It is not unusual for a presidential transition team to begin reaching out to foreign governments and their representatives. That is, in fact, PART of the transition process – to prepare our allies and even our not-so-allies for the fact that there’s about to be a new sheriff in town. This isn’t something that started with Donald Trump and it isn’t something that was opposed by the Obama administration. In fact, even before Trump was sworn into office, a State Department spokesman confirmed that there was nothing “inappropriate about contact between members of the incoming administration and foreign officials.”
Well isn’t that interesting!
But of course, Gen. Michael Flynn is not being charged with the non-crime of reaching out to Moscow officials during the transition; he’s being charged with lying to the FBI about those conversations. Now why Flynn thought it would be a good idea to lie to the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence about his talks with the Russian ambassador, we will never understand. But it cost him his job as National Security Adviser, and now it may cost him a piece of his freedom as well. What it will NOT do, however, is give Robert Mueller any opening with which to bring down the President of the United States.
In fact, this debacle makes us more certain than ever that Mueller needs to go. His is an investigation in search of a crime, and it is making up those crimes as the investigation proceeds. So far, nothing he has uncovered, proven, or indicted anyone over has the slightest thing to do with whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election. It has even LESS to do with the central question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in those efforts. Instead, we see charges of lying to the FBI and charges related to some shady Ukraine business dealings stretching back to a time when Paul Manafort had likely never even met Donald Trump.
Dig deep enough, question enough people, and set enough traps, and you can find crimes with which to charge people. And with an enormous fund of taxpayer money sitting at his disposal – to say nothing of his access to the full resources of the FBI – Mueller will have no trouble trumping up charges for everyone in Trump’s orbit if that’s what he sets out to do. It will all make for some terrific left-wing headlines. It will give Democrats plenty of stuff to crow about on camera. But it doesn’t have anything to do with justice. It doesn’t have anything to do with protecting the integrity of our elections.
At some point, enough is enough. And if this investigation is simply a search for process crimes with which Mueller can charge everyone from Flynn to Manafort to the Trump transition team coffee boy, then we’ve already reached that point. Time to bring it home or shut it down.