The Transylvania Times -

Investigations Take Time

 

May 14, 2018



Last Thursday, May 10, Vice President Mike Pence implied that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian tampering in the U.S. elections has run its course, stating, “I think it’s time to wrap it up.”

There are dozens of speculations as to why Pence might believe the investigation has run its course, such as either President Donald Trump or maybe Pence or both have something to hide. But to claim that this investigation has dragged on long enough is hypocritical and ignores the length of time for required for in-depth investigations.

In January of 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske Jr. as an independent counsel to investigate President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and their business associates James and Susan McDougal regarding financial irregularities of the Whitewater Company. In August of 1994, Kenneth Starr, a Republican, replaced Fiske. The appointment of Starr occurred more than a year before Monica Lewinsky joined the White House as an unpaid intern in July 1995. The investigation of the Whitewater Company ended with the trial and conviction of the McDougals. However, the Lewinsky investigation, a late offshoot of the Whitewater investigation, did not wrap up until September 1998, more than four years after the designation of a special counsel.

The multiple investigations into the attack in Benghazi also lasted roughly four years. The attack occurred on Sept. 11, 2012. Two days later the FBI opened its investigation of the event and a month later the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had begun its own investigation. The final committee to investigate the matter, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, investigated the matter for more than two years, producing its final report in June 2016.

Both of the aforementioned counsel and committees were headed by Republicans who were investigating Democrats. In the case of the current Russia investigation, it is Republicans who are leading the investigation. And both of the previous investigations were relatively limited in scope. The Whitewater Company investigation, which transformed into the Lewinsky investigation, basically involved four people, with President Clinton the center of the focus. The Benghazi event involved one diplomatic/military event, with Hillary Clinton the center of focus.

In comparison, the Russian investigation is wide-ranging. By spring of this year, Mueller’s team had filed indictments against or received plea deals from: George Papadopoulus, a former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor; Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor; Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman; Rick Gates, former Trump campaign aide and business partner of Manafort’s; three Russian companies and 13 Russian nationals; Richard Pinedo, who pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge in connection with the Russians; and Alex van der Zwaan, a London attorney who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates. There may be others whose names have not yet been released.

In addition, the investigation almost assuredly has also led to information about the use of Facebook and social media, as well as the attempted hacking of voting equipment. That’s all within the scope of Russians interfering with our elections. It does not include offshoot investigations, such as that of Michal Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, which has been delegated to federal prosecutors of the Southern District of New York.

It takes a tremendous amount of time to review all of the necessary documents, conduct interviews, compare notes, discuss strategy and prepare the paperwork to move forward. Pence himself inadvertently acknowledged that last week when he said the White House had given Mueller “more than a million documents.”

Investigations take a long time. Locally, the investigation of a person with the county’s Transportation Department regarding possible misuse of funds will have reached a year this June. That’s just an investigation of apparently one person.

Given the two four-year investigations of the Clintons, which were much smaller in scope, politicians and the American people should be willing to give Mueller a few more years to finish his work.

As Sen. Lindsey Graham (Rep. – S.C.) said, “I’m sure Mr. Mueller will wrap it up when it gets time to wrap it up.”

 
 

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