Witnesses describe Mueller's scorched earth investigation

Paul Sperry:
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Now that Mueller has ended his probe finding no election collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, 10 witnesses and targets of his sprawling, $35 million investigation agreed to speak with RealClearInvestigations because they are no longer in legal jeopardy. They include several people who became household names during the two-year probe – including George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Roger Stone – as well as lesser-known figures whose lives were also upended and finances imperiled when they came into Mueller’s crosshairs. Only three of the 10, Papadopoulos, Stone and a political consultant named Sam Patten, were charged with a crime. Patten received three years probation but no jail time for failing to register as a foreign agent; Papadopoulos served 12 days for lying to federal agents; and Stone awaits trial on false statements, witness-tampering and obstruction charges.

Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel's nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion.

Although they interacted with Mueller’s team at different times and in different places, the witnesses and targets often echoed each other. Almost all decried what they called Mueller’s “scorched earth” methods that affected their physical, mental and financial health. Most said they were forced to retain high-priced Washington lawyers to protect them from falling into "perjury traps" for alleged lying, which became the special counsel’s charge of last resort. In the end, Mueller convicted four Trump associates for this so-called process crime, and investigated an additional five individuals for allegedly making false statements – including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Some subjects of investigation said Mueller’s agents and prosecutors tried to pressure them into admitting things to give the appearance of collusion. They demanded to know if they had spoken to anyone with a “Russian accent.” They threatened to jail them "for life" and to drag their wives or girlfriends into the investigation.

Former special prosecutors say the tactics used by Mueller’s team appear excessive.

“You have to be particularly sensitive to preventing agents and prosecutors from becoming a runaway train of righteousness that might otherwise justify conduct that is questionable or unnecessarily gratuitous,” former Independent Counsel Robert Ray said.

Witnesses said Mueller’s office not only seized their emails and text messages, but also obtained their call records from their service providers, as well as their travel records, including flight and hotel information. His team literally poked around in their garbage cans, they said, and looked at their Google searches, among other invasive actions.
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 This also raises serious questions about the Democrats in Congress who think more investigation is needed.  Despite all these excesses Mueller was not able to find any corroboration for the allegations against Trump or his campaign.  It is looking more and more like a witch hunt that was out of control.

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