There’s actually some good news lurking in the raid conducted by the FBI Monday on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. The good news is that it means Special Counsel Robert Mueller has nothing on Trump.
With this raid on Trump’s lawyer, which reportedly included seizing materials that would relate to Cohen’s lawyer-client privilege with the president, Mueller has torched any future indictment he might have envisioned against Trump.
If Mueller had anything to go after Trump with, he presumably would not have signed off on this. To have any hope of building an indictable case (or even a merely impeachable one, in the wholly political venue of Congress), Mueller would have to avoid such super-colossal procedural errors as violating privilege. Every usual-suspect expert who has weighed in today – Alan Dershowitz, Andrew McCarthy, a half-dozen attorneys whom I happen to follow on Twitter – has said the reports on the raids (of Cohen’s home and office) seemed to indicate a shocking lack of precautions against improper seizure of materials.
It sounds more like Mueller has gone off the rails than like he has some kind of clever plan.
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(Hannity isn’t necessarily my favorite personality to listen to, but there’s good commentary from Dershowitz here.)
Moreover, the initial reporting indicated that Mueller referred Cohen to the Southern District of New York for investigation. It’s not like a regional prosecutor was hankering to go after Cohen, and had to seek Mueller’s blessing because of the special counsel probe. The indication from the major news sources was that this came from Mueller.
The obvious reaction is an incredulous “What the [bleep] is going on here?”
Whatever happened in the Stormy Daniels situation, no sane person thinks it had anything to do with “Russiagate.” (Her encounter with Trump, whatever it entailed, was in 2006.)
Finding out what Cohen’s files say about Stormy Daniels is clearly not important enough to justify bypassing due process (in a civil suit, at that – or even if it interested the Federal Election Commission, as urged by “Washington-based groups”). It is well outside Mueller’s charter. As a reminder, he is chartered to investigate potential Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election as a counterintelligence matter, and to prosecute any obstruction he comes across in the process of doing that. Stormy Daniels has nothing to do with his special counsel charter.
That actually means that if he did refer Michael Cohen for investigation over Stormy Daniels, then Mueller himself was looking in the wrong places, given what is legitimately of interest to him.
It would mean that Trump’s complaint all along – that the Mueller probe is a witch hunt – has been perfectly valid.
McCarthy called Mueller an “unguided missile” in a radio-show discussion with Mark Levin on Monday. It’s not over the top, it’s merely accurate, to point out that raiding Michael Cohen is an assault on the rule of law in the United States. The alternative – letting due process play out in the Stormy Daniels situation, and every other one involving Trump or an associate – is both obvious, and obviously preferable. The raid looks like a peremptory abuse of the power of law.
My interview with Andy McCarthy about the latest outrage involving investigators and some of my subsequent comments https://t.co/LjaQ9MR4Io
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) April 9, 2018
That’s the bad news. This event has the feel to it of the Rubicon being crossed. Either we have the rule of law, or we don’t. No one gets appointed in America to simply root around in as many people’s business as necessary until he can find some way to undo the results of an election.
Only one person was elected president by due process in 2016, and it was not Mueller, Chuck Schumer, or the editors of the nation’s major news outlets. Trump has been adhering to the rules, waiting on due process of law. Mueller has shown more than once that he is not. It’s starting to create an exceptional trail of bad faith in the legal system — something America, as we know her, won’t survive. This has gone on long enough.