When reviewing new information against the backdrop of existing information it is important not to get so caught up in the weeds that you miss the obvious. This is the important aspect to a new information release from Robert Mueller.
Overnight last night Special Counsel Robert Mueller released an attachment as part of a responsive court pleading. The attachment was a previously unknown letter from Asst. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller outlining the specific authority of his investigative appointment. The letter from Rosenstein to Mueller is dated August 2nd, 2017.
There are several elements to break down, and one of the best ways to review the information is to first ask “why”?
- Question #1) Why did Asst. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein deliver a non-public outline of investigative authority to Mueller on August 2nd, 2017?
- Question #2) Why would Robert Mueller be seeking a signed more specific outline of his investigative authority on August 2nd, 2017; a full three months after he was assigned the role of Special Counsel?
- Question #3) Why would Robert Mueller need to redact the content of an official outline of his investigative instructions from the Asst. Attorney General?
First, it is important to put the Rod Rosenstein releases into context.
On Wednesday May 17th, 2017 Rosenstein announced the following:
Notice no-where in this public announcement does AAG Rosenstein mention President Donald Trump.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein today announced the appointment of former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as Special Counsel to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.
The “previously-confirmed FBI investigation … efforts” is apparently code-speak for the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign confirmed by FBI Director James Comey on March 20th, 2017 to congress.
The simultaneous release of investigative intent then includes a more specific and formal outline, which does include Donald Trump:
So there we have the three areas of direct authority: ¹Links or coordination between the Russian Government and the campaign of Donald Trump. ²Matters that may arise from the investigation of the Russian government and the campaign of Donald Trump. And ³other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a). [<- ie. ‘Jurisdiction‘]
So there’s the instructions to Robert Mueller and his team on May 17th, 2017.
Now, as we previously discussed: “Robert Mueller didn’t necessarily appoint or select a team of lawyers and investigators…. the previously assembled team of lawyers and investigators selected him.” The key player in that assembly was FBI Chief-Legal-Counsel and personal confidant to Robert Mueller, James Baker. (pictured right)
Remember, the “small group”, career officials inside the DOJ and FBI needed to continue their group effort after the election. Therefore they needed to stay assembled as a group; they needed to stay on task, to facilitate the original intent of their association. The Special Counsel was merely a way, an approach, a tool for this specific team to continue their efforts after the 2016 presidential election, nothing more – nothing less.
The team already existed. The objectives already existed. The only thing they needed was a willfully-blind leader and an excuse to continue their ideological efforts. Robert Mueller became their selected willfully-blind leader because the small group already knew him and they knew they could manipulate/use him.
Their ideological association is why the same people behind Phase 1 (Clinton Exoneration ’15, ’16), and Phase 2 (opposition research, counterintelligence and surveillance against Trump ’15, ’16, ’17), became the same people in Phase 3, the post-election vast Russian-Trump Collusion Conspiracy; also known as “The Insurance Policy”. In many ways Phase 3 was/is more of a continued opposition research endeavor, part of the “resistance” per se, with a good dose of self-preservation binding them all together.
Robert Mueller could technically shut down the official Special Counsel tomorrow and for the ‘small group’ nothing would change much. The ‘group’ shifts back out of government work and reconnects with Fusion GPS (or similar). They inform their media allies to change the official name of their tasks from ‘investigation’ back to ‘opposition research’. Sans Mueller all group tasks remain consistent, and three days from now it’s just another Friday.
If it is a paradigm shift to understand that Mueller didn’t select his team, but rather the team selected him…. then a similar paradigm shift will be found in the following motive behind Robert Mueller requesting Rosenstein to outline his investigation on August 2nd, 2017:
Mueller wasn’t asking Rosenstein to expand the focus of the endeavor; team Mueller was asking Rosenstein to NARROW the focus of their investigation.
Why would Team Mueller be asked to narrow the focus?
Because Inspector General Michael Horowitz just informed him/them of his discovery of the conspiracy behind the DOJ and FBI plan against Donald Trump.
On July 20th, 2017 IG Horowitz gets the Page/Strzok text messages. Horowitz informs Mueller there is evidence of a conspiracy evident within his team. That had to be an ‘oh, shit’ moment for the “small group”; and for Robert Mueller.
The investigation was going on for more than two months and the team was already moving on Paul Manafort. Quickly, the investigative team needs Rosenstein to narrow the investigation. The last thing the Special Counsel team needed, was an open door to investigate corrupt officials within their own ideological ranks. Lord knows where that would end-up.
