John Kerry/Hillary Clinton: Not Not Guilty
I’m not a lawyer (although neither are many TV pundits), but I thought Mueller’s legal reasoning in his now infamous press conference was great … for opening up a 50 gallon oil drum of worms, legal and political. He could not confirm that Trump was “not not guilty” of obstruction of justice. Well that’s going to become a great standard for legal and political discussion.
Frankly, most reasonable Americans could not confirm that Meuler was “not not guilty” of prosecutorial abuse, if not a politically motivated hit job on a sitting President. But I digress, the subject is Russia and the legal rubric of “not not guilty.”
For example, something that has bothered me for many years has been the legislative history of the Magnitsky Act, and particularly the 21-to-1 vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
To be brief, after the huge round of Russian privatizations of their national companies, which led to the band of billionaire oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin, the Russian government then began to seriously squeeze legitimate foreign-owned businesses, leading to the suspicious death of an attorney investigating Russian corruption, Sergei Magnitsky. In response to these growing human rights and business violations, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress to put pressure on Putin and his allies to respect human rights, property rights, and the rule of law. The Magnitsky Act basically restricted the ability of Putin’s cronies to use their new-found wealth outside of Russia. It had an immediate impact and is probably one of the most effective weapons the U.S. developed to encourage better behavior from the Putin regime. It was also initially frowned upon by the Obama White House and Secretary of State Clinton who were trying to “re-set” Russian relations.
Of course, Secretary Clinton may have also been involved in secretly selling U.S. uranium to the Russians (who have now apparently resumed banned nuclear weapons testing – secret uranium sales have consequences) and the Russians may have indirectly, simultaneously, coincidentally, contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation, but that is something for Attorney General Barr to look further into if he has any extra time on his hands.
What is really interesting is the vote of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Magnitsky Act. The only Senator who voted to keep the names of the sanctioned Russians secret, which would have essentially gutted the Bill according to those closest to it, was the Chairman, John Kerry. Why would he do that? Most observers at the time assumed that he was just currying favor with the Obama White House which opposed the amendment and the sanctions on the Russians. He wanted to be, and subsequently became, Obama’s Secretary of State.
But could it have been that Kerry and his wife had significant business interests in Russia? It is impossible to know. Certainly the Heinz Corporation appears to have represented around $3 million of Kerry’s wealth and perhaps over $200 million of his wife’s wealth at the time. And, at the time, the Heinz business profits in Russia were offsetting some declines in Europe and elsewhere. And the retaliatory Russian tariffs at the time on American agricultural products somehow excluded Heinz products. And that pattern made the Heinz Corporation even more valuable for the Berkshire Hathaway takeover, which gave around a 20% windfall to the Kerry-Heinz’s, which may have represented, in round numbers, additional profits of $1 million for Kerry and perhaps as much as $50 million for his wife.
And that is much more, in real money, than a possible Trump hotel deal that never happened at all. And Trump has actually, publicly, expanded the enforcement of the Magnitsky Act, to the great irritation of the Russians … and fully rejected the entire premise of the “Trump Tower” meeting, which was to get Trump to not enforce the Magnitsky Act.
Are these cases of illegal pay-to-play or conflict of interest? Are any of the obvious implications in the above stories about Kerry and Clinton true? Who knows? Is the above “evidence” accurate? Who knows?
What is true is many might consider all this suspicious, that there appeared to be separate efforts by Kerry and Clinton to help Russia, that there is not yet any proof that Kerry and Clinton are “not not guilty,” and, according to the Mueller legal principles, the above could be considered a “roadmap” for investigation by Congress and perhaps prosecution by the Justice Department. Welcome to the New World of Mueller Constitutional Rights and Processes. Hopefully some of the adults in the Democratic Party will understand the sword cuts both ways and the trap that Bob Mueller may have set … for them.