Writing for the Washington Post, a former FBI agent who specialized in counter-intelligence said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is virtually unstoppable no matter what the president does to derail it.
According to Asha Rangappa, Trump could very well fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in an effort to slow down the Mueller investigation, but his replacement would be hard pressed to shut down the various avenues FBI agents have already gone down.
“To begin with, there is no such thing as a single ‘Russia investigation.’ The F.B.I. pursues cases against individuals and organizations, not topics — this allows each case to have the flexibility to go in the direction the evidence leads, regardless of what happens with other, related cases,” Rangappa wrote. “After the Sept. 11 attacks, for example, ‘Pentbomb’ was the umbrella name for hundreds of discrete cases on the hijackers, their networks and Al Qaeda.”
Writing “Existing cases spawn new cases. This is especially true of counterintelligence and conspiracy investigations,” she added, “The current Russia investigation, originally referred to in the F.B.I. as ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ isn’t just a single case on Russian election meddling. Rather, at this stage it is a spider web of tens or dozens of cases on intelligence officers, their agents and individuals and organizations helping Russia that are investigated independently, cross-referencing pertinent information to other cases as necessary.”
Noting that an investigation the size of Mueller’s is not limited to agents working solely out of Washington D.C., but is farmed out to field offices across the country, Rangappa said that agents in those offices would not take kindly to being told to stand down.
“No case agent worth their salt would remain quiet if their cases were closed in the face of a continuing threat,” she wrote. “To ‘shut down’ the investigation at this point would require not just a face-off with Mr. Mueller but also with special agents in charge of multiple field offices with a vested interest in seeing their responsibilities through, and possibly even a battle with the F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray.”
And then there are the elements of the investigation that are already entrenched in the courts — putting them beyond the reach on the Justice Department.
“Many of the most critical parts of the Russia investigation have already entered the judicial system” Rangappa suggested by pointing out Mueller has already indicted numerous individuals related to Trump’s campaign and that there are numerous subpoenas still outstanding.
“Whatever happens now, there is no doubt that the F.B.I. has already collected hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence in the form of documents, interviews, electronic surveillance and foreign intelligence shared by our allies that are stored in the F.B.I.’s tamper-proof system and cannot be destroyed,” she relayed before adding, “If Congress changes hands, it’s going to be very difficult for the president to try to block obvious attempts to obstruct justice from seeing the light of day.”
“The wheels of justice are already in motion, and it would take someone willing to take a fall for the president to try to stop it,” she concluded.
You can read the whole piece here.