What was in Mueller's redacted mandate?

Remember, Mueller was originally given the mandate to continue the FBI's existing counterintelligence investigation into Russian collusion -- effectively, investigating Trump and everyone around him during the campaign. He was also given a secret mandate later on. What that second mandate covers is an interesting question.

There are, I think, two possibilities. It could be either or both.

One possibility is obstruction of justice. This would have to be kept secret from Trump because Trump would be the target of the investigation at that point. It might include other administration figures (AG Sessions for example). There are significant questions as to whether such an investigation against the president is legal, but the existence of an investigation is hard for a judge to oversee.

The other possibility is that Rosenstein told Mueller to investigation the allegations in the dossier and prove or disprove them if he could do so. This is sort of implied by the first part of Mueller authority (the part we know about), but may have been made more explicit in the second. This would be redacted because it would be embarrassing as all hell for the FBI to admit to, given the origins of the dossier, but has the significant advantage of providing political cover for the FBI if he succeeds. They can say "Look, we were right to use the dossier, Mueller proved it true," even if Mueller found no actual collusion.

So if Mueller can make people in the dossier appear dirty enough, people might overlook the fact that they started an investigation on unverified and false information. And that's pretty much exactly what Mueller has been busy doing. He went after Cohen and Manafort, both figures from the dossier, and he dirtied them up with stuff they did not related to Trump (plus that campaign-finance thing that's BS).

So what happened is pretty clear. Mueller started the investigation into collusion and determined fairly enough on -- certainly no later than when he had to fire Strzok and Page -- that there was no there there. Even those two knew there was nothing to the collusion narrative from the beginning, as did the rest of the original DOJ/FBI team that transferred to Mueller. As soon as he found that out, he went to Rosenstein and said "Look, we have a problem. This was fake all along. Your guys knew it, I know it, now you know it. I can't cover for you with nothing. You've got to give me more." So Rosenstein added the extra redacted things to Mueller's mandate -- either obstruction, to threaten Trump with, or investigating the people in the dossier more broadly to provide political cover for the FBI looking into them inappropriately, or both.

And now, as Obama's favorite preacher Jeremiah Wright once said, the FBI's chickens... have come home... to ROOST!

This entry was published Thu Mar 28 06:47:20 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2019-03-28 06:47:20.0. [Tweet]

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