Unless I’m totally misreading the political tea leaves the House of Representatives will impeach Donald Trump in the relatively near future. How or even if he will be removed from office is a much murkier picture at this point. (If I had to bet I’d still bet resignation ala Nixon, but that is far from a sure thing.) There are simply too many players entering and leaving the “stage” for even political junkies, let alone average Americans, to keep track of. If I published five times a day instead of five times a week I still couldn’t cover it all. Today I’d like to discuss a name you need to remember. To date he has been a minor fringe player that has hardly received mention. That will not be the case when the final chapter is written. The name is Brain Benczkowski. Let’s explore.
On July 11, 2018 Benczkowski was confirmed as Assistant Attorney General by a vote of 51-48-1. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined 50 of his Republican colleagues in voting to confirm. All the other Democrats joined the two independents to vote in the negative. John McCain who was fighting terminal cancer was absent. Benczkowski took the role of heading the Criminal Division of the Justice Department effectively making him privy to and in charge of all criminal investigations handled by the Justice Department which includes the FBI. Isn’t that convenient for President Trump who nominated Benczkowski to the post?
Benczkowski has a Republican pedigree along with a Trump sycophant resume. Early in his career he served on the staffs of former New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici and Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner; both Republican powerhouses. Later he moved on to be the Republican Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He then spent some time in private business as a partner at America’s largest law firm (by billing) Kirkland & Ellis. Other alums of the firm that you may be familiar with include Alex Acosta, Alex Azar, Bill Barr (who as current AG would became Benczkowski’s boss), John Bolton, Robert Bork, Pat Cipollone, Brett Kavanaugh and Kenneth Starr. There are some future disbarments and prison sentences on that list.
While at Kirkland & Ellis one of Benczkowski’s major clients was Alfa-Bank, one of Russia’s largest commercial banks. If the name of the bank is familiar that is probably because its computer server “mysteriously” was in frequent communication with the server handling the 2016 Trump campaign. While there is no record of Benczkowski working on the Trump campaign he did work on the Trump transition team. Despite all those inconvenient circumstances Benczkowski refused to recuse himself from any involvement with the Mueller investigation. You connect all those dots; I bet Trump did and liked the picture.
When you hear that the Justice Department or the FBI has decided that there is nothing to an allegation against a Republican or that a long debunked piece of right wing mythology requires further investigation look to see if Bill Barr or Brain Benczkowski signed off on the decision. Brian Benczkowski – a name to remember also remember the adage: The cover-up is always worse than the crime.
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