Narration: Robert Mueller closed shop finding no crimes and no collusion with the Russians–What has the 25-million dollar probe produced?
Louie Gomert: There is not one single indictment that could not have been done by the current justice department.
Narration: And how were these investigations carried out?
Sydney Powell: As soon as I heard that they raided Manafort’s home in the wee hours of the morning and picked the lock and had Manafort and his wife wake up in their bed with guns in their faces and search Manafort’s wife in the bed in her nightgown. That’s textbook Andrew Weissman. I call it prosecutorial terrorist tactics.
Narration: The Democrat controlled House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena the unredacted Report. After the Mueller act is over, is it Congress’s turn to carry out Act II?
Christopher Farrell: All these politicians are going to go out and try to do fundraising off of, “They are fighting to get the report.”
Narration: And just how deep is the interlocking of top political powers, national security agencies and the media during the 2016 campaign and afterwards?
Christopher Farrell: And she wrote in this text message quote: “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing” close quote. Of course “POTUS” means Mr. Obama. So my question is for Mr. Obama. What did he know, when did he know it? What did he direct? What did he approve?
Simone Gao: Welcome to Zooming In, I am Simone Gao. There are many things to reflect on after Robert Mueller finally concluded there was no collusion between president Trump and Russia. We need to ask if the Mueller investigation was a sincere probe into Russian meddling in American politics or an extension of the national security agencies’ opposition to the president? More importantly, we need to know what exactly was the syndicate behind the Russian collusion hoax that included a presidential campaign, the FBI, the Justice Department and their allies in the media who injected tall-tales from the Russians into the country’s bloodstream. In this edition of “Zooming In,” we look for lessons learned for our new, post-Mueller world.
Part 1: Act II is Article I
Narration: On March 24th, Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed the final conclusion of his Russia probe to the Justice Department. The two-year investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. The report also concluded the evidence was “not sufficient” to establish that President Trump had obstructed justice and leaves the attorney general with the task of determining “whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.” The Justice department concluded, “There is no obstruction of justice.”
This chapter did not end here.
Three days later, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler called the Attorney General William Barr to request the full unredacted report by April 2nd which the Attorney General did not commit. On April 3rd, the The House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize a subpoena for the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report.
The committee also authorized subpoenas for members in the Trump orbit, including former White House counsel Don McGahn; McGahn’s former chief of staff Ann Donaldson; former adviser Steve Bannon; former spokesperson Hope Hicks; and former chief of staff Reince Priebus.
Meanwhile, The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal filed a formal request with the Treasury Department for the tax returns of President Trump for the past six years.
Simone Gao: Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress. Today, this body of government seems to be weaponized by politicians more than ever. In this never-ending play, after Mueller’s Act I is over, is it Congress’s turn to carry out Act II? I asked Christopher Farrell, a former Army counterintelligence officer and the director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch, how Act II of the Russia Probe will play out.
Simone: Do you think the Attorney General should and would hand over the full Mueller report to the house judiciary committee after they subpoena it?
Christopher Farrell:Well there’s a process for the attorney general to handle the Mueller report and that process is governed by law. It’s also governed by regulations that come from the law itself, and it’s very specific and it has a number of requirements that the attorney general must fulfill. And so in doing that, you know there’s sort of this political sideshow, this political theater that’s taking place in the House Judiciary Committee which has little or nothing to do with the law that governs the attorney general’s conduct. And so the attorney general is currently reviewing Mueller’s report. He has already pledged to make it public. But there are constraints on what he can make public. And so the law requires that the attorney general protect what’s referred to as “‘grand jury material” and that’s information that’s presented to a grand jury but it is not intended to ever be made public. Grand jury secrecy is a tenant, you know a foundation of our system of jurisprudence. There’s also classified information that has to be withheld, and then there’s privacy related information. You’re an innocent person. So why should your name be dragged into something that you just happened to see, hear, etc.
Simone: So you are specifically saying they are violating the law by asking for an unredacted version.
Christopher Farrell: Well they can ask for whatever they want. There’s a difference between politics and law. In this case they sort of intersect, and so you have politicians with their own political agenda trying to use a legal tool to force the attorney general to violate the law. There’s an incredible contradiction in this, and it’s nonsensical. But it’s not intended to make sense. It’s intended as a propaganda tool. It’s intended as a fundraising tool. All these politicians are going to go out and try to do fundraising off of, “They are fighting to get the report.” No they’re not. They’re doing a political stunt to generate and to energize interest in their political base.
