How many times can it be said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to have a conflict in the ever expanding “all things Russia” investigation?
Mueller has had a conflict dating back to his appointment as special counsel due to his relationship with a key witness, former FBI Director James Comey.
There are more examples which illustrate a potential conflict over which Mueller should be dismissed but it doesn’t appear to matter to either the mainstream media or most members of Congress.
On Monday, it was revealed that Mueller may again have another conflict. This time it involves a connection with a Russian oligarch.
That’s right an actual connection to a Russian oligarch.
In 2009, when Mueller was the Director of the FBI, the FBI approached a wealthy Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska and asked him to spend millions of his own money on an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson who had been captured in Iran while working for the CIA.
Several secret hotel meetings were held in Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Hungary and Washington between the FBI and billionaire Deripaska to persuade him to underwrite the mission, according to reports.
Apparently meeting with a Russian oligarch is perfectly fine as long as you are the FBI who needs a favor?
One unnamed U.S. official involved in the operation said that Deripaska most likely spent millions on the operation.
In the end, the State Department under Hillary Clinton got cold feet after the oligarch’s hired team arranged for Levinson to be released in 2010.
The State Department, didn’t like the terms of the Iran deal so Levinson was not released and his whereabouts remain a mystery.
Throughout all of it, Mueller was apprised of every move that the FBI and Deripaska’s team made, according to Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009.
It is also being reported that Deripaska was rewarded by the FBI for his involvement in attempting to secure Levinson’s release.
According to U.S. entry records in 2009, Deripaska visited “Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he was granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry. Former FBI officials confirm they arranged the access.”
Fast forward to today.
During Mueller’s investigation into “Russia interference with the election,” Deripaska’s name surfaced connecting him to Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman who has been indicted by Mueller.
Deripaska apparently hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money.
A question that could reasonably be posed is as follows:
“Is Mueller once again rewarding Deripaska for his past help in the Levinson case by pursuing an indictment against Manafort (because Manafort allegedly stole money from someone, namely Deripaska, who was so helpful to the FBI?)”
No conflict there, right? #sarcasm
Mueller’s indictment reportedly does not mention the past relationship between the FBI and Deripaska nor Deripaska’s business relationship with Manafort.
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz believes Mueller once again has a conflict of interest that would disqualify him as special counsel because of the financial relationship Deripaska had with the FBI.
He also questions whether Deripaska should have been included in the Manafort indictment or whether there was some other reason the special counsel failed to include him?
In other words, Mueller’s past dealings with Deripaska raise at the very least an “appearance of impropriety” that poses ethical questions as to Mueller’s conduct in the matter.
A former Clinton DOJ attorney, Melanie Sloan says there may be an even more serious problem.
“It’s possible the bureau’s arrangement with Mr. Deripaska violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits the government from accepting voluntary services.”
George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed saying:
“If the operation with Deripaska contravened federal law, this figure could be viewed as a potential embarrassment for Mueller. The question is whether he could implicate Mueller in an impropriety.”
These serious conflict of interest allegations and other possible violations against Mueller and the FBI should be on every news channel 24/7.
Imagine how mainstream media would erupt if anyone in the Trump administration or family had met with someone from Russia.
Oh wait, they did and mainstream media stayed on the topic for weeks (and are still on the topic of Russia when a need arises for them to bring it back up).
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