At this point, the following statement is not breaking news, even though it has probably never been spoken so bluntly in the establishment media. It is worth reading, though – very slowly, so that you can ponder its meaning and implications: Robert Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) team erased all data from at least 15 cellphones after those devices – or, more specifically, the data on those devices – had been requested by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. All of these phones, we are being told, were wiped clean (no, Hillary, not with a cloth) by accident. Really? Are we supposed to believe that?
Here’s another statement you should read and think carefully about. This one might be from a Shakespeare play, but probably not. It is, however, one of the most useful pieces of advice one could ever hope for: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Wise words indeed.
These “unintentional” acts of destruction of evidence occurred, of course, during the OSC’s investigation into the now-debunked Trump-Russia collusion affair. The phones were wiped of data by people who – like most human beings in the developed world – use a cellphone frequently.
The Cellphone Complexity
It’s not as if these were complex, scientific devices unknown to their users. The individuals who worked under Robert Mueller in this investigation – one of the most important and consequential in American history – were high-rollers in their respective fields. Even in the private sector, between fielding calls to and from clients, district attorneys, law enforcement agencies, their personal assistants, making donations to the Democratic Party, and playing Sudoku, these men and women were using cellphones on a daily basis.
The prosecutors, investigators, and administrative staff of the OSC were entirely familiar with the operation of these electronic marvels. Resetting a cellphone to factory specifications is not something that is accidentally done while reaching for a paper towel to mop up the coffee you spilled because your wife just sent you an incredibly hilarious cat video.
It is inconceivable that we are now supposed to believe that 15 or more cellphones simply were mishandled by these top-tier professionals engaged in the most politically sensitive investigation of our lifetimes.
The Crooked Investigation
Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged collusion between President Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russian agents was crooked from the start. It had to be. We know this for several reasons. First, because it was an evolution of an FBI counterintelligence operation that was being run by people who utterly despised Trump. That fact has been verified by their electronic communications at the time and from remarks they have since made. We know because Trump associate Roger Stone, who may be a sleazy character but was not a man who presented any physical danger to anyone, was marched out of his house in a predawn-raid at gunpoint by an army of heavily-armed police officers. We know because Michael Flynn was coerced into pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents. We know because Mueller himself and his favorite pitbull, Andrew Weissmann, both have questionable prosecutorial records.
We know because the lead FBI agent on Mueller’s team, Peter Strzok, indulged in an epic exchange of text messages with his mistress – also an FBI employee assigned to Mueller’s team – on the subject of how much they loathed Donald Trump and his supporters.
In order to regain our trust in the justice system and in the notion that nobody – as Democrats love to remind us – is above the law, we must hope that Attorney General Bill Barr and federal prosecutor John Durham do not take this cellphone debacle lightly. Perhaps someone should mail to each of these two esteemed officials the latest ornithological guide, so that we may be assured that they know a duck when they see one.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.