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.”

Views: 21

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

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.




Political Cartoons by AL Goodwyn

Political Cartoons by Tom Stiglich

Political Cartoons by AL Goodwyn


“Stop Mass Hysteria”  Michael Savage On Current Media Frenzy: It’s Like A Virus, An Epidemic… It Will Die Of Its Own Oxygen Deprivation 

The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft interviewed Dr. Michael Savage on his latest book “Stop Mass Hysteria” this weekend.

“Stop Mass Hysteria” COULD NOT come at a better time. And our discussion with Dr. Savage on this subject was timely to say the least.

Dr. Savage discussed the history of mass hysteria in America from the Salem witch trials to the Trump-Russial collusion witch hunt.

Michael Savage also shared his thoughts on the mass hysteria surrounding the Brett Kavananaugh confirmation hearings.

Dr. Michael Savage: Let me just say starting from the beginning that there is a huge difference between mass hysteria and justified concern. And this is something we have to understand. There are imagined threats and then there is real danger as we all know. And this is an imagined threat – That Kavanaugh poses a threat to all women on the planet that he’s a mad rapist. That he will be on the Supreme Court running around and making the climate of rape more acceptable. This is the greatest example of mass hysteria since the Trump derangement syndrome. And it is a continuation of course, of the hatred of Trump and their hatred for those of us who supported Donald Trump, and Donald Trump’s agenda more than Donald Trump. It’s really not about Donald Trump it’s about the agenda which is largely based on modern nationalism that I offered for many, many years.

Dr. Savage is truly brilliant. He publishes a book on mass hyteria and the the Kavanaugh confirmation comes along.

Dr. Savage goes on to say the number one greatest threat facing America today is radical Islam. “For the last 1,400 years radical Islam has been at war with the world. This is not Islamophobia as the mainstream media would have you believe. It is history.”

Michael Savage took some time to bash CNN in his chapter titled “From Salem to CNN” where he compares the two asking, “They’re not too different are they?”

Michael Savage   @ASavageNation


Michael went on to describe the real “war on women” is the radical feminists who are actually debasing feminists and debasing women across America with false accusations, or exaggerated accusations.

Dr. Savage talked about the danger of mass hysteria, “It’s like a virus. As a trained epidemiologist it’s really like an epidemic. It’s almost a medical situation, this madness is very similar to an epidemic that continues to spread though a population without discriminating who it attacks. That’s the point. And so in stopping mass hysteria I try to bring real history to the discussion rather than straight polemics.”

Near the end of the interview I asked Michael about what will eventually the end of mass hysteria. Michael offered this, “We have to believe at the end reason will trump hysteria. We have to believe. I believe this mania we are living through will die of its own oxygen deprivation.”

Let’s hope Dr. Savage is right. He usually is. God help us.

© 2018   Created by Steve - Ning Creator.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service