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Friday, May 19, 2017

Mueller's Impact May Be Restricted

Conservative Tom Says:

The more the White House tries to stop the investigation , the more guilty they look.  They are going to make our prediction accurate which is that Trump will be indicted, convicted and forced to resign unless they change tactics. Will they be smart enough?

Conservative Tom

White House looking at ethics rule to

 weaken special investigation: sources


By Julia Edwards Ainsley | WASHINGTON
The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule
 to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President
Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White
 House thinking said on Friday.
Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's hiring of former
 FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation
 "hurts our country terribly."
Within hours of Mueller's appointment on Wednesday, the White House
 began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired
 government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year
after their hiring, the sources said.
An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.
Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared
 Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the
 president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a
 federal investigation.
Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department,
which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly
 at his former law firm.
If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from
investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope
of the probe, experts said.
The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller's background as well as
 any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur
Flores.
Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would
 consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller's ability to do
 his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked
 to determine if there is a basis for this.
Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue
in press conferences and public statements.
Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule
to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to
 prosecution.
FOCUS ON CASTING A CLOUD OVER MUELLER
But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his
reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the
 condition of anonymity.
Kathleen Clark, a professor of legal ethics at Washington University
School of Law, said the Justice Department can grant a waiver if concerns
 about bias are minimal.
She said subjects of the investigation could later argue
 that its results cannot be trusted, but she believes the
 argument would not stand up in court.
The White House did not respond to a request for
comment on whether it is reviewing the ethics rule in
 order to undermine Mueller's credibility.
Mueller's former colleagues at WilmerHale, Jame
s Quarles and Aaron Zebley, are expected to join
 his investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the law firm. Neither
 Quarles nor Zebley represented Kushner or Manafort.
Mueller will now lead the ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation probe
 into Trump's associates and senior Russian officials.
Unlike Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed by a three-judge
panel to investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton's real estate holdings in the 1990s,
 Mueller depends on the Justice Department for funding and he reports to
 Rosenstein, who was appointed by Trump.
When he announced Mueller's appointment this week, Rosenstein said Mueller
 will have "all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete
 investigation."
(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley, additional reporting by Gina Chon in
Washington and Jan Wolfe in New York; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and
 Cynthia Osterman)