Mueller Tasks Adviser With Getting Ahead of Pre-Emptive Pardons

Image: Mueller Tasks Adviser With Getting Ahead of Pre-Emptive Pardons
U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a distinctly modern problem. The president, judging by his tweets, could try to pardon people in his circle even before prosecutors charge anyone with a crime.

Mueller’s all-star team of prosecutors, with expertise in money laundering and foreign bribery, has an answer to that. He’s Michael Dreeben, a bookish career government lawyer with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances under his belt.

Acting as Mueller’s top legal counsel, Dreeben has been researching past pardons and determining what, if any, limits exist, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dreeben’s broader brief is to make sure the special counsel’s prosecutorial moves are legally airtight. That could include anything from strategizing on novel interpretations of criminal law to making sure the recent search warrant on ex-campaign adviser Paul Manafort’s home would stand up to an appeal.

"He’s seen every criminal case of any consequence in the last 20 years," said Kathryn Ruemmler of Latham & Watkins LLP, who served as White House counsel under President Barack Obama. "If you wanted to do a no-knock warrant, he’d be a great guy to consult with to determine if you were exposing yourself.”

Three Decades

Dreeben, 62, built that expertise over three decades as an appeals lawyer at the Justice Department. As a deputy solicitor general, he’s pored over prosecutors’ moves in more than a thousand federal criminal prosecutions and defended many of them from challenges all they way to the nation’s highest court.

Dreeben has begun working on legal issues as a counselor to Mueller but is also retaining some of his solicitor general work for the sake of continuity, according to Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office. Carr declined to elaborate on Dreeben’s work with Mueller or make Dreeben available for comment.

Pre-emptive pardons are a distinct possibility now that current and former Trump advisers are under Mueller’s scrutiny. Trump himself has tweeted that everyone agrees the U.S. president has “complete power to pardon." Some of those kinds of executive moves have been well studied, including Gerald Ford’s swift pardon of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton’s exoneration of fugitive financier Marc Rich. But the legal territory is largely uncharted over pardons of a president’s own campaign workers, family members or even himself -- and how prosecutors’ work would then be affected.

Trump, Russia and the Early Murmurs About Pardons: QuickTake Q&A

What Dreeben brings to the question, say those who know him, is a credibility that comes from parsing how criminal prosecutions have played out across the country. A balding and bearded New Jersey native with a slightly nasal delivery, he has a knack for building careful arguments and the eloquence in court to lay them out in well-reasoned paragraphs, said Miguel Estrada, a lawyer at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

His path wasn’t exactly direct. Dreeben intended to pursue an advanced degree in history at the University of Chicago before changing his mind and enrolling at Duke University School of Law, according to a profile of him last year in Law360. He studied at Duke under Sara Beale, who’d worked in the Solicitor General’s office and helped plant the idea of representing the U.S. in arguments before the country’s highest court.

Dreeben got his first shot in 1989. His opponent before the Supreme Court was another first-timer, a private practice lawyer named John Roberts.

Dreeben lost. But the moment left an impression on Roberts, now the court’s Chief Justice. After Dreeben made his 100th argument before the court last year, Roberts called him back to the lectern, recalling the decades-earlier meeting.

“You have consistently advocated positions on behalf of the United States in an exemplary manner,” Roberts said, extending the court’s appreciation for his “many years of advocacy and dedicated service.”

Dreeben had urged the court that day to uphold the conviction of former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell on charges of public corruption. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned McDonnell’s conviction.

Dreeben’s reviews of how cases were built against McDonnell and others will be invaluable to Mueller. Appellate lawyers like Dreeben are stuck with decisions already made at the prosecutorial level, said Estrada, who worked in the Solicitor General’s office in the 1990s. But now, he added, Dreeben is in a position to troubleshoot problems before cases are filed.

“You have to argue what you’ve got, and the cake is already baked,” Estrada said. On Mueller’s team, by contrast, Dreeben “has the opportunity to measure the flour.”

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/robert-mueller-investigating-trump...

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I thought Mueller was supposed to just be focused on Russia-collusion?  The witch-hunt continues to expand............ILLEGALLY.   Sessions:  get the hell off your ass!

Congress should get off it's collective ass also.

the President has full authority to pardon as he sees fit except in cases of impeachment.