Bumper: Coming up, can a sitting president be indicted?
Part 2: Can a Sitting President be Indicted?
Narration: The U.S. Justice Department has a decades-old policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. This policy was adopted by the DOJ’s office of Legal Counsel in 1973 during President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned in 1974, under the impeachment pressure from the House of Representatives.
This is why the House Judiciary Committee named Nixon as a quote “unindicted co-conspirator.”
It was also part of President Gerald Ford’s motivation to pardon Nixon to shield him from future indictments, since he no longer had the protection of being president.
DOJ reaffirmed the policy in a 2000 memo and concluded that criminal charges against a president would “violate the constitutional separation of powers” delineating the authority of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government.
In practice, indicting a sitting president is subject to procedure conflict. In the case of the Mueller Probe, the special counsel and his staff were not independent of the Justice Department or its chain of command. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller and launched the investigation, and throughout its active phase, Mueller reported to Rosenstein and his decisions were subject to Rosenstein’s approval.
Because Rosenstein and Mueller and everyone else in the Justice Department works for the president, if Mueller indicted Trump for obstructing justice, he could order Mueller to withdrawn the charge or fire Mueller and hire someone else to withdraw the charge.
This is why the president cannot be indicted. Constitutionally, you cannot have the sovereign working against himself. As a practical matter, no president would allow one of his subordinates to prosecute him, let alone indict him.
For these reasons, the Framers placed the power to impeach, which is the constitutional equivalent of an indictment, with the House of Representatives. Once impeached, the president is literally put on trial in the Senate presided over by the chief justice.
The Mueller Probe is over, but constitutionally, the real action has always been in the House–and with Democrats winning control of the chamber in the 2018 midterms, House Democrats are taking center stage.
Simone Gao: Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert is a former state judge and one of the most senior Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. Any move to impeach President Donald Trump must go through his committee. He told “Zooming In” that Democrats are not moving on from their efforts to undermine the president. But the mood in Congress is not for impeachment either at this moment.
Louie Gohmert: Well as far as impeachment I don’t think that’s at all practical anymore. There are rumors from people within the special counsel’s office that are leaking out that there’s more than the summary indicated. But you also have to understand anybody in the special counsel’s office that’s leaking that information may well be criminals themselves for leaking that information. So if you want to take the word of potential criminals who were working in the special counsel’s office then that’s fine. But I think we need an investigation into all the leaking that’s going on by criminals that are supposed to be ferreting out and punishing [in]justice when actually they’re the perpetrators.
Simone: What is your take on how Attorney General Barr is handling himself with Nadler and the Mueller Report so far?
Louie Gohmert: I know there were a lot of Republicans that, that thought a lot of Attorney General Barr even when he was nominated. I just don’t know the man, and I didn’t know the man well enough. I mean I could read about him, but that’s not really knowing him like I know Mueller after years of asking him questions and years of research on him, so I know him well and that’s one of the reasons I was very upset when he was appointed as special counsel. But as far as attorney general Barr’s conduct since being confirmed and made attorney general, I was a bit skeptical because I knew he had been there before and was friends with some of the people that I considered deep state problems. But I think he’s comported himself extremely well, and and is actually restoring some of the dignity to the office as head of the Department of Justice.
Simone: He offered to testify before your committee May 2nd, what are your questions that you are going to ask him?
Louie Gohmert: Well I don’t know. I have more questions for Mueller than I do Barr. I would really like to have Mueller back in front of our committee. He hasn’t been here to testify before our committee since he became special counsel. He had all kinds of bases for recusing himself, all kinds of reasons he should never have accepted the job, if he were an ethical, moral person concerned about justice. But he did. We do also know absolutely that there was a conspiracy between a foreign agent named Steele and the people who were foreign agents in Russia with whom he worked with the Clinton campaign and with high level officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI. That’s where the criminal conspiracy needs to be investigated. That’s where the real problem is. And I hope now we’ll get around to doing that.
Simone: How likely is that going to happen? That investigation.
Louie Gohmert: It will not be as a result of a demand from the Judiciary Committee as I would have hoped, because our chairman has made clear, he takes a very very partisan approach to the investigation and the Department of Justice. So if it’s an investigation into Clinton, who is found to have perjured himself, he wants to protect the president and his administration at all costs, as he did with President Clinton. But when it’s in the case of President Trump, a Republican, where no criminality is found by anyone, no indictments, no criminality regarding anyone, including the president, with any type of conspiracy with Russia, he still wants to persist and prevent a true investigation into the real crimes that occurred. But the truth is, you look at all the indictments that came as a result of the special counsel, there is not one single indictment that could not have been done by the current justice department.
