Yue Stella Yu, Open Secrets,October 03 2019:… Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, registered last week as a foreign agent lobbying pro bono for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a major Iranian dissident group pushing to topple the country’s current administration. Mukasey’s office did not respond to a request for comment.Earlier this week, Mukasey received attention for defending President Donald Trump in an op-ed, pointing to the Justice Department’s statement that declined investigations into the president’s July call with Ukraine. Michael Mukasey MEK Terrorist Cult Official Lobbyist
Michael Mukasey MEK Terrorist Cult Official Lobbyist
Former AG Michael Mukasey set to lobby for Iranian dissident group Mojahedin Khalq MEK terrorist cult
As U.S.-Iran tensions escalate, Iran’s domestic opposition group is courting allies in the U.S in hope to replace the current authoritarian Iranian regime. Last week, another former high-ranking official joined the camp. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, registered last week as a foreign agent lobbying pro bono for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a major Iranian dissident group pushing to topple the country’s current administration. Mukasey’s office did not respond to a request for comment.Earlier this week, Mukasey received attention for defending President Donald Trump in an op-ed, pointing to the Justice Department’s statement that declined investigations into the president’s July call with Ukraine.
The council is the political arm of Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK. Responsible for killing Iranian and American citizens in the past, the group was a U.S.-designated terrorist group before its delisting in 2012 following a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign. The group also had close ties with Iraq President Saddam Hussein, who in 1986 sponsored MEK with weapons, funding and a military base in hope for help against the Iranian government. Although Mukasey officially registered his ties to the group just last week, he had previously met with the group several times between 2015 and 2018, Foreign Agents Registration Act records in OpenSecrets’ Foreign Lobby Watch database show. Mukasey is among a list of high-ranking former officials who gave paid speeches at conferences in support of the MEK, and was investigated, but never sanctioned, by the Treasury Department for potential violations of law for accepting speaking fees. Mukasey spoke last year in Paris at the “Free Iran” conference — a gathering of Iranian opposition groups — in favor of a regime change in Iran, promising that he would never rest while supporting the effort. “We hope that the mullahs will topple,” Mukasey said, “but it’s gonna take more effort.” The former attorney general joined lobbying firm Debevoise & Plimpton after he stepped down as attorney general in 2009. Since 2011, Mukasey and his family members have given more than $50,000 to mostly Republicans and their affiliated PACs, records show. Much of the money went to hawkish lawmakers including Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).All three senators spoke vocally against the Iranian government in the past.
In 2017, Tillis was part of a U.S. delegation led by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to Albania to meet with MEK’s leader Maryam Rajavi. She later thanked the Blunt-led delegation for the Senate’s effort to protect MEK members in Iraq. Cotton, a longtime critic of the Iranian government, pushed the Trump administration in June to launch a “retaliatory strike” against Iran after the U.S. blamed the country for a series of attacks. McCain backed Trump’s decision to shelve the Iran nuclear deal long before the president withdrew from the agreement, arguing that Iran has “literally been getting away with murder.”Mukasey’s registration comes at a time when the U.S.-Iran tensions continue to build since Trump’s withdrawal in 2018 from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.The already-strained relationship took a downturn after multiple attacks and U.S. military movements near the Persian Gulf.
As the bilateral disagreement intensifies, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently warned that the Middle Eastern country will defend itself with an “all-out war” if the U.S. launches a strike against it. Last Saturday, the U.S. Air Force pulled its longtime Qatar-based Middle East command center back to South Carolina for the first time, the Washington Post reported, saying Iran-related incidents sped up the decision.Amid rising distrust, the National Council of Resistance of Iran claimed last week that it has evidence proving the Iranian government dictated the attack on Saudi oil facilities, further fueling the conflicts.Raising its profile in Washington, D.C., over the past few years, the group often participates in congressional briefings, receptions and other events, FARA filings show. They also frequently run opinion pieces in conservative media outlets such as The Washington Times, the Washington Free Beacon and Fox News.
