These columns have many times observed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s failure to set limits on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. To trigger the appointment of a special counsel, federal regulations require the Justice Department to identify the crimes that warrant investigation and prosecution — crimes that the Justice Department is too conflicted to investigate in the normal course; crimes that become the parameters of the special counsel’s jurisdiction.
Rosenstein, instead, put the cart before the horse: Mueller was invited to conduct a fishing expedition, a boundless quest to hunt for undiscovered crimes, rather than an investigation and prosecution of known crimes.
That deviation, it turns out, is not the half of it. With Rosenstein’s passive approval, Mueller is shredding Justice Department charging policy by alleging earth-shattering crimes, then cutting a sweetheart deal that shields the defendant from liability for those crimes and from the penalties prescribed by Congress. The special counsel, moreover, has become a legislature unto himself, promulgating the new, grandiose crime of “conspiracy against the United States” by distorting the concept of “fraud.”
Why does the special counsel need to invent an offense to get a guilty plea? Why doesn’t he demand a plea to one of the several truly egregious statutory crimes he claims have been committed?
The Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud Indictments . . . and Penny-Ante Plea
On Thursday, February 22, with now-familiar fanfare, Mueller filed an indictment against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, alleging extremely serious crimes. Let’s put aside for now that the charges have absolutely nothing to do with the stated rationale for Mueller’s appointment, namely, Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Trump-campaign collusion therein.
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