Bumper: Coming up, Is the Deep State the new Fourth Estate?
Part 3: Is the Deep State the New Fourth Estate?
Narration: France’s Louis XVI called for the assembly of the kingdom’s three estates to resolve the financial crisis that crippled his government. The three estates were the nobility, the clergy, and the commoners. In the 1960s, American reporters began referring to the media as the so-called Fourth Estate, an extra-constitutional body with a veto over the government and society. During the Russia Probe, yet another powerful estate surfaced, namely, the national security agencies.
Simone Gao: Sydney Powell is the author of Licensed to Lie. She served in the Department of Justice for ten years in Texas and Virginia, and has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Powell told me she knew for the past two years that the collusion narrative was groundless.
Sydney Powell: I’ve known for two years that they made up the entire collusion narrative. That was obvious for me from the beginning, because I know Andrew Weissmann, the lead prosecutor on Mr. Mueller’s task force. He’s actually the lead villain in my book “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” that came out in 2014. And he’s very capable of making things up. He made up crimes against Arthur Andersen and destroyed that company and 85,000 jobs, only to be reversed by the Supreme Court unanimously three years later. And he made up crimes against four Merrill Lynch executives and sent them to prison for a year for nothing. So I’ve seen his work up close and personal. And I could just tell from the things they said and the way they went about doing it, especially when I saw the heavily redacted FISA application, the one on Carter Page, that they didn’t have anything. No judge should have signed off on that. It was absolutely appalling. So I was expecting a finding of no collusion with Russia. But I was also expecting, because it was Weismann and a group of people who absolutely loathe President Trump that Mr. Mueller picked for his special council operation, that they would throw all kinds of red meat to the Democrats to try to give them fodder for the impeachment effort. So I’m not surprised that they didn’t affirmatively say there was absolutely no evidence of obstruction of justice. Although that’s what they should have said. They essentially said that they’re not suggesting that he be indicted for that. That’s the same thing as an exoneration really. But yet they go on to throw red meat to the Democrats by saying well we can’t really exonerate him. That’s just baloney.
Simone: Your book came out 2014.
Sydney Powell: Yes.
Simone: So you exposed Weissman then.
Sydney Powell: I did.
Simone: And then, I am just thinking about the timeline. Why didn’t that sound [an] alarm for Mueller?
Sydney Powell: Well I should have. But Mr. Mueller spent protecting and promoting Mr. Weisman for 20 years.
Sydney Powell: Mr. Mueller had a hand in putting him on the Enron Task Force, where he committed all the atrocities that I talk about in my book. And then Mr. Muller brought him back into the FBI as his general counsel after that. And even though we filed a grievance against Mr. Weissman that was very compelling, and even though the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Mr. Weissman plainly suppressed evidence favorable to the defense, Mr. Muller kept protecting him. And then Leslie Caldwell who is also in the book, brought him back into the Department of Justice when Loretta Lynch was attorney general, and they became what I call the “Deep State Transition Team” that then went about running the back channel with Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr, to do the dossier, getting it to the FBI and through the DOJ and all that, long before Weismann went on the special counsel force. I mean really everything Weissman and Ms. Ahmad touch, she was running the back channel with Christopher Steele too. Everything they touch should be thrown out for egregious government misconduct.
Simone: And so you think Mueller knew all this and knew Weismann from the inside out.
Sydney Powell: Oh yeah I think that’s why he picked him for the special counsel operation. Because he knew what a dirty prosecutor he is. As soon as I heard that they raided Manafort’s home in the wee hours of the morning and picked the lock and had Manafort and his wife wake up in their bed with guns in their faces and search Manafort’s wife in the bed in her nightgown. That’s textbook Andrew Weissman. I call it prosecutorial terrorist tactics.
Simone: Is it true that during the Obama time, when they hired new people, it was very hard for the Conservatives to go into the Justice Department? Is that true?
Sydney Powell: Not necessarily. I think the Department of Justice has gotten progressively worse over the last 20 years. It’s been a slow process. Obama probably doubled it and ramped it up in terms of allowing prosecutors to run rampant over people’s rights and target people. I mean I’ve never seen such politicization and weaponization of all federal agencies as we’ve witnessed during the Obama administration. I mean from the Environmental Protection Agency to the IRS to the State Department to the DOJ. He literally put SWAT teams in the EPA. I mean militarized SWAT team for the EPA and other federal agencies.
