By Dan Calabrese
This has been the presumption for some time, of course. Robert Mueller wasn’t appointed to prosecute bank fraud cases. He was appointed to find out if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. So why is he prosecuting Paul Manafort on an unrelated bank fraud case?
The answer is obvious: He’s doing it for the same reason he had his team stage a 6 a.m. raid of Manafort’s home at a time when Manafort was already cooperating with him. He’s trying to harass and intimidate Manafort into flipping and giving Mueller something he can use to bring down Trump.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, who drew the case, sees exactly what’s going on here, and today in court he stunned Mueller’s chosen man on the case by calling a spade a spade:
A federal judge expressed deep skepticism Friday in the bank fraud case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, at one point saying he believes that Mueller’s motivation is to oust President Donald Trump from office.
Although Mueller’s authority has been tested in court before, Friday’s hearing was notable for District Judge T.S. Ellis’ decision to wade into the divisive political debate around the investigation.“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud,” Ellis said to prosecutor Michael Dreeben, at times losing his temper. Ellis said prosecutors were interested in Manafort because of his potential to provide material that would lead to Trump’s “prosecution or impeachment,” Ellis said.“That’s what you’re really interested in,” said Ellis, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.Ellis repeated his suspicion several times in the hour-long court hearing. He said he’ll make a decision at a later date about whether Manafort’s case can go forward.
“We don’t want anyone in this country with unfettered power. It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants,” Ellis told Dreeben. “The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power.”When Dreeben answered Ellis’ question about how the investigation and its charges date back to before the Trump campaign formed, the judge shot back, “None of that information has to do with information related to Russian government coordination and the campaign of Donald Trump.”
When Ellis talks about someone having unfettered power, he’s referring to Mueller. Mueller seems to think his original charge is irrelevant, and that he can go beyond it and use his prosecutorial power to bring pressure on anyone he wants, in any way he wants, regardless of the matter’s relevance to the Russia investigation, if the end result is that it will yield him something he can use to damage the president.
Judge Ellis is right to call BS on that.
If Mueller has evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, let’s see it. If he doesn’t, let’s wrap this up. He’s had enough time.
If Paul Manafort committed bank fraud that’s worthy of prosecution, let Mueller refer that to the Justice Department proper and then stick to the matter he was appointed to deal with. Everyone can see what’s going on here, but it’s really jarring to hear it from a federal judge, from the bench. And today that’s exactly what happened.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!