A curious report from Bloomberg and Zero Hedge that was then picked up by Rush Limbaugh puts special counsel Robert Mueller in an uncomfortable light — one, in fact, that shifts investigative eyes his way and suggests his team may have improperly indicted a Russian company during his quest to tie President Donald Trump to collusion.
Well, this is a twist in the Russian investigation the left wasn’t exactly expecting, isn’t it?
The title from Zero Hedge says it all: “Judge Orders Mueller To Prove Russian Company Meddled In Election.”
Bloomberg reported similarly — “Mueller Ordered to Clarify Claims Against Putin Ally’s Company.”
Both stories tell how a federal judge in Washington, Dabney Friedrich, ordered Mueller’s team to explain just what reasons led to the indictment for election meddling tossed at Concord Management and Consulting LLC, a company operated by Vladimir Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin. The company, indicted in February — at a time when Muellernamed two other Russian businesses and 13 individuals as all tied to election meddling — has denied the accusations.
More to point, they’re calling them bogus — completely fabricated. They’re saying, as Bloomberg noted, ”Mueller’s office concocted a crime and that there’s no law against interfering in elections.”
Concord company legal officials showed up at a hearing on the charges in April to contest the indictment — an appearance that apparently took Team Mueller completely by surprise. Prosecutors for Mueller tried to keep out Concord officials from the hearing, telling the judge the company hadn’t been properly served. But the judge overruled and said, in essence, let them in, they’re here now.
And this is where it gets really interesting.
“On Thursday,” Zero Hedge wrote, “Judge Friedrich asked Mueller’s prosecutors if she should assume they aren’t accusing Concord of violating US laws applicable to election expenditures and failure to register as a foreign agent. Concord has asked [Friedrich] to throw out the charges — claiming that Mueller’s office fabricated a crime, and that there is no law against interfering in elections.”
Then came this: “On Monday, Friedrich raised questions over whether the special counsel’s office could prove a key element of their case,” Zero Hedge wrote.
What was that key element?
Whether prosecutors would be able to show that the Russian officials knew they were breaking U.S. law — Justice Department and Federal Election Commission law — by meddling in the 2016 election.
As Limbaugh described on his recent radio broadcast: Talk about a red-face moment for Team Mueller.
“See, the Russian[s] … were not supposed to show up” to these hearings, Limbaugh said. “These were Mueller P.R. [public relations] indictments in order to convince people that the Russians did infiltrate and somehow meddle in the election. … [And now] the judge in the case has ordered Mueller to prove that this Russian company meddled in the election or she’s going to throw it out.”
Another twist, another turn.
Limbaugh concluded: “There is no crime, and these people want this case thrown out because Mueller made up a crime that doesn’t exist, thinking they would get away with it because these Russians would never show up. But they have, and so now the judge is essentially ordering Mueller’s lawyers to prove that this outfit did what Mueller says they did and Mueller can’t, because he made up a crime.”
Meanwhile, back on the ranch: How about that whole Trump-Russia collusion thing — the reason for Mueller’s special counsel being in the first place?
Two years, untold hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars later, and still nothing tying Team Trump to Russia collusion. What a sinking ship that’s turned out to be. There’s really nothing else to say.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.