From the very beginning, Robert Mueller should never have been selected to be the Special Counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the US 2016 elections.
Conflict of Interest.
When Mueller was Director of the FBI, he hushed or buried the original FBI investigation into the Uranium One Deal after the investigation showed that there was evidence of bribery and money laundering involving the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as well as some of the Russians involved.
However, evidence that Mueller buried the report was kept hidden until AFTER he was named Special Counsel. Mueller, knowing that report existed somewhere should have recused himself from the investigation but he didn’t.
However, new allegations of conflict of interest are emerging that could be far more damaging for Mueller than those surrounding the Uranium One Deal.
It’s a rather long and convoluted story that involves a Russian billionaire by the name of Oleg Deripaska and a missing former FBI agent by the name of Robert Levinson.
Levinson was captured in Iran in 2007 while working with the CIA. Under Mueller’s leadership of the FBI in 2009, contact was made with Deripaska, seeking his help in obtaining the release of Levinson. Deripaska had contacts in Iran and since the US doesn’t pay ransom for the release of Americans held as hostages, the FBI asked Deripaska to fund the operation to free Levinson.
Through the course of a couple of years, the FBI, through Deripaska tried to negotiate the release of Levinson. According to Deripaska’s lawyer, he spent $25 million assembling his team to work with contacts in Iran for Levinson’s release.
However, every time the deal for Levinson’s release seemed a go, Hillary Clinton’s State Department messed it up and blocked the efforts to free Levinson, whose family still blames Clinton and the State Department for not getting Robert back. To this day, Levinson is still listed as missing and although once known to still be alive, no one is sure if he is alive or not.
Deripaska has since made numerous visits to the US, usually using a diplomatic passport he secured with the help of Mueller and Comey’s FBI, even though Deripaska is not a diplomat.
So why does this pose a conflict of interest with Mueller current special counsel investigation?
It seems that Deripaska had hired an American businessman to serve as a political adviser and co-investor in a business deal that eventually went bad. Deripaska accused the American businessman, Paul Manafort, of stealing his money.
Manafort became Mueller’s first indicted person in his Russia probe. He was accused of illegal lobbying and money laundering.
Here is where the plot thickens.
In the indictment of Manafort, Mueller doesn’t mention anything about Deripaska, even though the evidence of what Manafort was accused of seems to involve his business dealings with the Russian.
It was also revealed that Manafort had thought about asking Deripaska to a campaign briefing meeting with Donald Trump. However, that meeting never took place and Deripaska was never invited to meet with Trump.
In September 2016, Deripaska was in New York City as part of a Russian delegation to the United Nations. Several FBI agents met with Deripaska at his hotel and according to a report:
“…at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.”
“‘Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,’ the lawyer said. ‘So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.’ The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me.”
Incidentally, when the FBI first began their investigation into the Steele-authored dossier, Deripaska was one of the first people they turned to.
So, what does all of this mean?
First, there is the question of whether or not the FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that one of their past Russian sources had told them the idea of a Russia-Trump collusion was preposterous.
Second, in April of this year, the Trump government imposed stiff sanctions on Deripaska in their effort to punish Putin. The Trump government used some of the same allegations against Deripaska that the Bush administration had used against him in 2006-2008. Yet, between the Bush and Trump administrations’ actions against Deripaska, with the help of Robert Mueller, the FBI sought his help on the attempted rescue of Robert Levinson and on another sensitive political investigation, not to mention that the FBI allowed Deripaska into the country 8 times.
Third and foremost is the conflict of interest with the FBI once accepting the financial help from Deripaska who appears to be a witness in the current Russian probe.
Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor of Law commented:
“The real question becomes whether it was proper to leave [Deripaska] out of the Manafort indictment, and whether that omission was to avoid the kind of transparency that is really required by the law.”
Melanie Sloan, a former Justice Department lawyer under Clinton, believes there is a question of legality of the FBI using Deripaska for the mission to secure Levinson’s release.
If Attorney General Jeff Sessions or members of Congress were doing their jobs, Mueller would be under investigation for his role in hiding the original investigation of the Uranium One Deal, his questionable and possibly illegal use of a Russian citizen as pointed out by Sloan and his obvious conflict of interest involving Oleg Deripaska. Bottom line is Mueller is the one who should be facing prosecution.