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LIGHTER SIDE

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ALERT ALERT

Hillary Clinton Was Not Formally Under
FBI Investigation At Any Time In 2015-2016

On Tuesday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified in a joint Congressional hearing to the House Oversight and House Judiciary panels about his review of the FBI’s (mis)handling of the Clinton email investigation.

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) came out swinging Tuesday in a a joint hearing held by the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees.

Gowdy ripped into Comey in his opening statement, stating, “we can’t survive with a justice system we don’t trust.”

Investigative journalist Paul Sperry reported Horowitz dropped a bombshell in his testimony.

Horowitz revealed the FBI never named a target or even a subject in the Clinton email probe!

Sperry tweeted: BREAKING: IG Horowitz revealed in Senate testimony FBI never named a target or even subject in Clinton probe. Not Mills, Abedin, Combetta or Clinton herself. “Nobody was listed as a subject of this investigation at any point in time,” adding this was “surprising” for a crim probe

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

BREAKING: IG Horowitz revealed in Senate testimony FBI never named a target or even subject in Clinton probe. Not Mills, Abedin, Combetta or Clinton herself. "Nobody was listed as a subject of this investigation at any point in time," adding this was "surprising" for a crim probe

So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by the FBI at any time in 2015-2016, tweeted Sperry.

IG HOROWITZ DROPS BOMBSHELL DURING SENATE TESTIMONY:

“Nobody was listed as a subject of this [Clinton email] investigation at any point in time,” adding this was “surprising”

So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by FBI at any time in 2015-2016!

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

IG HOROWITZ DROPS BOMBSHELL DURING SENATE TESTIMONY:

"Nobody was listed as a subject of this [Clinton email] investigation at any point in time," adding this was "surprising"

So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by FBI at any time in 2015-2016!

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

BREAKING: Horowitz revealed that Hillary was never really under formal investigation, never listed by FBI as a "subject" of investigation.

President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton reacted to this bombshell bias from the FBI.

Tom Fitton  @TomFitton

.@RealDonaldTrump is a subject, but Hillary Clinton was never a "subject." Outrageous. Shut the Strzok-Page-Comey-McCabe-Lynch-Yates-Glenn Simpson-Steele-Brennan-Fusion GPS-Muller special counsel "stop @realDonaldTrump" investigation down.

Paul Sperry@paulsperry_

BREAKING: IG Horowitz revealed in Senate testimony FBI never named a target or even subject in Clinton probe. Not Mills, Abedin, Combetta or Clinton herself. "Nobody was listed as a subject of this investigation at any point in time," adding this was "surprising" for a crim probe

tigation’ into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server was a complete sham.

No subjects were named, immunity was handed out like candy and Hillary was exonerated before witnesses were interviewed, including Hillary Clinton herself.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘interview’ with the FBI wasn’t even under oath.

Even more egregious, Hillary discussed pregnancy and babies during the majority of the 2.5 hour FBI interview because one of her lawyers was pregnant at the time.

Inspector General Horowitz also testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday.

TEA PARTY TARGET

Targeting Of Tea Party Groups
John McCain’s Staff Director Urged Lois Lerner
And IRS To Engage In “Financially Ruinous”

Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch obtained IRS documents Thursday revealing backstabber Senator John McCain’s former staff director urged the IRS, including the corrupt Lois Lerner to engage in “financially ruinous” targeting of conservative Tea Party groups.

And they did.

The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:

  • Hundreds of conservative groups were targeted
  • At least 5 pro-Israel groups
  • Constitutional groups
  • Groups that criticized Obama administration
  • At least two pro-life groups
  • An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
  • A 180 year-old Baptist paper
  • A Texas voting-rights group
  • A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
  • Conservative activists and businesses
  • At least one conservative Hispanic group
  • IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed
  • And… 100% of the 501(c)(4) Groups Audited by IRS Were
  • Conservative

Now this…

Via Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.” Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.

President of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton had this to say about the newly obtained IRS documents showing more proof the agency was weaponized under Obama:

“The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans. The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.”

Tom Fitton  @TomFitton

The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.

Judicial Watch Obtains IRS Documents Revealing McCain’s Subcommittee Staff Director Urged IRS to...

McCain minority staff director Henry Kerner to IRS official Lois Lerner and other IRS officials: “the solution is to audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous” (Washington, DC) – Judicial...

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