Mueller's Latest Court Filing Has the Russophobes Going Crazy

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller smiles as he speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, during his farewell ceremony. Mueller is stepping down in September after 12 years heading the agency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller smiles as he speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, during his farewell ceremony. Mueller is stepping down in September after 12 years heading the agency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Yesterday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a new filing in his ongoing investigation of whatever the hell it is that he’s investigating. This particular filing was in connection with the guilty plea of Alex van der Zwaan. Van der Zwaan was, if you recall, the Skadden Arps attorney who worked on a report commissioned by Paul Manafort for Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych justifying the prosecution of a political opponent. Van der Zwaan was accused of lying to federal agents.

At some point, van der Zwaan had a telephone call with Richard Gates (also indicted) and a Russian known as Person A.

What this says was that van der Zwaan was told that Person A was a former Russian intelligence officer. The FBI claims that he still had ties to Russian intelligence at the time, but, at the risk of damaging FBI morale, we are all too familiar with the track record of FBI claims (see the Bundy case, for instance. Or the ongoing prosecution of Noor Salman.)

This is how CBS covered it:

Documents filed by special counsel prosecutors reveal that former Trump deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates was knowingly working with an individual with ties to Russian intelligence during the campaign, CBS News Paula Reid reports. In a late Tuesday court filing late, the special counsel alleged that this unnamed person worked for one of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s companies and was in touch with Gates in September and October 2016. This individual is also described as being “pertinent to the investigation.”

There are two false statements here. Nowhere it the filing does it state that anyone knew Person A was a current intelligence officer. And nowhere in the filing does it say that Person A was of any interest to Mueller beyond him having been in communication with Gates and van der Zwaan. In fact, the phrase “pertinent to the investigation” does not appear in the filing.

And this is how Twitter covered it.

This whole thing smells of desperation on all counts. This whole grimy episode is chocked to the gills with “former Russian intelligence officers.” The Fusion GPS stringer and attendee at the infamous Trump Tower meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin, was a former GRU officer. Virtually all of the sources in Christopher Steele’s Trump dossier are current or former Russian intelligence officers…or would be suspected of being so. The fact that the guy was known to be a former intelligence officer is a nice McCarthyite description but it is pretty meaningless. The fact that Mueller feels the necessity of throwing this slur into a sentencing memorandum (spoiler alert: van der Zwaan didn’t ‘flip’ on anyone) shows he’s beginning to feel some heat for the abusive and interminable investigation he’s carrying out.