Politics

FBI Fishing Expedition Cast Nets for Anything Trump

The flurry of FBI officials making moves over the past few days reflect just how oddly oiled justice wheels can be sometimes. As a lawman, I know your thrust is based on substantive probable cause components to further an investigation. Was that the case with regard to President Trump’s personal attorney? A KTLA5 report indicated “A source familiar with the matter said the search warrant was very broad in terms of items sought, and another source said the search included bank records.” Still other reports’ sources claim FBI agents were seeking anything with the name “Trump” on it.

Does that sound like well qualified, clearly defined bases to search the digs of a persona who happens to be an associate of a target? What about attorney-client privilege aspects? The individual upon whom the warrant was served, Michael Cohen, is President Trump’s personal attorney thus making much if not all content between the two safeguarded by law. Except for, according to Brookings.edu, the  clause which states attorney-client privilege is negated when the specter of “crime-fraud” is under the criminal investigation lens. Yet, doesn’t that latter principle sound rather definitive? To go that route, the feds either have something on Mr. Cohen (Trump)…or they wish for us to believe they do. Cat-and-mouse chess with the US presidency? Perhaps.

On Monday, April 9, 2018 Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein unloosed FBI agents with his blessing (authority) effectively enabling a “raid” on the home, office and hotel room of Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney. It had been a tight-lipped excursion…and details are slowly spilling out, albeit by extension of clandestine mugs.

Reportedly, FBI agents sought materials related to so-called infamous “Access Hollywood” footage (irony with all this hoopla and mystique) as well as any information pertaining to two women whose allegations include “an affair” with President Trump (well before his presidential candidacy) in which hush money was allegedly paid. It is believed this search warrant service has bearing on the furtherance of the Mueller investigation and Russia, as in Let’s go in under the guise of affair-related payments while actually hoping for stuff to inflate our Russia-palooza. 

Try connecting those dots! Or maybe arrive at the logical conclusion that cage-rattling was the impetus behind the raid.

Talk about a smack on the lip service and how it gets meted-out. A few nights before the FBI raid, I watched a Fox News segment in which host Judge Jeanine Pirro interviewed Congressman Mark Meadows (R—NC) on her “Justice” show. Rep. Meadows candidly revealed the House is fatigued from asking the FBI and the Justice Department for documents to conduct its own investigation. More than alluded-to was Congressman Devin Nunes (R—CA) and Congressman Trey Gowdy (R—SC) et al. preparing to serve subpoenas as well as impeachment proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department’s Rod Rosenstein, citing contempt charges for stonewalling Congress. Now that is meaty, especially if they followed the words with bona fide actions.

But it didn’t quite come to that. On April 11, 2018 DoJ officials finally released documents Congress has long asked for from seemingly deaf ears. Despite “mild redactions” the documents which reportedly triggered the entire Russia-gate conspiracy was finally turned over for Congress to analyze. It took threats of arrest to compel what is rightfully due US lawmakers armed with constitutional purvey.

The energy it must take to dodge and swerve and duck members of Capitol Hill epitomizes the level of arrogance that goes with the exertion to pull off the nation’s longest stalling tactics. On one hand it is a comical routine which we have seen for the last few years while on the other hand it also casts shame via the machinations of our federal government. Some gears do not fit because they refuse to work in-tandem, perhaps by intent, all in the name of justice. But whose justice? Are good ole boy attributes still woven-in? Are there nuances of systemic controls feeling threatened by the new norm, President Trump? Swampland need more dredging?

It makes me wonder how consciously displaced, misused, and grossly misguided certain FBI and Justice bigwigs are.

Let’s examine the other side of the same FBI coin. If only FBI agents had this heightened wherewithal, acuity, and fastidiousness pertaining to the threats of violence against school children…we’d have some young lives walking around worrying about girls, boys, and acne instead of parents fretting over burying their offspring.

If only! That’s a witch hunt I can get behind. But no…no such luck, because they are on the prowl elsewhere chasing a sinister unicorn and fantasizing a White House filled with Hillary minions while ending up looking like a pack of paper tigers.

Michael Cohen has been cooperating with the Department of Justice (Mueller) and has been forthcoming with affidavits requested as well as availing himself when summoned for interviews. That being said, why serve a search warrant on a person who is cooperating? The exception is when law enforcement has first-hand account(s) or a basis of suspicion that the target may seek to destroy certain evidence believed to be in his possession or flee the planet with the goods in a tote.

The brazen raid is astounding on one hand while becoming a commonality on the other. Neither is good business nor judicially sound. But, the FBI did indeed acquire a search warrant which means federal agents raised their hands and vowed to a federal judge that they had enough substantive grounds to lawfully (forcefully, if necessary) enter Mr. Cohen’s premises, search for things specified in the warrant, and take possession of same (if found).

The so-called “raid” on Mr. Cohen’s domain leaves the appearance that FBI agents either have some juice or are merely looking to prune any tree in proximity to Mr. Trump and squeeze at-will.

The central figure, President Donald Trump, remains in a position for brow-beaters to take swipe after swipe while he attends the nation’s (and world’s, in many respects) bureaucratic labyrinth with functional fortitude.

