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​Bob Mueller - Too Late To Stop Now?

Is this how the swamp gets drained? Manafort and his associate Rick Gates - the latter with a public defender defending him - are out on bail after posting a $10 million and a $5 million bond. No prizes for guessing whose bail bond was bigger. His initials are P. M. And among the dozen or so charges laid against them, there apparently is no mention of President Trump. The charges against Manafort and Gates are mainly about evading taxes on income from their activities as unregistered foreign agents on behalf of Ukraine. And this mostly during the years 2006 - 2007. Shady stuff but stuff that happened before Trump even announced his candidacy. Of course, that raises questions about Manafort being picked to head Trump’s campaign.

But a swamp doesn't exist merely on one side of the aisle. Water flows to the lowest point in the valley and is not bothered by which party any given beltway operator/lobbyist might be associated with. So it is of more than just passing interest that none other than Tony Podesta resigned today from the very lobbying group he founded, The Podesta Group. And Tony would be none other than John Podesta's brother, Hillary's former campaign head.

Robert Mueller himself is a long-time swamp denizen, having been part of Obama's DOJ as FBI head during Obama's first and into his second term. He has been involved in many of the collateral - or perhaps central - events related to the Russia probes. But Mueller holds the heavy ammo right now as special counsel and it appears he may be a blight on K Street. It is worth noting that both Manafort and the Podesta Group were associated with and worked together on a publicity campaign for the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, itself a front for the pro-Russian Ukrainian Party of Regions. Apparently another lobbyist group, Mercury LLC - which has former Representatives Vim Weber R-Minn and Matt Sandlin D-Texas - is also being investigated.

Ah, but the Podesta Group seem to be just a touch more stealthy about explaining what they do when their crocodile eyes slip below the surface. Here's what the Podesta Group released to the press, stating that the firm is:

cooperating fully with the special counsel's office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance.

Now that's swamp talk. Never mind that the work by the Podesta Group was done in 2012 and that they only bothered to register under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) this past April. No matter. And none of this "it's a witch hunt and I'm not guilty" clumsiness that Paul Manafort has displayed. And as far as we know, the Podesta Group have not yet been found to have engaged in any suspicious money transfers that tend to be associated with money laundering, as has been the case with Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. It remains to be seen, of course, what Mueller's team finds in the case of Podesta's lobbying group. Perhaps Manafort thought that because he was in bed with the Podesta Group on the Ukraine account, he would be spared. Sorry, that's not necessarily how Washington works.

Will Mueller end up taking a closer look at the Uranium One deal? Will the special counsel's office examine the Obama DOJ's behavior right through the 2016 elections? Will there be a tense relationship with the various Congressional committees that are now looking into that deal done under Clinton's watch at State, and of course, under Obama's presidency?

Once again, one also has to ask how Manafort got vetted by Trump's campaign and how he managed to end up running the campaign, if only for a couple of months. But that question will have to take its place alongside a host of other questions that now must be asked, and hopefully will be asked by the special counsel's team.

It may be that both sides of the aisle will soon want to fire Bob Mueller. But is it too late for that?

Posted by AllardK at October 31, 2017 2:28 PM
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