Monday, April 22, 2019

Deconstruct The Mueller FBI

Regular readers will be familiar with my explanation of how the FBI got to be the way it manifestly has become. Of course there are larger social dynamics at work in what took place, but I have always focused on the more visible mechanisms by which the transformation was effected. The mechanism I have identified, and regularly pointed to, was the the rotation of DoJ lawyers through top positions in the FBI, a process which subordinated the FBI's investigative function to the often politicized agenda of DoJ's prosecutive role. That agenda, of course, was normally far more liberal than the traditional approach of the FBI, and during the Obama administration became overtly leftist, with a goal of implementing through lawfare Obama's stated goal of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

This process by which the FBI was brought under the thumb of DoJ's political agenda was greatly advanced by Robert Mueller, and was continued by his protege James Comey, during their years at the head of the FBI. No better example can be given than the career of another Mueller protege, Andrew Weissmann, who moved back and forth between DoJ, the FBI, and private practice--serving for years as the top lawyer in the Mueller/Comey FBI. This is utterly antithetical to the traditional career ethos and organizational loyalty that prevailed at the FBI pre-Mueller. As I wrote in Why Andrew Weissmann:


What Weissmann's contribution to the Russia hoax might have been is suggested by his previous career.

Weissmann is best known as a hard charging prosecutor, but one with a reputation for being willing to take ethical shortcuts to make the big case. This led, in 2005, to the US Supreme Court unanimously overturning the conviction in his biggest case: the Enron Case. The criticism of Weissmann's "intimidating" "scorched earth" tactics that arose from the Enron Case made Weissmann a hot potato in the legal world, but fortunately for him he landed on his feet--as Special Counsel to a friend and former colleague, FBI Director Robert Mueller.
This was Weissmann's first gig at the FBI, and lasted probably less than a full year while he looked for a more lucrative position--by the end of 2005 Weissmann went into private practice at Jenner and Block in New York. But in 2011 Weissmann returned to the FBI and his mentor Mueller, serving as General Counsel under Mueller until the end of Mueller's term in September, 2013. He continued at the FBI under James Comey until January, 2015, when he returned to DoJ as head of the Criminal Fraud Section. His final career move, to date, was his reunion with Mueller, joining Mueller's Special Counsel team in June, 2017.

What was Weissmann doing as General Counsel at the FBI? According to DoJ,

"The General Counsel of the FBI is ultimately responsible for all of the legal affairs of the FBI. ... The General Counsel interacts regularly with all of the elements of the FBI, the Justice Department, the U.S. Intelligence Community, a range of other government agencies, foreign partners, ..."

You get the drift. During his four years as General Counsel at the FBI Weissmann would have been interacting on a daily basis with FBI management at the very highest levels, certainly including the Director (Mueller, then Comey) and Deputy Director--with additional contact with the highest levels in all important Divisions. Beyond that, however, he would have been developing contacts throughout the Intelligence Community and with "foreign partners"--prominently including the British intelligence agencies. The appeal of having Weissmann "in the loop" of the Russia hoax is obvious--he would be a trusted contact with the top levels of the FBI and would have a wide range of other useful contacts.


With that in mind, I addressed the whole issue again the other day when I wrote:


Devin Nunes has stated that Mueller--and, by the same token, Rosenstein and the FBI leadership--knew there was no factual predication from the very inception of the Special Counsel inquisition. McCarthy initially favored a cutoff date that focused on Mueller's failure to seek renewal of the FISA. While there is good reason for that view, he now favors the view of John Dowd--at the latest, Mueller knew there was no factual predication for the investigation by late 2017. And yet it continued for over a year past that point. For virtually the entire period, Christopher Wray was Director of the FBI. He had a duty to raise an alarm regarding the lack of factual predication, given that he was deeply involved in stonewalling Congressional oversight. He needs to answer for his actions and inactions. As also his top lawyer Dana Boente--who approved a renewal of the Carter Page FISA.