The saga continues and I, for one, am astonished at the seemingly galvanized persona and dexterity exuded by the president—his family is also to be commended. Most would have cracked a long time ago, not necessarily from guilt but from sheer exhaustion and dismay of a bastardized process chronically leveling a misplaced bulls-eye. And that latter point emphasizes desperation, not of the president but of authorities stretching the oft-referred witch hint.

Thus far in the Mueller scope of investigating Russian collusion and any tethers to President Trump, zero yield is what the scoreboard reflects.

As I compose this material, I became privy to a MoveOn.org “Civic Action” (petition for funding to fight the Trump administration) via an email from their executives. In the request for donations, MoveOn.org wrote: “Earlier today, the FBI stormed the office of Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen—the same man who paid $130,000 to hush up Stormy Daniels—which led Trump, only moments ago, to make the most direct threat yet to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and shut down the investigation.

“The information leading to this raid sprang from Mueller’s independent investigation into the Trump team’s connection to Russian efforts to interfere with our elections and Trump’s obstruction of justice—a probe that has already yielded multiple guilty pleas, dozens of indictments, and is closing in on Trump’s closest allies.2 But tonight Trump called it a “disgrace” and accused the FBI of “breaking in” to Cohen’s office.

“Trump is fuming. And following his comments tonight, Washington is on heightened alert for him to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s investigation, or Mueller himself [emphasis added by MoveOn.org].”

It continues its self-fanatical impeachment proceeding: “Make no mistake: Firing Rosenstein would constitute a brazen attempt by Trump to obstruct the investigation. It would be akin to Richard Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ during Watergate. If Trump fires Rosenstein—which is looking increasingly likely—he’ll cross a red line—which is why we must prepare NOW to take immediate action.” The tactics and innuendo are pitiful, and throwing in a proven dirty pole from long ago is proof provided by the horse’s mouth. Horse (donkey), not elephant.

All that hyperbolic speech and reference-laden hubris seems desperate in its cry-wolf tone. That is neither new nor critical in context. Although President Trump has seemed rather stretched thin lately, it pales in comparison to the taut fabric weaved by Hillary Clinton. Where is/was the FBI vigor in all of those episodes of intrigue, scandal, obstruction, destruction, fraud and, if we are following the incredulous, bloody trail of bodies, murder?

As the Daily Caller reported, “The FBI raid followed a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller to the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York. Reports indicate the raid focused on possible bank fraud by Cohen.” Seems Mark Pantano is right: This “raid” has Mueller’s name all over it, even if vicariously through Rod Rosenstein’s endorsement of the operation and authority to carry it out. When you repeatedly dig up nothing, you dig some more…until your shovel is just too worn from hitting the earth’s core with zero dividends.

Post-raid of Michael Cohen’s hotel room/office, President Trump once again let his feelings be known regarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Implying federal justice officials under Sessions are running rampant throughout his presidency, Mr. Trump often conveyed to media, “The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he recused himself,” reiterating his dissatisfaction with Sessions for recusing himself from matters relating to the Russia investigation.

Thus, plenty of ear-ringing has been going on with regard to President Trump pink-slipping Mr. Sessions as well as “firing” Robert Mueller. Once again, that draws speculation not only of the power of the US presidency but more-so how it leaves the appearance of guilt. Indeed, it is a double-edged sword. Political and legal analysts bandy-about the wisdom in that notion.

Firing Mueller may get the hungry monkey off the president’s back so that the nation’s business can transpire unimpeded. However, in doing so it leaves the bitter pill on the table. The flip-side is embracing the toll of justice seekers who seem reckless and toe-crushing, amounting to inconsequential results. That makes for an embattled president which defaults to a potential downward spiral of a country exercising upward mobility in varied lanes of post-Obama production.

Or does it merely aid an innocent president while making utter fools of many who simply do not like their nation’s leader? If it is the latter, those justice scales are less blinded and more rusted due to their own dunk in the partially sterilized swamp. Then again, we always knew piranha are feisty critters with unrelenting feeding frenzy.

While we are on the subject matter of FBI forays and expedition nets without integrity, what about the recent Facebook fiasco regarding privacy invasion and publicity of some justice officials harboring a pro-Hillary stance? How does any of this relate to the witch hunt against the Trump administration involving Mueller et al.? Did the recent US Senate interview of Mark Zuckerberg yield anything in that particular area? Is this all part of some anti-Trump alliance?

Well, whatdya know? It has never been a concealed alliance, and it beckons scrutiny not only because of the alliance but because of their habitual nature of…subterfuge. Hillary is off the hook, for now…because room for two is not how most fish hooks are designed, I suppose. This week, members of the Senate ladled the Capitol chambers with chum as Zuckerberg’s sniffer was pushing through the ripples created by his social media wake. Cambridge Analytica much?

Congressional hearings with Zuckerberg in the hot seat had the Facebook birther confirming that Special Counsel Mueller has in fact interviewed several Facebook execs.

Incidentally, what is Michael Cohen’s sentiment on all this FBI farcical netting? He is “not worried.” I wonder what is more tattered: the FBI agents working this caper or the nets they thrust broadly.

To be fair, Mr. Cohen stated he was treated with respect by FBI field agents conducting the search warrant. A few good eggs sheepishly following orders from the Justice fiefdom?

Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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