Why the Justice Department Kept This Mueller Scope Memo a Secret

Now that the Justice Department belatedly has admitted that the entire investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was a sham, it is time to turn to the bigger picture.

On August 2, 2017, acting attorney general (for all matters involving the Trump-Russia collusion hoax) Rod Rosenstein signed a memorandum expanding the jurisdiction of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Almost a year after Mueller released his report, the expanded jurisdiction memorandum remained a secret until Wednesday. A third jurisdiction memorandum remains secret.

It is unclear why the Department of Justice says it kept this memo secret until now or why it continues to keep the third memo secret to this day. But the real reasons are obvious: When one compares the matters Rosenstein told Mueller to investigate with what was already known at the time, we can easily deduce that the questions being “investigated,” were already answered by available evidence.

The Mueller “investigation” was never intended to discover new evidence. It had two, largely successful, objectives: To delay accountability for the effort to derail the peaceful transfer of power to the duly-elected president, and to continue that interference as long as possible. As I wrote here, it was obvious as early as 2018 that the Justice Department had turned the Russian collusion investigation into a “puzzle designed never to be solved.”

Rosenstein used the secrecy of the sham investigation to blunt and parry legitimate oversight from the House until after January 2019 when House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), could use his gavel to end all House inquiries into the hoax.

Let’s review key figures cited in Rosenstein’s second “scope” memo authorizing Mueller’s expansive probe.

Carter Page

Rosenstein authorized Mueller to look into whether “Carter Page committed a crime or crimes by colluding with the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.”

By August 2, 2017, the FBI already had the answer to that question: No.

As the Justice Department’s inspector general recently wrote, in June of 2017, FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith altered an email from the CIA to hide the fact that Page was a trusted source for the CIA. The CIA so trusted Page that it shared sensitive information to increase his value as a source. Clinesmith’s actions so gravely undermined the FISA warrant process that the FISC ordered a review of all of his cases to see if he tampered with other evidence.

Page had already been subject to 10 months of FISA-authorized surveillance at the time Rosenstein asked Mueller to investigate him, so why did the investigation need to be transitioned to a special counsel? Page knew he was being monitored by the FBI because of leaks that were actively smearing him in the press.

The Justice Department’s “Oops, we made a mistake!” will not be enough to square accounts.

So in September 2016, Page wrote an open letter to James Comey offering to sit for an FBI interview to clear-up any suspicions about his relationship with Russia. In October 2016 Comey, ignoring the interview request, falsely certified to the FISA court that spying on Page was the least-intrusive method for gathering information.

As the Justice Department inspector general’s report noted, “the Crossfire Hurricane team was unable to corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations regarding Carter Page contained in Steele’s election reporting which the FBI relied on in the FISA applications.”

As of September 2017, virtually all of the allegations used to justify spying on Page remained uncorroborated or were contradicted by the evidence gathered by the FBI. Thus, Rosenstein’s August 2017 relaunching the investigation under Mueller was an act of bad faith.

George Papadopolous

By August 2017, the FBI also knew that George Papadopolous was not colluding with the Russians. The FBI ran multiple spies (confidential human sources) against Papadopolous to aggressively tempt him into agreeing that the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians.

One of these encounters included a gorgeous female agent who implicitly offered sex in exchange for Papodopolous admitting to colluding with the Russians. According to the inspector general’s report, the FBI failed to disclose to the FISA court that by October 2016, these efforts confirmed Papadopolous’s innocence. Knowing this, the notorious Kevin Clinesmith attempted to tamper with Papadopolous’s memory during marathon interviews in July of 2017.

As I previously wrote,

In a later exchange, Papadopoulos is subjected to another round of questioning that becomes so repetitive and suggestive that Papadopoulos asks, ‘I don’t know if you are trying to implant a memory in my mind, or what. But I cannot sit here and tell you I told [the Trump campaign] about emails when I don’t have a memory of doing that.’

That didn’t stop the Mueller team. They continued for seven hours, suggesting Papadopoulos had indeed told the Trump campaign about the hacked email rumor that Mifsud fed to him.

‘Unfortunately,’ Papadopoulos writes, ‘the truth was not what they wanted to hear. No matter how much Robert Mueller and his team of FBI agents and prosecutors wished I had told the campaign members about Mifsud’s claim, I hadn’t.’

Keep in mind, the FBI arrested Papadopoulos a month before—yes before—Rosenstein expanded Mueller’s jurisdiction to investigate Papadopolous. By then, the legitimacy of any “investigation” had already collapsed.

Michael Flynn

By the time Rosenstein assigned Mueller to investigate Michael Flynn, the case involving President Trump’s former national security adviser was approaching its conclusion.

Flynn began negotiations with prosecutors in March 2017, before Mueller was even appointed. He pleaded guilty just a few months after Rosenstein authorized Mueller to begin investigating him. There are myriad problems with the Flynn investigation and prosecution that were known even before Mueller entered the picture.

Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate Flynn for talking with the Russian ambassador in 2016. That investigation was already complete months before August 2017, as the FBI already had audio recordings of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations and had already conducted its interrogation of Flynn on the recordings in January 2017.

The Flynn-Kislyak conversations were completely legal and consistent with a duly elected president transitioning to assume his diplomatic responsibilities. Ultimately, the Justice Department dismissed its case this week because the FBI could not show that it interviewed Flynn for any other purpose than to trap him in a lie. Like Papadopolous, the Mueller team allegedly tried to tamper with Flynn’s testimony to get him to lie and help bring down another defendant.

In contrast to the swiftness with which the FBI and Justice Department pursued its prey in the Mueller/Russia collusion hoax, the push for the accountability of such apparent villains as James Comey, Kevin Clinesmith, Bruce Ohr, and Andrew McCabe seems to be moving at a glacial pace. Flynn sold his house and lost his job because of the FBI skullduggery.

The Justice Department’s “Oops, we made a mistake!” will not be enough to square accounts.

One clue as to why it’s taking so long to bring the hoax conspirators to justice might be that FBI counsel, Dana Boente, whose name appears dozens of times in the Justice Department’s inspector general’s report into the Carter Page FISA fraud, was deeply involved in the hoax. He is still general counsel for the FBI.

It’s too late to protect the reputation of the Justice Department or FBI by hiding evidence and foot-dragging justice. Either the FBI and Department of Justice apply the law to their own people, or they will never again regain moral legitimacy.

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About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

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