The conflicts of interest with Robert Mueller and his unconstitutional Russian collusion witch hunt keep piling up, yet he keeps moving full steam ahead.
It turns out back in 2009, Mueller’s FBI with the help of Andrew McCabe courted Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska for a secret mission to rescue a retired FBI agent–yes the same Russian who is now caught up in Mueller’s witch hunt.
Mueller may have also broken the law by allowing his FBI to carry out this secret mission.
This new conflict of interest with Mueller and the Russia witch hunt raises many legal questions over his ability to continue as the Special Counsel.
The whole point of a Special Counsel is to avoid conflicts of interest.
Mueller’s relationship with Comey and the fact that he was up for consideration to be Trump’s FBI Director are other glaring conflicts of interest.
John Solomon of The Hill reported:
They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris, Vienna, Budapest and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.
“We knew he was paying for his team helping us, and that probably ran into the millions,” a U.S. official involved in the operation confirmed.
Deripaska’s lawyer says the Russian ultimately spent $25 million assembling a private search and rescue team that worked with Iranian contacts under the FBI’s watchful eye. Photos and videos indicating Levinson was alive were uncovered.
Then in fall 2010, the operation secured an offer to free Levinson. The deal was scuttled, however, when the State Department become uncomfortable with Iran’s terms, according to Deripaska’s lawyer and the Levinson family.
FBI officials confirmed State hampered their efforts.
Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s State Department kept getting in the way of any such rescue efforts.
“We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way,” said Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009, when Deripaska first cooperated, but who left for another position in 2010 before the Iranian offer arrived.
Ultimately FBI officials ended the secret mission in 2011 because of the US infighting (Hillary’s State Department) over Deripaska’s Iranian contacts.
According to John Solomon, Deripaska was rewarded by the FBI for his work. Solomon says Deripaska was chosen for the secret mission by Mueller’s FBI in 2009 for three main reasons:
The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.
Paul Manafort was previously questioned by officials in the Cayman Islands about his ties to billionaire Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate. Manafort was questioned by officials from the Cayman Islands in connection with a $26.2 million investment by Deripaska.
Mueller, however, kept any mention of Oleg Deripaska OUT of Manafort’s indictment leading to another problem of transparency.
Dirty cop Mueller may have also broken the law by allowing his FBI to carry out this secret mission back in 2009:
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told me he believes Mueller has a conflict of interest because his FBI previously accepted financial help from a Russian that is, at the very least, a witness in the current probe.
“The real question becomes whether it was proper to leave [Deripaska] out of the Manafort indictment, and whether that omission was to avoid the kind of transparency that is really required by the law,” Dershowitz said.
Melanie Sloan, a former Clinton Justice Department lawyer and longtime ethics watchdog, told me a “far more significant issue” is whether the earlier FBI operation was even legal: “It’s possible the bureau’s arrangement with Mr. Deripaska violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits the government from accepting voluntary services.”
George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed: “If the operation with Deripaska contravened federal law, this figure could be viewed as a potential embarrassment for Mueller. The question is whether he could implicate Mueller in an impropriety.”
Top Dem Senator Mark Warner is also tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. He previously tried to set up a secret meeting with dossier author Christopher Steele by texting a lobbyist for Deripaska.
The Trump administration also recently put sanctions on Deripaska.
Read John Solomon’s full report here.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.