A Storm is About to Hit the Nation’s Capital, but Which Way is it Blowing?
“Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, Even a whirling tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked.” (Jeremiah 23:19)
The Storm is coming. A whirling political tempest the likes of which Washington, D.C. has never seen. Or so the skies and barometer are suggesting.
In the past few days some 33 sealed indictments have been filed with the same D.C federal court handling the indictments of Paul Manafort and two others. Unusual? According to Hot Air, before October 29, only 60 of the 188 criminal cases filed with the court this year were sealed.
To have 33 sealed in a matter of days is astonishing. When there were even only a handful of sealed indictments, speculation soared. More Trump gooses were going to be cooked. George Padapoulos, the speculation went, had worn a wire and Special Counsel Robert Mueller had captured a handful of Trump aides on obstruction. Or perhaps the indictments involve Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. NBC News reported this week Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn, who was briefly Trump’s National Security Advisor.
Then the number of sealed indictments kept rising and rising.
Democrats can salivate over the possibility this spells Trump’s pending doom. Should they be? The Storm is heading straight for the White House. Or is it?
Trump Tower or Foggy Bottom?
Special Counsel Mueller’s effort is billed as an investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. But that’s not what Paul Manafort’s indictment is about. The indictment concerns money laundering and foreign influence peddling in the Swamp.
Does that fact push the Storm toward Trump Tower or Foggy Bottom? (Hillary’s old stomping grounds at the State Department.)
Keep in mind Mueller was the FBI director when Russia’s bribery, kickback, extortion, blackmail scheme to grab US uranium was uncovered. Democrats insist Mueller is above reproach. Okay then. What if the honorable Mueller wasn’t too happy to see the Obama DOJ kick the Russian bribery scheme under the rug? What if the former Marine saw the Uranium One deal and saw red?
If he’s dusting off that file, which he must if his focus is Russian influence on American policy and politics, which way does the Storm blow? Toward the woman whom Russia wanted to influence by pouring $145 million into her Foundation? Toward the woman whose husband pocketed $500,000 speaking fees from the bank pushing the Uranium One deal? Or does it blow towards the guy who at the time was sparing in prime time with Dennis Rodman?
Remember Tony Podesta. He’s the Clinton bundler, brother of her campaign manager, and co-founder of the lobbying group tight with the Clinton Foundation. He stepped down from The Podesta Group because of the Mueller investigation. It’s this Podesta Group, not some real estate partner of Trump’s, that pocketed at least $180,000 to lobby for the Uranium One deal. (And did not file as foreign agents in the process.)
By the way, Podesta’s hand-picked successor Kimberly Fritts announced yesterday she’s leaving to start her own firm, and taking clients and some staff with her. Sometimes you ride out the bad weather. Sometimes you evacuate as soon as possible. (Or is it because the Podesta name doesn’t carry weight around town since Hillary lost? Just like Clinton Global Initiative foreign donations plummeted after the election.)
Further, what’s the allegation against Lt. Gen. Flynn? It’s not the election or Trump. The issue is foreign influence peddling in the Swamp. NBC News reports this morning Mueller is focusing on whether Flynn made a secret deal to represent Turkey’s interests in the White House.
One more flag to put in the wind: Just a day before being named Special Counsel, Robert Mueller was meeting with White House officials. He’d been meeting in previous days with DOJ officials. We were told Mueller was interviewing to replace James Comey as FBI director. Except, Robert Mueller could not be named FBI director again. He had served his ten year term, was given a special extension by Congress. And as NPR reported, “That law stated that lawmakers had made a one-time exception and made it clear that Mueller ‘may not serve as Director after September 4, 2013.'” Perhaps FBI director wasn’t the job the President had in mind for Mueller.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Whiff of Corruption
In addition to the 33 sealed indictments filed in DC in recent days there is word another 50 have been filed in Virginia.
What’s Virginia have to do with anything? Maybe nothing. Maybe prosecutors are just in a hurry to get their paperwork in before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Then again, if I’m Governor Terry McAuliffe, longtime Clinton operator, am I anxious this morning?
- I put $700K in the hands of the guy leading the Hillary email investigation via his wife.
- FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe did not report his wife’s lucrative connection to McAuliffe.
- It’s just come out the FBI’s original draft in the Hillary email investigation accused her of “gross negligence,” the exact wording of the criminal statute. However, someone (Comey? McCabe? Both?) changed the wording to the more benign “extreme carelessness.”
- And then Comey and McCabe turned around and let Hillary skate.
When there’s a prosecutor examining Clinton-connected money laundering and influence peddling and you’ve been knee deep in it for decades, you’d be a little nervous.
“But Al, you were talking about foreign money influencing American politics!” Good point. McAuliffe was under investigation last year by the Department of Justice over $120,000 in donations to his gubernatorial campaign from a Chinese businessman named Weng Wialang. CNN reported the investigation was also poking around McAullife’s work with the Clinton Global Initiative.
And what of this guy Weng? He gave $2 million around the same time to the Clinton Foundation. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Weng’s company website puts the donation as high as $5 million, all while hiring lobbyists to plug their interests in DC. He’s also hung out with Hillary herself. The Daily Mail shows him attending at least one fundraiser at Hillary’s home.
Why would a Chinese billionaire be at Hillary’s house for a campaign fund-raiser? Had to be the wine and cheese.
FBI Field Offices
Go back a year to October 2016. The Wall Street Journal reported that FBI field offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Little Rock and Miami were investigating the Clinton Foundation over allegations of pay-to-play financial and political corruption.
What’s curious today about those five cities? Since we’re talking sealed indictments, an internet sleuth claims to have uncovered this little gem:
I found another 141 Sealed Indictments from 11/2 thru 11/9
NY Southern: 36
AK Eastern (Little Rock): 7
FL Southern (Miami): 6
CA Central (LA): 93
FBI was said to be investigating the Clinton Foundation from these offices last year.
— StormWatcher ™🌪 🐇 🇺🇸 ✝ (@damartin32) November 9, 2017
Perhaps it’s coincidence all five are tossing up sealed indictments like holiday decorations.
What’s It Mean?
One thing you learn growing up in the Washington, DC area: Storm forecasts this time of year are rarely right. Weathermen would proclaim a storm was coming, schools were likely to close, and you’d wake up to a sunny day. The storm had formed elsewhere or was pushed out to sea. Other times, when the forecasters would say “no worries,” we’d get buried in two feet of snow. It is a fool’s errant in the Nation’s Capital to strut confidently about the path of any storm.
For months, the media and Capitol Hill Democrats have told us that the investigations into Russia were going to slam Trump. Mueller was going to lay waste to the President and his team like Harvey did the Texas Gulf Coast.
Could be. We don’t know.
But here’s what we do know:
The Storm has been slowly building. In recent days it has rapidly, dramatically, increased in intensity. It’s starting to look like a Cat 5. It could uproot and flatten the Washington political landscape. However, with each passing day and revelation, it doesn’t seem on course to hit where forecasters projected.
Move slowly, carefully — and then strike like the fastest animal on the planet!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2013
UPDATE: Seems the Storm has already left one missing. According to CNN, the Russia-connected professor that was interacting with George Padapolous has up and disappeared. Joseph Misfud vanished from the University of Rome, where he teaches, last Thursday. Misfud drew in Padapolous by claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton.
CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story contained a typo in the name of Kimberly Fritts, and mistakenly named the missing professor as George Misfud. We apologize for the errors.