On August 2nd, 2017, Rosenstein does exactly that.
Now, before getting to #3 (why the redacted memo from Mueller last night), and retaining the bigger picture, take a look at a few aspects that need to fall into place within this timeline.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was was interviewed about his media leaks in May 2017. He denied. Notice what comes next… “a couple of months later” he was interviewed by IG Horowitz. And he again denied. Now think! That conversation would be around July of 2017. What happened right after/amid this period? Answer: Horowitz gained the Peter Strzok and Lisa Page text messages.
- •May 2017 McCabe denies leaking for WSJ story (to FBI).
- •July 2017 McCabe denies again (to IG Horowitz).
- •July 20th, 2017 Horowitz gets Strzok/Page text messages. Proving McCabe constructed the WSJ story and lied to FBI investigators and Inspector General.
- •August 2017: After Horowitz gets the proof McCabe was lying – McCabe follows up on the two denials saying “he may have allowed FBI officials to speak with the newspaper”.
- •August 2017: FBI re-interviews McCabe based on new admissions.
- •November 29th 2017: One day before SC Mueller indicts Michael Flynn, IG Horowitz interviews McCabe again. Apparently this time McCabe admitted to constructing the leak.
Apply Occam’s razor.
Lisa Page is likely also questioned about the Wall Street Journal article and she told the truth. However, now her story conflicts with Andrew McCabe. So to prove her side of the story, Lisa Page provides the text messages July 20th, 2017 to investigators. That’s where the “Page was already disenfranchised with the SC Mueller assignment” and the “removed earlier” aspect comes from.
Andrew McCabe lied in May and July 2017. Lisa Page likely gave a statement that conflicted with McCabe and used the text messages to back up her side. That’s how IG Horowitz gained the original access to the Page/Strzok messages. The rest is history.
The ‘good guys’ inside the investigative FBI unit have a motive to be angry.
♦Think about it…. McCabe admits to lying to the FBI on November 29th, 2017. On November 30th, Michael Flynn is forced to sign a sketchy guilty plea for *presumably* lying to the FBI. On December 1st the media pushes the Flynn lying guilty plea. On December 2nd *some entity* within the process hits back against the corrupt insiders (around McCabe) and begins blasting out information about Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and Nellie Ohr… That’s where most people began to take notice.
Additionally, think about the time-frame knowing IG Horowitz informed SC Mueller about Strzok and Page and the potential criminal conduct outlined within their text messages.
In between the time McCabe lied to the FBI (May ’17), and then lied to Horowitz (July ’17), and then attempted to clean up his lie (Aug ’17), and then McCabe’s November 29th re-interview with Horowitz…. Prosecutor John Huber was brought on board.
There’s obviously a history of White Hats and Black Hats inside the DOJ and FBI while the entire operation against Trump was taking place. There’s White Hats -vs- Black Hats playing out inside the intelligence apparatus (Rogers -vs- Clapper/Brennan). In 2017 there’s White Hats and Black Hats inside dueling investigative units (Horowitz -vs- Mueller). And with Huber added there’s now White Hats -vs- Black Hats as prosecutors.
So lets look at a few interpersonal and organizational dynamics for examples. [Forgive my plain-speak]. Taking some cues from inside the text messages already reviewed:
♦DOJ Attorney assigned to the FBI effort, Lisa Page, was willing to go along with the plans in 2015/2016 because she’s ideologically aligned with the political objectives to aid Hillary Clinton. However, after the election she ain’t stupid. By late spring she can see the writing on the wall… the intended outcome ain’t working. Nervous already, with McCabe lying about the media leaks in July, she’s had enough… she shoots down “Andy’s” lies and exits.
♦FBI Asst. Director in charge of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, was already likely not comfy with the entire scheme, and his #2 Deputy FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok was too far out-of-bounds. Priestap likely never agreed to ‘Phase-3’. He’s also rich with a well-off spouse and too much to lose.
♦FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker did his earnest best to support the operation through Phase #1, Phase #2 and helped set up Phase #3… but after he found out congress was going to subpoena him, the next day something happened and FBI Director Christopher Wray removed him. The ‘something’ was likely Baker realizing Phase-3 wasn’t working, and began working toward self preservation.
♦FBI Agent Peter Strzok is just all around FUBAR. He’s busted all over the place… ‘where do I sign’? Halp.
♦Comey’s former Chief-of-Staff James Rybicki knew his goose was cooked as soon as he saw the Page/Strzok text messages surfacing in December 2017. But his loyalty to his former boss, and the actual physical risk to life and limb precluded his ability to help. He quit.
