Wow, the cable news outfits are obsessed about discovering Special Counsel Robert Mueller has questioned Son of the Old South Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. First, was there anyone in this fine nation who Didn’t think the Special Counsel would have inquiries for the Attorney General, who recused himself from the Russian probe because he was ever so likely to be a witness? Yes, this does imply interest in the obstruction of justice question associated with Oval Office behavior. There’s nothing like reassuring Russians in a White House visit that the “nut-job” (Director Comey) had been taken care of, and going on national TV to tell Lester Holt that firing the FBI Director was related to the investigations into the Russia Matter, to lead a person to wonder not If but How Much the Oval Office Oaf meant to obstruct any serious investigation of Russian interference in 2016. However, this is only part of a larger picture. We should remember that criminal law specialist Michael Drebeen isn’t the only member of Team Mueller. There are more.
Those who followed the Enron Case will recall Andrew Weissman. Mr. Weissman is a specialist in bribery and fraud, as in foreign bribery cases and big frauds like Enron. From the entangled mess that was Enron accounting Mr. Weissman plucked the pertinent threads and followed them until Jeffrey Skilling learned about life in the Federal prison system. Maybe it would also serve to remember the Oval Office Oaf declaring last July that his business and his family business records were “off limits.” Really? And the banter began: “Oh, yes Officer, you can certainly search my car, just don’t look in the trunk!”
Weissman won’t have to go plunging among the lug wrenches and spare tires to search for Trump financial records. One interesting set is coming from Deutsche Bank as of early in December 2017. [Guard] There are two points worth remembering about Deutsche Bank, one — it was the only bank willing to lend OOO money after he’d bankrupted several businesses and gave investors such hair cuts their financial heads were bald, and two — Deutsche Bank has a record of dancing cheek to cheek with Russian Bears of questionable integrity. As in money laundering? As in highly suspect banking practices? As in big fines? As in getting some fines reduced by the OOO Administration? This widens the probe a bit, but there’s still another facet.
While Mr. Weissman is the man most often cited in matters financial, there’s another Follow The Money man on Team Mueller — Greg Andres, who supervised the case against $8 billion Ponzi Scheme con man Robert Stanford and was associated with the prosecution of the Bonnano crime family.
Aaron Zebley is also a member of Team Mueller. There’s nothing like having a counter-terrorism specialist on board for an investigation of possible conspiracy charges. Perhaps making life in the West Wing even more interesting, Mr. Zebley is more specifically a cybersecurity expert. He has some help in this department from another expert in counter-terrorism.
Zainab Ahmad has her own reputation in counter-terrorism and international cases. She’s prosecuted 13 terrorism cases since 2009 without losing a single one. Let’s assume that people who can follow and correctly interpret the plethora of financial and surreptitious paths of Al Qaeda won’t have all that much more trouble discerning what patterns are associated with good old fashioned money laundering and international criminal behavior.
And while we are speaking of money laundering, yet another member of Team Mueller is Kyle Freeny. GOP apologists for the White House may fume that Freeny donated something near a grand total of $750 to Democratic candidates since 2008, but her expertise is — money laundering — the kind wherein nefarious types move money out of one country and try to “launder” it in what appear to be legitimate investments. There are other members of Team Mueller, and one who is fluent in Russian. The point of all this is that coverage on cable news, no matter how extensive these days is not even the tip of a possible iceberg.
So, instead of becoming breathlessly enthralled by news coverage about a possible “wind up” of the Obstruction of Justice probe — leaving us to believe we might miss The Big Moment if we change channels — it’s good to have a periodic reminder of the types of investigators working on Team Mueller and their areas of expertise.
We know AG Jeff Sessions has been interrogated by Team Mueller. We don’t know how many forensic accountants are pouring over Deutsche Bank records. We don’t know who has been asking questions of whom concerning bank loans, condominium sales, and other financial transactions of interest. We don’t know if someone is carefully examining the records released in the Panama Papers.
Team Mueller doesn’t leak like the White House Sieve. So, we don’t know how many e-mails and other items of correspondence the Russian expert is translating and analyzing, and we don’t know to whom she has spoken and for what purpose.
We don’t know who is talking to whom about real estate or other transactions including the Chinese, the Russians, the Russian oligarchs, and assorted other characters. We don’t know who is talking to whom about loans, forgiven, repaid, or otherwise. We don’t know who has been missed talking to a Grand Jury because the press on stake out haven’t a clue who the person might be. This would probably be sufficient to fill up two more television screens.
Indeed, if we were to have coverage of all the people associated with all the angles in this investigation we should buy out the monitor inventory of the local Best Buy? Install wall to wall, floor to ceiling, flat screens… and we’d still miss something. What the press can give us are only bits and pieces of a larger, much more complex picture. it would be a good thing to recall this isn’t a sporting event with a clock, or a game with a set number of innings to play; it isn’t a 40 minute script for a television show or even a multi-episode series. It’s an investigation of the hodgepodge farrago which is the Trump brand of business and governance entanglements. It isn’t going to be over at the end of a tidy episode. It may not be completely over after a season.
The total investigation won’t be over until Team Mueller has completed investigations of money laundering, bribery, cyber-security transgressions, illegally established accounts, equally illegal withdrawals and payments for equally illegal purposes, and all the other facets of the mess OOO has made of his financial and political life.
This isn’t an investigation which calls for popcorn unless you’ve planted at least 40 acres of the stuff.