Several days ago, I wrote about the impact the Mueller Investigation has had on the country here. Although it’s impossible to know, it likely cost Republicans a number of seats in the House in November’s midterm elections. It certainly wasn’t helpful for the U.S. President to remain under investigation for the first two years and two months of his first term.
The National Review’s Andrew McCarthy takes this a bit further and asks the question, “When during their exhaustive 22-month investigation did prosecutors realize they had no case?”
He believes the Mueller team ruled out collusion by the end of 2017. He “suspects it was in the early autumn.”
If so, why did they string out the investigation through early 2019? The answer: Because they knew it would hurt Republicans in the midterms.
At the time Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed his long-time mentor and friend Robert Mueller to the Special Counsel in May 2017, the FBI had been conducting their counterintelligence investigation for ten months. FBI lawyer Lisa Page told lawmakers they had no evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians in July 2016, nor did they have evidence in May 2017.
Yet it took the Special Counsel’s team 22 months to rule out collusion.
By the November elections, President Trump had been under investigation for fifteen months. They will point to the dossier and say they needed time to verify the accusations contained in it, however, we know from DOJ official Bruce Ohr they were warned of it’s origins.
Lisa Page also told Congressional investigators that they had never been able to corroborate any of the claims in the dossier.
Knowing it was opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, and that it was created by a man who felt tremendous animosity toward Trump, it was unreasonable, probably illegal, and definitely damaging to the country, to place the President under a public microscope while they tried to verify it.
In the meantime, they submitted four applications and labeled them as “VERIFIED,” to the FISA Court using the false document as the basis, taking advantage of the FISA court judges who approve 99% of all FBI requests. By submitting a “VERIFIED” application, agents were telling the FISA Court judge that they had “probable cause to believe former Trump adviser Carter Page was an agent of Russia.” This was definitely illegal.
McCarthy notes that, the third renewal request (the FBI’s fourth and final application to the FISA Court) was made in the first month of Mueller’s investigation in June 2017.
By August 2017, Mueller had removed the lead investigator, Agent Peter Strzok over the rabidly anti-Trump texts he’d exchanged with Lisa Page, a top FBI lawyer who served as McCabe’s counsel. Page herself had resigned in May. Meanwhile, the FBI reassigned its top counsel, James Baker (who later resigned); and the bureau’s inspection division referred McCabe to the Justice Department’s inspector general for leaking investigative information and then lying about it.
This means that by autumn 2017 when it would have been time to go back to the court and reaffirm the dossier’s allegations of a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy, the major FBI officials involved in placing those unverified allegations before the court had been sidelined. Clearly up to speed after four months of running the investigation, Mueller decided not to renew these allegations.
Once the fourth warrant lapsed in September, investigators made no new claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to the court. The collusion case was the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier, and by autumn 2017, the investigators now in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation were unwilling to stand behind it.
McCarthy wrote that when Mueller ended his probe last Friday, “he almost certainly knew for about a year and a half that there was no collusion case.”
So, why did he continue the charade for so long. Because he and his co-conspirators wanted to keep Trump under the shadow of their investigation for as long as possible, “as Trump detractors continued to claim that a sitting American president might be a tool of the Putin regime.”
Oh, and it just so happened to cover the midterm elections.