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Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime

Lavrentiy Beria, the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror in Russia and Eastern Europe, bragged that he could prove criminal conduct on anyone, even the innocent.

“Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” was Beria’s infamous boast. He served as deputy premier from 1941 until Stalin’s death in 1953, supervising the expansion of the gulags and other secret detention facilities for political prisoners. He became part of a post-Stalin, short-lived ruling troika until he was executed for treason after Nikita Khrushchev’s coup d’etat in 1953.

Beria targeted “the man” first, then proceeded to find or fabricate a crime. Beria’s modus operandi was to presume the man guilty, and fill in the blanks later. By contrast, under the United States Constitution, there’s a presumption of innocence that emanates from the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments, as set forth in Coffin vs. U.S. (1895).

Unlike Beria’s paradigm, U.S. prosecutions start with the discovery of a crime. Then there’s an investigation to find or confirm the identity of the perpetrator and collect evidence to prove his or her guilt.

However, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment and subsequent investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign appear to follow the Beria model, not the U.S. Constitution model.

To call the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” is an insult to witches.

Lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor Emeritus at Harvard Law School, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He says Mueller, like other Special Counsel before him, is engaging in the “criminalization of politics.” Dershowitz states unequivocally that there was no probable cause to believe any crime was committed by Trump or his campaign. In fact, “collusion” in a political campaign is not a crime.

Moreover, constitutional law scholar Dershowitz says it is impossible for a sitting President to obstruct justice in the carrying out of his Article II powers, including the absolute right to fire former FBI Chief James Comey. But don’t take Professor Dershowitz’s word for it. Take a look at the articles written in the past year by former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy, and historian and Hoover Institute scholar Victor Davis Hanson.

There are many facets of the Mueller investigation that should trouble every citizen: the Comey memo describing how James Clapper wanted Comey to mention the Russia Ritz-Carlton episode in Comey’s meeting with Trump to give CNN the “hook” it needed to publish the nasty details; the fact that Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is in the middle of everything—Sessions’ recusal, Comey’s firing, Mueller’s appointment, the apparent enlargement of Mueller’s charge in the “scope” memo, which Rosenstein has refused to produce to Congress; the bias against Trump reflected in the tweets and actions of the bureaucrats and special agents at the top of the DOJ and FBI; DOJ’s consistent refusal to turn over documents to Congress; the Gestapo-like tactics used by Mueller, including the pre-dawn, no-knock raid on Paul Manafort’s home; the seizure of documents covered by attorney-client privilege in the search of Trump Attorney Michael Cohen’s office; and the shameful destruction of General Mike Flynn’s career for a “lie” the investigating FBI agents said did not occur.

And most telling, the discovery this week that most of the redactions by DOJ in the few documents they have produced are there to protect the reputation of those at the top of DOJ and FBI, and not to keep intelligence “sources and methods” secret.

Rosenstein’s vague charge to Mueller to investigate “links and/or coordination between the Russian government” and the Trump campaign is vague and open-ended, and an invitation for runaway Special Counsel Mueller to pursue Trump with the zeal of Police Inspector Javert hot on the trail of Jean Valjean.

Michael Henry writes in Oxford, MS and can be reached at mhenryauthor@gmail.com