Russia Probe

  • April 16, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Alan Neff

    *This piece was originally posted on Crooks & Liars.

    Michael Cohen is challenging the seizure of his files, computers, phones, and other materials by federal criminal investigators in Manhattan. Mr. Cohen is asserting his materials are protected from seizure and disclosure by attorney-client privilege and should be returned to him, unexamined by federal investigators or prosecutors.

  • April 6, 2018

    by Dan Froomkin

    A Washington Post story describing how special counsel Robert Mueller intends to release reports of his findings "to answer the public’s questions" confirms what some Justice Department veterans have long maintained: That criminal indictments are not Mueller's only goal -- or even his primary goal. What he's really after, these observers say, is the whole story. And then he intends to tell it.

    In a typical criminal investigation, prosecutors are limited to only disclosing investigative details directly relevant to prosecutable crimes. That's why special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald never disclosed the vast majority of the incriminating evidence he discovered about the leak of Valerie Plame's identity by the Bush/Cheney White House; the only case he felt he could make was against Cheney aide Scooter Libby, for obstruction.

  • February 28, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Daniel S. Goldman, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

    On February 16, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III unsealed a 37-page indictment charging 13 Russian nationals and three entities principally with conspiring against the United States to infiltrate the 2016 election through a sophisticated and complex scheme that included the use of stolen identities of American citizens to surreptitiously influence and infiltrate social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Although each United States intelligence agency has definitively stated, without equivocation, that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, those agencies were constrained to explain how Russia did so with any detail because of legal restrictions on classified material. Yet for the first, time, this indictment provides extensive detail about how one aspect of this Russian meddling in the 2016 election occurred.

  • February 28, 2018
    Guest Post

    by A.H. Neff

    *This piece was originally posted on Crooks and Liars.

    "There's no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn't matter who gets the credit."

    Versions of this team-first principle have been attributed to, among others, Benjamin Jowett, Father Strickland, William T. Arnold, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, Charles Edward Montague, and Edward Everett Hale. 

    It might not be possible to say conclusively who deserves credit for this insight - original-authorship credit, that is - but it is pertinent to Special Counsel Mueller's investigation, especially when his investigation focuses on Trump, his family, and their businesses.

  • February 9, 2018
    Guest Post

    by A.H. Neff

    *This piece was originally posted on Crooks and Liars.

    Last Friday, the Republican majority of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released “the Nunes Memo.” Weighing in at four pages, the Memo attacked the justification for a U.S. counter-intelligence investigation of Carter Page. It implied that the Trump-Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was purely political and legally groundless. Consequently, large swaths of the media, legal and political classes, and public are again focused on the fate of Mueller.

    There are comprehensive refutations of the memo’s attack, including this one. The best refutation comes from the Nunes memo itself, which says this in its last paragraph: “The Papadopoulos information [that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton] triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.”

    Nevertheless, Trump claims the Nunes Memo vindicates him. Urged on by his allies in Congress, on FOX News, and in other right-wing cheering sections, Trump apparently wants to use the memo to halt the investigation - a process that probably would begin with firing Rosenstein.