Former federal prosecutor: Mueller’s probe going way outside its intended purpose and is now flouting DoJ standards
03/19/2018 / By JD Heyes / Comments
Former federal prosecutor: Mueller’s probe going way outside its intended purpose and is now flouting DoJ standards

As calls ramp up for President Donald J. Trump to insist that his Justice Department put an end to the “witch hunt” being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, one former federal prosecutor notes that his investigation has essentially become a creature unto itself.

That’s because, argues Andrew McCarthy in a column for National Review, Mueller has no reins on him whatsoever: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel despite the fact that the campaign of President Donald J. Trump was not alleged to have committed any crimes, gave the former FBI director limitless authority to look at whatever he wants and whomever he wants.

“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,” McCarthy wrote.

“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.”

But as it turns out, that’s not all that’s wrong with Mueller’s investigation. McCarthy says Mueller is “shredding Justice Department policy” by leveling “earth-shattering crimes” against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates, “then cutting a sweetheart deal that shields the defendant from liability for those crimes and from the penalties prescribed by Congress.”


In addition, McCarthy says Mueller “has become a legislature unto himself” by inventing crimes and distorting the government’s legal standard for “fraud.” (Related: McCarthy: Lisa Page’s text PROVES that Mueller CANNOT plausibly charge Trump with ‘OBSTRUCTION.’)

He provided some examples of how Mueller was inflating charges only to agree to plea deals for much less serious infractions:

The two indictments contain many other felony charges. But sticking with just these most serious ones, we can safely say that, on February 22, Manafort and Gates were portrayed as high-order federal felons who faced decades of prison time based on financial frauds in the nine-digit range. And while I have previously discussed potential proof problems for the money-laundering charge, proving bank fraud and tax fraud is comparatively straightforward. The indictment indicates that the evidence of these crimes is well documented and daunting.

Yet, the very next day, Friday, February 23, Mueller permitted Gates to plead guilty to two minor charges — a vaporous “conspiracy against the United States” and the process crime of misleading investigators, each carrying a sentence of zero to five years in jail. This flouted Justice Department policies designed to ensure that federal law is enforced evenhandedly across the nation.

Specifically, McCarthy notes that Mueller flouted a rule requiring federal prosecutors to charge suspects with “the most serious readily provable charge consistent with the nature and extent of his/her conduct.”

“In a properly functioning Justice Department, a defendant is not accused of over $100 million in financial fraud and then, within 24 hours, permitted to plead guilty in a wrist-slap deal that drops the major allegations and caps his potential sentence well beneath the penalties applicable by statute,” he added.

McCarthy noted as well that the manner in which Mueller charged Gates, he likely tainted any case he had against Manafort (who has long maintained his innocence, by the way):

The Justice Department’s manual further admonishes prosecutors to refrain from guilty pleas that could “adversely affect the investigation or prosecution of others.” That is exactly what Mueller has done to the ongoing prosecution of Manafort. By giving Gates a pass on the bank-fraud (and tax-fraud, and money-laundering) charges, Mueller signals that these allegations are inflated. A jury could well feel justified in giving Manafort a pass on them, too.

This probe is pointless and should never have begun. It’s no longer even focused on its founding mandate. Why, then, are taxpayers continuing to pay for this?

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

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