It’s been a rough week for former allies of President Trump, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller scrapping the plea agreement with former campaign chairman over allegations of lying and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleading guilty once again to lying under oath – this time to congressional investigators about Trump’s business dealings in Russia.
And while Trump critics lick their chops in hopes of bringing him down and the president’s defenders point out there is still no one in Trump’s orbit accused of malfeasance in the 2016 campaign, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says Mueller is not letting the lack of a crime slow him down.
“What Mueller is trying to do here is build a collusion case without a crime,” said McCarthy, who is also a contributing editor at National Review Online and a Fox News contributor. He led the successful prosecution of those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist plots against New York City landmarks.
But McCarthy says Mueller sure makes it seem like there was underlying criminal behavior.
“Despite the fact he doesn’t have a crime that would turn that into a criminal conspiracy, he’s camouflaging that with a bunch of false statements pleas that he has taken from people in Trump’s orbit and also the fact that he has these two indictments against Russians,” said McCarthy.
“So the Press reports that Mueller is investigating collusion between Russia and Trump and many people have pleaded guilty in the investigation. And they leave out the inconvenient fact that the guilty pleas of the Trump associates have nothing to do with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the indictments of the Russians have nothing to do with the Trump campaign,” said McCarthy.
But McCarthy also points out that despite not having an underlying crime, Mueller has unearthed deception from former Trump associates, including Michael Cohen’s admission that he lied about talks between Trump’s people and the Russians about a Trump Tower in Moscow cut off in January 2016 as he entered the primary season when those talks went until June, by which time Trump had already clinched the nomination.
McCarthy says Mueller can now use statements like that to discredit public statements Trump has made to the contrary. He also finds it interesting that Trump cut off talks with Russians about the real estate project just days after the Russians promised but failed to hand over damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Listen to the full podcast as McCarthy explains how rare it is to withdraw a plea agreement but also how Manafort is in a very unusual position. He also details the “perversity” of the special counsel position that allows those prosecutors to keep hunting for targets even when there is no underlying crime.
“Mueller has been allowed to essentially cast his line wherever he chooses to and fish around for a crime until he finds one,” said McCarthy.