There isn’t much of a pretense anymore that the Mueller investigation is about alleged Russian campaign collusion.
Maybe it started out about collusion, but it veered off course within a couple of months, when Mueller decided that Paul Manafort needed to be investigated for conduct many years ago having nothing to do with the campaign, or even Russia. Rod Rosenstein created the paperwork in early August 2017 to retroactively expand Mueller’s investigation and justify Mueller conduct that already had taken place.
The raid on Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen’s law office by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, was at the referral of Mueller, and signed off by Rosenstein. That raid was a frontal assault on Trump’s business and personal history.
If reporting is accurate, the records seized concerned not just payments to Stormy Daniels, but also the Access Hollywood tape revealed during the campaign. It’s fair to assume that a wide range of records going beyond those salacious topics were grabbed by the FBI, including Trump’s other personal and business dealings over a long period of time.
The seizure of Cohen’s records surely goes more directly to taking down Trump for conduct unrelated to the campaign much less Russian collusion.
The NY Times Editorial Board is honest about the goal, The Law Is Coming, Mr. Trump:
Mr. Trump has spent his career in the company of developers and celebrities, and also of grifters, cons, sharks, goons and crooks. He cuts corners, he lies, he cheats, he brags about it, and for the most part, he’s gotten away with it, protected by threats of litigation, hush money and his own bravado. Those methods may be proving to have their limits when they are applied from the Oval Office. Though Republican leaders in Congress still keep a cowardly silence, Mr. Trump now has real reason to be afraid. A raid on a lawyer’s office doesn’t happen every day; it means that multiple government officials, and a federal judge, had reason to believe they’d find evidence of a crime there and that they didn’t trust the lawyer not to destroy that evidence….
Mr. Trump also railed against the authorities who, he said, “broke into” Mr. Cohen’s office. “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” the president tweeted early Tuesday morning, during what was presumably his executive time. He was wrong. The privilege is one of the most sacrosanct in the American legal system, but it does not protect communications in furtherance of a crime. Anyway, one might ask, if this is all a big witch hunt and Mr. Trump has nothing illegal or untoward to hide, why does he care about the privilege in the first place?
That last highlighted sentence is very instructive. Would the NY Times Editorial Board be willing to give up its attorney-client privilege in litigation against the NY Times? If the NY Times has nothing illegal or untoward to hide, why would it care about the privilege in the first place?……..