Mueller Probe Seeks White Collar Crime


By: Perry Hicks, Private Investigator (Retired)   Special to GCN   3/25/18


Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent.- James Comey, former FBI Director, fired by President Donald Trump


The president should not interpret silence from the Mueller camp as any indication that their efforts have turned up nothing. Mueller's team are both committed and disciplined. They are not going to leak like a proverbial sieve. Clintonistas all, they want Trump's head on a pike and will not telegraph what evidence they possess to the president's defense team. Mueller is out for revenge...


The problem for the prosecution is that given Trump's wealth and interest from media worldwide, Mueller cannot afford to be caught intimidating the president or his immediate family, or even charging them with fake crimes for which they will plea guilty.


Furthermore, while the Democrats would accept even the most trivial misdemeanor as grounds for impeachment, Mueller knows full well that present political reality dictates  he bide his time, at least until after the November elections, when the Democrats believe they will win back the Senate.


Mueller's stake in ending the presidency aside,  he must deliver far more than small-time offenses. For all the months and millions spent, to be a hero, Mueller must stand and deliver a major felony- or at least a crime that would not just win over enough Republicans to both impeach and convict, but convince the people the removal was just. The failure of Virginia's McDonnell case at the United States Supreme Court surely has been a prosecutorial lesson.


So, at this point what does Mueller have?


We can surmise that:


1.      Having raided Paul Manafort's home in the wee  hours of the morning, we can be sure that Mueller's team has computer(s) that will forensically or otherwise reveal Manafort's intent to commit whatever crimes  Mueller wishes to charge him. At a minimum, Mueller is using tax evasion, money laundering, being an unregistered agent for a foreign entity, and making false statements to Federal investigators as leverage to force Manafort to talk. These charges, worth incarcerating Manafort for the rest of his life, are more than enough to convince Manafort to give up information on Trump; assuming he has some. Otherwise, we are back to fabrication.


2.      Campaign aide Rick Gates, a business partner with Manafort, is facing the same charges. He caved first and took a plea deal requiring him to cooperate with pretty much whatever Mueller demands.


3.      We can be sure that Trump's tax returns for as many years as Mueller has desired are in his possession. Mueller has reportedly sought and gotten (though disputed) financial records from Deutsche Bank, reportedly the conduit for Trump's real estate development   funding. Deutsche Bank has also pushed back on reports that records for Trump”s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been handed over to Mueller.


4.       In 2015, Deutsche Bank took a plea deal for wire fraud. The bank reportedly paid $630 million in fines for allegedly assisting clients to illegally move $10 billion out of Russia.


Proving money laundering via contracting for loans requires proof of intent, as in knowledge. This is a high but not insurmountable hurdle for Mueller to clear. What would aid him, lacking documented evidence, would be to depose Trump, and in so doing, catch him in a lie while under oath.


However, Mueller's reach does not extend into the Russian Federation. He will not be able to squeeze Russian oligarchs into volunteering inculpatory information, assuming there is information to give.


Should Mueller fail to ensnare his prey, the president, in my investigative opinion, he may be compelled to turn to one of Trump's loved ones, Jared and/or Ivanka, to indict and so force Trump into evoking his enumerated and unrestricted power to grant pardons. At that point, the United States will enter into a Constitutional crisis where the courts- ultimately the US Supreme Court- will have to decide if what has been heretofore an absolute Constitutional power is indeed “lawful” under this or any other circumstances.


Should Trump be removed from office, much less criminally prosecuted, we may, if we are not already, enter into a second civil war. Considering the pass Bill and Hillary Clinton received from James Comey, supposedly over Hillary's laughably lack of “intent,” such removal would be regarded by many as a coup d'état .


The outcome would be unpredictable, particularly if the new authority attempted to seize rights,  shut down social networks and other communication services, or otherwise commit other actions designed to stymie grass roots organization.


Witnessing such a self-absorbing conflict erupt, hostile powers, such as Iran, North Korea, or even China and Russia, could take aggressive actions knowing that the Unites States could not respond with force.