By John L Guerra
Editor, GRC & Fraud Software Journal
President Donald Trump, if he does have something to hide, won’t have anywhere to hide it for long.
That’s the hope of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel charged with untying the rat’s nest surrounding the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
As former FBI Director James Comey testified on Capitol Hill June 8, Mueller continued to cement a veteran team of investigators he hopes can solve perhaps the worst political scandal in American history.
Russians’ cyber espionage
U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Russian agents hacked Democratic National Committee servers, released DNC emails to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and ran other interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
Many fraud investigators consider Trump’s recent statements and actions regarding the Russia investigation as suspicious.
Trump has laughed off the idea that the Russians did anything wrong and has run interference against the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s Russia connections. Trump even told a TV interviewer that he fired Comey for investigating his campaign.
If the other prosecutors Mueller has gathered to his team are an indication, Mueller will take a global view of the possibilities. His team includes a veteran New York organized crime investigator, an assistant Watergate prosecutor, and others skilled in building cases involving money laundering, international banking fraud and crimes under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
A national security investigation
Mueller will weigh all he finds against the backdrop of national security.
According to Politico.com:
“Mueller brings a wealth of national security experience from his time leading the FBI in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” Politico says. “Veteran prosecutors say he has assembled a potent team whose members have backgrounds handling cases involving politicians, mobsters and others — and who know how to work potential witnesses if it helps them land bigger fish.”
The big players
Among Mueller’s prosecution team are three former colleagues from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr law firm:
- Aaron Zebley, Mueller’s former FBI chief of staff
- Jeannie Rhee, a former Department of Justice attorney
- James Quarles, who four decades ago served as an assistant Watergate prosecutor
- Andrew Weissmann, a fraud and foreign bribery expert. Weissmann’s prosecution record includes overseeing much of the Enron Task Force and prosecuting 25 cases involving the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino New York crime families.
Mueller is likely to tap experts from the Treasury Department money laundering experts and IRS agents who untangle complicated tax returns.
- And as many FBI agents – gumshoes – as he needs.
Continuing with other probes
Mueller’s team will pick up the investigation of Michael Flynn, the retired general and former White House national security adviser, and take on Paul Manafort, who was once Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort has a long history working with the Russians in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
Mueller and his new staff have spent their first weeks reviewing what’s been accomplished over the past year by the FBI, Justice Department and the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va.
By the way, one key source of investigative information for Mueller: Thousands of Trump’s Tweets, dating back years. Mueller believes the Tweets reveal possible Trump motives and thinking.
This could be one for the fraud history books.