FBI Communications Director Michael Kortan was caught within the media leaks and also inside the spin machine from the Clinton investigation the ‘small group’ intentionally sunk and he sold as valid. Kortan decides to give the team the last help he can and releases an unauthorized FBI media statement in January, slamming the Nunes memo and undermining the official FBI position. It was his parting shot to attempt cover for the remaining crew. A few days later he was resigned by Director Wray.
On the Main Justice side:
♦DOJ-NSD Deputy Bruce Ohr was in too deep. Demoted twice in between a series of twelve, yes twelve, FBI investigative interviews… Obviously Bruce knew too much, and the collaboration/connection with his wife Nellie and Fusion GPS just put a massive target on his back. Bruce Ohr and Nellie Ohr connect the activity from the DOJ (national security division) and FBI (counterintelligence division) together with Fusion GPS (Nellie’s 2016 employer, Glenn Simpson) and Christopher Steele (the recipient of the unwashed intelligence product).
Nellie and Bruce didn’t exactly have an option… no doubt that’s why all the FBI investigative interviews from Horowitz and Huber. Tick.Tock on the IG report.
♦DOJ-NSD Deputy AAG David Laufman sat in on the Clinton investigations and was part of the collaborative effort to construct the fraudulent FISA application. In his former position, Laufman would have been involved and hold knowledge of the FISA “Title-1” surveillance program initiated on target Carter Page and the “incidental” Trump campaign officials. Laufman would also have close contact with former Asst. Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr; husband of Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr. Laufman quit in February, 2018.
♦DOJ-NSD Asst. Attorney General John P. Carlin quit in October 2016 immediately after notifying the FISA court of the misuse of FISA(702)(16)(17) database search queries by contractors within the FBI and DOJ-NSD apparatus. Carlin admitted misrepresentations to the FISA court and then immediate resigned.
♦DOJ-NSD Principle Deputy Asst. Attorney General Mary McCord replaced John Carlin in October 2016 and assisted Sally Yates in Phase-3 along with the Flynn scheme. Mary McCord accompanied Yates to the White House. Three things happened right before McCord resigned at the DOJ-NSD in April 2017. First, Sally Yates was fired. Second, the #2 re-authorization of the Page surveillance warrant occurred; and Third, IG Michael Horowitz gained oversight over the DOJ-NSD.
Sally Yates had blocked OIG oversight over the DOJ-NSD for the previous years. In 2015 the OIG requested oversight and it was Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the NSD. In April 2017 all of that changed.
Not coincidentally the first White Hat arrives at the DOJ-NSD leadership ranks when Dana Boente shows up, also in April 2017, from his prior position as U.S. AG for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente acted as interim Attorney General after Yates was removed. Boente left Main Justice in October 2017 and in January joined Christopher Wray at the FBI as Chief Legal Counsel to replace the removed James Baker.
OK, so that’s a long and rather exhaustive summary of the key inside-players without going directly into the White House (Obama), CIA (Brennan) and ODNI (Clapper) roles.
Why is this pertinent to Robert Mueller and the August 2nd, 2017 request to Rod Rosenstein for a clarification/narrowing of investigative authority?
Because Mueller’s team, the small group of political officials and lawyers, know all of these people inside the DOJ apparatus. These are their peers, their comrades in ideology… this is their crew and social circle. The last thing their legal endeavors need is to be put in a position of intel or information about their brethren.
And for Team-Leader Robert Mueller, against the back-drop of this information; and with IG Horowitz giving him details about Page/Strzok messages; there’s a strong motive to ask for a signed letter from Rosenstein prior to continuing to investigate the President of the United States knowing President Donald Trump was also a target of this plan – and these details were going to surface at some point.
Lastly, and specifically about Rod Rosenstein, perhaps at a certain point in the spring and early summer 2017 he might have thought there was a substantive way for the assembly to carry out their plan. Perhaps he even believed the popular leftist narrative and thought there might be something to these ‘Trump-Russia-Collusion’ claims. Perhaps that’s why he directed the Muller investigative mandate in May 2017 to the exclusivity of President Donald Trump with no mention of any other campaign (Hillary Clinton) contact with Russian entities.
However, by August 2017 with full information coming from IG Horowitz about the likelihood of criminal conduct by FBI and DOJ officials; at the time Rosenstein wrote the more carefully detailed outline; he had to know the investigation into Trump was heading no-where.