russians on behalf of the United States government. He then handled the investigation of the shenanigans around the Clinton Foundation and the money that came in from Russian sources, just around the time when Hillary was pushing the Uranium One deal.
Of course, Mueller was the mentor of James Comey, who took over for Mueller as head of the FBI. Comey is one of those guys you see in Washington, who is a lot like the career assistant coach that finally gets to be head coach. Everyone loved him as the second banana and assumed he would be a great top banana. He gets the top job and suddenly, everyone realizes why he was a career assistant. Comey’s main role was in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, which he managed to botch in ways no one imagined.
Comey’s blundering is reminiscent of Janet Reno. The Clintons picked her to run Justice because she was stupid, incurious and easily controlled by assistants. Reno was never bright enough to realize that her assistants were making sure she never asked the wrong questions or looked in the wrong places. That seems to be the role Comey played in the last years of the Obama administration. He staggered around thinking he was being the good citizen, when in reality he was being controlled by political operatives in the FBI.
Then there is the infamous “dodgy dossier” that was cooked up by a firm called Fusion GPS. This firm is run by former Wall Street Journal reporters. They exist to do opposition research for the political class. What we know is the Clinton campaign paid them for something. The NeverTrump loons paid them for something. The FBI relied on them to justify their Russia probes. We also know they are fighting Congress tooth and nail to prevent any of this being exposed to sunlight. So is the DOJ for some reason.
Then there is the fact that the FBI was bugging Trump Tower. Their justification was, wait for it, Russian gamblers. It is surely a coincidence and there is no reason to think they were listening to Trump. The fact that the DOJ was routinely unmasking Trump people, so they could listen in on their communications, was probably no big deal. Well, it was important to General Flynn. The FBI charged him with lying to them, because they had the electronic records contradicting his statement about his dealings with foreigners.
Then we have Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein, who seems to be in the middle of just about everything. There is a John Dean vibe to this guy. He was the one who wrote the long memo to Trump, recommending that Comey be fired. Then, coincidentally, he was the guy who recommended the appointment of the special prosecutor. Even crazier, he is the guy who picked Bob Mueller’s name out of nowhere to be on the list of options for President Trump. He just happens to be an old friend of Bob Mueller. What a coincidence!
Finally, the last member of the dramatis personae is Andrew McCabe, the second in command at the FBI. He came to fame when it was revealed that while he was leading the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans, his old lady was taking fifty grand from Clinton bagman Terry McAuliffe. Mrs. McCabe was running for local office in Virginia and the governor, out of the blue, suddenly took an interest in her political career. He raised a bunch of money for her, just because he is that sort of guy.
Theories of the crime?
The first thing that is obvious is that the same cast of characters keep turning up in these different scandals. Rod Rosenstein, Bob Mueller, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, these names keep popping up in all of the not obviously related matters. Maybe it is a coincidence, but there is a Tammany Hall feel to it. No one guy is obviously guilty of anything, but criminality seems to hang over them like a bad odor. It is possible that the FBI has become a rotten precinct and infected some in the Department of Justice.
Another possibility is that these guys were turned by the Clinton machine and they got sloppy in the year prior to the election. They assumed Clinton was going to win, so they wanted to show their enthusiasm and loyalty by going the extra mile during the general election. After all, everyone in official Washington was sure Clinton was going to win for at least six months prior to the election. John Dean went to great lengths to conceal his own perfidy during the Watergate years. We have a gaggle of John Deans here.
Of course, there is the Trump factor. Maybe these guys figured they could clever their way out some embarrassment by maneuvering Trump into appointing a special prosecutor. Then he and his people would not get too curious about this stuff as no one dares take on a special prosecutor. They just assumed Trump would be like a normal politician and roll over for them. Instead, Trump is banging away at them. Suddenly we have serious people saying Trump should fire Mueller and bring in someone fresh.
Back when Trump started running in the primary, I started calling him The Mule, after the character in the Asimov novel. For two years now, everyone who has dared to take on Trump has been blown to bits, usually by their own hand. It is quite remarkable. The arc of the Trump political career is littered with the obituaries of people who foolishly challenged him. The fact that Trump has maneuvered all of the main actors into the same box now, suggests he may have been ahead of these guys all along.