All of these people need to testify before a Grand Jury. Barr cannot allow the fact that his wife and Mueller's wife attend the same Bible Study group, or that they attended the weddings of each other's offspring, interfere with this necessary step. I don't see any other way. It must happen. That is the lowest bar by which to measure Barr's success in addressing this gravest of crises for our country.

The other day I mentioned the inherently corrupting practice of DoJ lawyers rotating between DoJ and the FBI leadership levels and back again. I believe that this practice, which became standard under Mueller's directorship, is extraordinarily dangerous to the rule of law in our criminal justice system. It joins the investigative function and the prosecutive function--in practice, disallowing the necessary separation. Thus, I wrote:

I believe Mueller's basic loyalty is not to the FBI per se, which he ran for so many years, but rather to the Deep State, i.e., the Legal/Intel Establishment. The FBI, after all, has always been under DoJ, and in the last two or three decades the FBI has become joined at the hip with DoJ through a revolving door of lawyers transferring between Main Justice and the FBI top management. Think: Mueller himself, James Comey, James Baker, Andrew Weissmann, Lisa Page, Trisha Anderson, and many more.

All those mentioned--and there are many more--have gone through that revolving door and all played prominent roles in the Russia Hoax that has so poisoned our public life and endangered our constitutional order. To those names I add: Christopher Wray and Dana Boente.


This is why I have stated that Barr's job cannot stop with the pre-Team Mueller abuses--he must also investigate the entire inquisition:

Mueller and Rosenstein must be made to answer for their criminal abuse of office. This is no time to play patty cake. There is a paper trail for all of this. It's time for it all to be made public: FBI investigative and informant files, DoJ authorizations--all of it. And the same applies to the CIA and all other complicit federal agencies.

As it happens, Tom Lifson has an excellent article at American Thinker today in which he makes many similar points: Robert Mueller, the consummate DC schemer. Lifson's conclusion--actually his beginning--matches mine:

It's time for a reckoning for Robert Mueller.

Lifson, a sociologist, recognizes the importance of organizational dynamics within bureaucracies:

Louis Gohmert, one of my favorite people in Congress, has been watching Mueller for a long time and is immune to the seductions of the Beltway consensus.  Speaking with Breitbart a few days ago, he laid out the answer to a question that has been puzzling me for a long time: when and where was the FBI politicized?  Gohmert fingers Mueller as the point man:
     "I gave him a pass the very first time I questioned him years ago, when he was FBI director," recalled Gohmert.  "But then after that, I found out how much damage he was doing to the FBI, more than anybody, including Hoover in his worst days.  It was astounding.  He ran off thousands and thousands of years of experienced special agents in charge of offices, often went from having 25 years experience to five or six years experience.  He did not want anything but yes-men.  He didn't want people with experience.  He didn't want law enforcement agents with experience."
Purging the leadership of the offices of the FBI across the country and installing your own yes-men (and women) is an excellent way of seizing control of an organization and redirecting it.

Lifson goes on to quote Gohmert at length regarding the use and abuse Mueller made of his iron grip over the FBI and its management. Gohment, who forthrightly states that Mueller "is not a good guy," focuses on the notorious Hatfill case, which should have ended Mueller's career:

“Both [Robert Mueller] and his joined-at-the-hip buddy Comey … they both have a history of leaking when they want to hurt somebody that they don’t have evidence to prosecute. They’ve done that. In fact, if you go back to James Hatfill, who Mueller accused of being behind the anthrax killings after 9/11, and at one point it was so bad that President Bush called him in and said, ‘There doesn’t appear to be any evidence against this guy. You sure it’s the right guy?’ He said, ‘100 percent.’ Well, there was no evidence.”
Gohmert continued, “[James Comey and Robert Mueller] went after [James Hatfill] like they went after Ted Stevens when the FBI totally manufactured a case under Mueller’s watch, and in that case, they prosecuted an innocent man — not just maybe not guilty but totally innocent — and got him convicted because they had gotten warrants, grabbed all the evidence Ted Stevens needed to prove his innocence, and didn’t give him that. They created [and] manufactured evidence, and they were able to convict a guy just days before the election which he lost by maybe a couple of thousand votes.”
Gohmert concluded, “This is not a good man. He should not have been allowed to get anywhere near a special counsel job, and I don’t care what Lindsey Graham says, he just doesn’t know the man like I do.”

