Robert Mueller Investigation Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Introduction

Robert Mueller was appointed by George W. Bush to serve a ten year term as the 6th Director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013 (Obama granted him a two year extension).  Today, appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Mueller is heading the Special Counsel investigation into the long-standing claim that Russia “hacked” the 2016 presidential elections, though the investigation has been said to be more wide ranging than that (Mondics, 2017).  This paper will provide information on who Mueller is, what the investigation is all about, why it was initiated, and what the latest news on it has revealed.

Background

Robert Mueller was born in New York City in 1944.  His father worked for DuPont and had served in the Navy during WWII.  Mueller’s boyhood was spent in Princeton, New Jersey and at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire.  Mueller attended Princeton University, took a BA in politics, earned an MA in International Relations at New York University in 1967, joined the Marines in 1968, and served with distinction in Vietnam as a platoon leader.  Following the completion of his service in the Marines, Mueller went to the University of Virginia School of Law and took his law degree in 1973 (Lamothe, 2018).

As Director of the FBI in 2003, Mueller supported the justification for the U.S. attack on Iraq, which was based on faulty intelligence (Shenon, 2003).  Mueller himself was warned that the invasion would accomplish little but cost much in terms of lives and potential future blowback and was urged to share these concerns with President Bush.  Instead, Mueller maintained his silence and the whistleblower went public, which cast Mueller in onerous light (Shenon, 2003).  Mueller was also a proponent of warrantless wiretapping and defended the NSA surveillance programs, which came under fire following the revelation of Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on NSA overreach and surveillance of U.S. citizen (Mayer, 2009).  Mueller personally believed Snowden should be held responsible for his leaks (Reuters, 2013).

As a man, Mueller has demonstrated both honor as a platoon leader in Vietnam and a willingness to tow the company line even in the face of warnings from individual whistleblowers making warnings about breeches of justice.  His character has been both lauded and questioned.  He oversaw the prosecutions of members of the Gambino crime family in the 1990s (Blum, 2017), but also supported the erroneous decision to invade Iraq and defended the widespread abuse of surveillance powers conducted by the FBI.  This was the man appointed to head the investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

What is the Investigation?

Mueller was appointed to head the investigation into Russian interference in the election of President Trump.  Accusations were swirling that Trump and Russia colluded to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.  However, there is a great deal of politics underlying the investigation, and the fact that it has indeed become a wide ranging investigation with little thus far to show for it after a year of being conducted suggests that the investigation has either come up empty or has deviated  off course to a significant extent.

For instance, Trump’s layer Cohen’s office was recently raided by FBI, yet it is unclear the confiscation of Cohen’s records are in relation to the Russian hacking investigation, to a scandal involving a porn star named Stormy Daniels, or to something else that has not yet been made public.  Moreover, since the House Intel committee has essentially shifted its focus away from the Trump Administration and is now examining several members of the FBI and the Justice Department investing collusion between these agencies and the DNC to steal the election for Hillary Clinton it appears to some that the Mueller investigation is running on fumes.

Fired Director Comey leaked the contents of his meetings with Trump to the press in hopes of stirring up a controversy (which they did).  Comey wanted to show that Trump had pressed him for loyalty—and though this was not a direct indication or admission of collusion Rosenstein apparently felt it was—and Attorney General Sessions had already stepped aside to avoid accusations of a conflict of interest.  Mueller, however, has shown no interest in avoiding the same accusations.

As a result, the Mueller investigation continues in order to set the record straight on whether Russia colluded with Trump to steal the election from Clinton, or whether there are other issues at stake here that need to be investigated.  In short, Mueller appears to be looking for anything that he can hang on Trump or his associates over the course of this investigation. 

Why the Investigation?

One piece of information that helped spur on the investigation comes courtesy of a largely-discredited “Russian dossier” put together by a British agent hired by the DNC to collect “dirt” on Trump.  The dossier was alleged to contain information linking Trump to Putin and show that collusion between the two did indeed take place to show that Trump stole the election.  However, the dossier was nonetheless used by the FBI to show a need to investigate Trump.  As Goodwin (2017) of the New York Post, who suggested that Mueller’s main conflict of interest came from his ties to the FBI which should be (and now is) under investigation, notes:  “My great sin was to argue that Mueller’s close relationship with his successor at the FBI, James Comey, was always a problem and that recent developments created a situation that was fixable only by resignation.”  Thus, Mueller’s appointment was from the beginning a questionable move that has made many wonder why this investigation was greenlit under the former FBI boss, whose task was to investigate the acknowledged political foe of his former colleagues and peers, of whom he retained a high opinion.  

Indeed, as Mueller was known to be a company man, the idea that he would be impartial in this investigation was far from certain.  Goodwin (2017) for example took issue with Mueller’s conflicts of interest:  “Those added conflicts include the revelation that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party paid for the Russian dossier against Trump, with some of its paid sources linked to the Kremlin.  Because the FBI reportedly used the dossier to launch its probe of Trump and considered hiring its author, any probe faithful to Mueller’s assignment would include an examination of the FBI’s role in 2016.”  Moreover, the dossier was used by the Obama Administration as justification for unmasking Trump associates, even though the origins of the dossier were known to be dubious at best.  It was, in a way, a reflection of the justification given for the invasion…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Blum, H.  (2017).  How scared should Trump be of Mueller?  Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/12/how-scared-should-trump-be-of-mueller-ask-john-gotti-or-sammy-the-bull

Fredericks, B.  (2018)  GOP-led House panel fins no collusion.  Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2018/04/27/gop-led-house-panel-finds-no-collusion-between-trump-campaign-kremlin/

Goodwin, M.  (2017).  New York Times’ coverage of Mueller is peak liberal bias.  Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2017/11/05/new-york-times-coverage-of-mueller-is-peak-liberal-bias/

Lamothe, D.  (2018).  Robert Mueller’s military career.  Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2018/02/23/robert-muellers-military-career-detailed-in-documents-was-brief-but-remarkable/?utm_term=.53093487ad8d

Mayer, J.  (2009).  The dark side.  NY:  Anchor Books.Mondics, C.  (2017).  Wide-ranging Mueller probe could end up far from where it began.  Retrieved from  http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/chris-mondics/trump-russia-mueller-manafort-investigation-20170810.html

Reuters.  (2013).  FBI Director says U.S. will hold Snowden responsible on NSA leak.  Retrieved from https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-security-mueller/fbi-director-says-u-s-will-hold-snowden-responsible-on-nsa-leak-idUKBRE95C0Q420130613

Tanfani, J.  (2017).  Trump campaign manager, ex-aide charged in Russia probe.  Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-paul-manafort-and-business-associate-1509365548-htmlstory.html

Turley, J.  (2018).  ‘Ethical’ James Comey is under investigation for unethical acts.  Retrieved from http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/384257-ethical-james-comey-under-investigation-for-unethical-acts

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