Simone Gao: Never before in American history have the national security agencies worked so closely with one presidential candidate and against another–and then, continuing that opposition after their candidate lost the election. Rather than becoming a Fifth Estate, these agencies and the left-wing media joined forces forming a new more powerful Fourth Estate that nearly ousted a duly-elected president. For more details, here is the rest of my conversation with Farrell.
Simone: Federal law and the Constitution forbid unwarranted surveillance of U.S. citizens, but members from the Obama administration made hundreds of requests to “unmask” the identity of US citizens during the surveillance–what was going on?
Christopher Farrell: That’s a great question. We know that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, I think at least a couple of hundred unmasking requests have come either from her or from her office. That’s astonishing. First of all she, I mean really as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., she has no business accessing extremely classified signals intelligence information. It’s just not in her portfolio. It’s not part of her job.
Simone: Yeah, I mean Susan Rice, it’s understandable, but her?
Christopher Farrell: Yeah. And so, again this is a, it’s a curiosity. It begs for a criminal investigation by the attorney general, because we’ve seen the abuse of law enforcement techniques and intelligence techniques the likes of which we have never seen in our history. You know the sort of the, I guess the benchmark political crisis of all, that everything is sort of measured against is Watergate. The Nixon era scandal and crisis that forced his resignation. What we’ve seen with this manufactured hoax, Russia hysteria, makes Watergate look like a joke. I mean this is a really, very grave threat to the Constitution. It’s a criminal, corrupt abuse of our law enforcement and intelligence services to go after a political candidate. And really to try to manufacture or orchestrate a coup. We’ve never had that sort of a planned deliberate revolt emanating from our government against the sitting president. Nothing like it.
Simone: Are these individuals intentionally targeted, that is my question, by the Obama administration?
Christopher Farrell: Yeah, I mean it’s not something that you just sort of do by accident, or you know, it’s not a cavalier sort of you know, you have nothing else to do this afternoon, so why not go unmask some people. It’s a very serious, very deliberate process that really should have set off alarm bells at the National Security Agency because it is rare, it is exceptional, there are very specific requirements. It’s not done very often. And you know when you see Samantha Power submitting 200 and some odd requests, somebody somewhere, you would think, would have said, this is highly irregular. We have never seen this before. Why from this person, with such urgency, looking at these people. It’s an aberration that is extremely alarming.
Simone: How would you describe the interlocking of the Clinton campaign, national security agencies, and the media during the 2016 campaign and afterwards?
Christopher Farrell: Sure. I mean if you’re looking for a conspiracy, a real conspiracy, look at the very cozy relationships between Clinton campaign officials, various persons in the Department of Justice and the FBI, the manufacturers of the phony dossier, I mean, what that really gets to I think, particularly when you take into account that the Department of Justice and the FBI threw out the Clinton email investigation when they knew that she had committed crimes, and very specifically I can tell you, 18 United States Code Section 793 F, which is the mishandling of national defense information. Without a doubt. Mr. Comey manufactured a new requirement under the law, something concerning intent, which is not in the law. But they bent over backwards to absolve her of any wrongdoing, because they didn’t want to have the Democratic nominee for the president to be indicted. Right? I mean, a little bit of a public relations problem there. But I think even the larger, the greater, the greatest question goes back to a text that Lisa Page sent to Peter Strzok. And she wrote to him, very excitedly, because she was preparing talking points for the director of the FBI, Mr. Comey, to go brief the president on their activities going after Trump, and she wrote in this text message quote, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing” close quote. Of course “POTUS” means Mr. Obama, right? The president at the time. So here’s Lisa Page. She’s thinking about this briefing she’s preparing for the FBI director, because she knows he’s going to go see the president. And she tells Strzok, who’s the chief investigator in all this, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing,” and that was in September of 2016. So my question is for Mr. Obama. What did he know, when did he know it? What did he direct? What did he approve?
Simone Gao: The story of how Democrats and their allies inside government and media tried to overturn the 2016 presidential election is still unfolding. Stay with “Zooming In” as we continue to cover all the developments in depth. Let me know what you think on Twitter @ZoomingInSimone. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel: Zooming In With Simone Gao. Goodbye until next time.