Not at all coincidentally the same cast of characters--Comey and Mueller--were instrumental in the framing of Lewis Libby, who was later--in effect--exonerated by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and eventually pardoned by President Trump.

These are all reasons why AG Barr cannot stop at investigating "abuses" or even crimes in the FISA process. There is a culture of corruption that has been fostered for nearly two decades at the FBI and at DoJ as well. This is The Swamp that Barr must drain for the good of the country. Mueller is at the heart of it. He must be held to account and institutional reforms must be put in place to prevent this subversion of constitutional government by the Deep State cannot happen again.

ADDENDUM: While I try to maintain a fairly specific focus in these blog posts, it should be clear that the FBI/DoJ Russian Hoax scandal is part of what is certainly a far large scheme of corruption--corruption of our political life, of our constitutional order, of our legal and criminal justice systems. It's on a scale that's well nigh incomprehensible. A glimpse of this can be seen in Wayne Allen Root's article: What Did Obama Know and When Did He Know It?


  1. Comey has publicly admitted leaking classified memos to the press, and believes it was justified based upon his animus toward Trump. That is a Class I felony and the FBI is derelict for not arresting him for this crime. This makes the FBI itself complicit in criminal activity by virtue of it's failure to perform it's sworn duty to uphold the law. As such, the problem is much worse than just the corruption of a few bad apples using the FBI as a political weapon. It reveals a systemic rot running through the entire organization. There are undoubtedly hundreds of agents who witnessed firsthand the criminality of their superiors and yet damn few became whistleblowers. Loss of faith in the FBI by a nation's citizenry is no trivial matter, and Barr will need to clean house if he intends to restore that trust.

    1. "the FBI is derelict for not arresting him for this crime."

      Even if they wanted to, which I doubt, Mueller and Rosenstein would have blocked such an arrest on the grounds that Comey was a "witness" for Team Mueller.

      In the big scheme of our corrupted public order I suppose this is pretty small but, as you say, its symbolic significance for the very legitimacy of our institutions dwarfs the legal issues.

  2. Unfortunately this is the state of the national gov't, remember all of revolving doors Lois Lerner had been through before "retiring" from the IRS. This is what comes of a gov't that is so bloated that there isn't even a comprehensive list of bureau's, agencies, commissions, etc. that make it up and only a vague guess of how many hive workers.

    This was what Trump was sent to battle, unfortunately he apparently thought, like Mr. Smith, the election was the dangerous act of the drama. Beowulf understood what it meant to battle the worm in its lair and chose his companion and arms accordingly. Trump was naïve to say the least.

    1. I seem to have seen somewhere remarks attributed to Trump that indicate that, while he thought it was bad, he hadn't thought it was quite as bad as it really is.

  3. A large part of the problem, it seems to me, is that we have too many laws. We also have rogue prosecutors and we have lost our way in terms of constraining the government. It is now the individual man’s burden to prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. When prosecutors abuse their power, they should be prosecuted.

    FBI interviews should be recorded. Entrapment should be strictly forbidden. A lesson for me is that I will never talk to law enforcement, should I ever be approached.

    Congress needs to rein in the administrative state. The Constitution mentions three coequal branches of government, not an unelected administrative branch that promulgates, enforces and adjudicates laws. No more Chevron deference.

    Did you happen to catch the Papa D interview with Byron York? George was not read his Miranda rights, had no attorney present and was questioned for 20 straight hours. He was threatened with FARA violations all for actions where he was approached by Mifsud, Halper, Downer and a couple of other players.

  4. Even though the Papa-d case is closed--guilty plea, sentence served--I really hope Barr's DoJ does a deep dive on it. To me it's clear he was framed.