The council has paid American lobbying firm Rosemont Associates $1.4 million since 2013 to lobby the government. Senator-turned-MEK-lawyer Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) — lobbying on behalf of the group — received backlash in 2002 for his support for Iranian opposition groups. While senator, Torricelli met with the council twice in 2001 discussing human rights issues and Iranian missile attacks, records show. Mukasey’s registration is only the most recent revelation in a network of current and former government officials and ambassadors with ties to the high-profile opposition group.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, well-known for his aggressive foreign policy views on Iran and other countries, is a longtime critic of the Iranian regime. He advocated for the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and proposed to bomb Iran to stop nuclear proliferation in an op-ed. For over a decade, Bolton publicly backed the MEK as a replacement for the current Iranian administration. His personal financial disclosures revealed that he was paid $40,000 in 2016 to conduct a speech to the group.Between 2015 and 2018, the group met multiple times with Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Mayor and now Trump’s attorney, records show. Representing foreign clients while offering legal services to the president, Giuliani has invited scrutiny. The attorney, with rich connections with Ukraine, pushed the foreign government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden in the most recent Trump-Ukraine controversy.
Giuliani spoke publicly on several occasions in support of overturning the Iranian regime. “The mullahs must go, the ayatollah must go,” said Giuliani at last year’s “Free Iran” conference, “and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents.” Torricelli, who has long lobbied on behalf of the council, published a Politico op-ed in 2016 arguing that Giuliani’s ties to the group should not be concerning.Officials of the council met Giuliani in July 2015 to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, days after Iran reached an agreement with six other countries in Vienna to scale back its nuclear commitments in exchange for sanctions relief. Since Trump pulled from the deal, Iran has ramped up uranium production, potentially setting the country on a path to breaching the agreement as the U.S.-Iran tensions worsen.
Yue “Stella” Yu joined CRP as a reporting intern in fall 2019. She’s an investigative journalism major at the University of Missouri. She covered local and state politics at the Columbia Missourian for two years and worked as a data journalism intern at The Salt Lake Tribune this summer.
Michael Mukasey MEK Terrorist Cult Official Lobbyist
A Lobbyist for terrorism; Michael Mukasey
Habilian Association, April 12 2016:… Mukasey has admitted he was paid handsomely by the MEK to advocate for them. He didn’t deny that his “expert advice and assistance” to MEK was coordinated, only that the designated terrorist group did not dictate what he said. He insisted that as long as the MEK did not write his speech, his acceptance of the terrorist organization’s money and his meetings with MEK members to coordinate his appearances and advocacy …
A Lobbyist for terrorism; Michael Mukasey
Born on July 28, 1941, Michael Bernard Mukasey is a lawyer and former judge who served as the 81st Attorney General of the United States. He was appointed following the resignation of Alberto Gonzales. Mukasey also served for 18 years as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, six of those years as Chief Judge. He was the second Jewish U.S. Attorney General and currently he is a partner at the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
On November 8, 2007, After two months of controversy, and a round of sporadically contentious Senate confirmation hearings, former judge Michael Mukasey narrowly won the Senate’s approval to become the next attorney general, by an almost-party line 53-40 vote. Musakey replaced Alberto Gonzales, who resigned under fire in September 2007. Many Democrats voted against Mukasey because of his refusal to categorize the interrogation technique of waterboarding as torture, and his refusal to say that he would oppose President Bush’s insistence on eavesdropping on US citizens. [CNN, 11/8/2007]
Notable issues and comments
Support for the MeK
Mukasey is among the former high profile political officials who were apparently investigated over their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujahidin e Khalq aka “MEK” and paid advocacy on behalf of them. (Top Democrat’s speeches for terrorist group probed; The Washington Times – Friday, March 9, 2012)
Mukasey has admitted being paid by MEK and admitted he and his friends have helped the terrorist group by advocating for their removal from the FTO list. This admission by Mukasey contradicted his support for the 2009 Holder v Humanitarian Law Project Supreme Court Decision which held that such advice and assistance as he has admittedly provided in coordination with a designated foreign terrorist organization falls within “material support of terrorism” even if it is nothing but speech.
Mukasey has admitted he was paid handsomely by the MEK to advocate for them. He didn’t deny that his “expert advice and assistance” to MEK was coordinated, only that the designated terrorist group did not dictate what he said. He insisted that as long as the MEK did not write his speech, his acceptance of the terrorist organization’s money and his meetings with MEK members to coordinate his appearances and advocacy are not enough to get him into trouble.
Further, Mukasey accused the Treasury of improperly targeting him and his political friends by looking into the handsome amounts of money they have all been paid by the MEK. He claimed that the Treasury’s subpoenas looking into his and other high-level former politicians’ payments from MEK stemmed from the filing of their amicus brief arguing for MEK to be removed from the terrorist organization list.
What is worse is that Mukasey and his MEK-paid friends scoff at the laws and government terrorist designations they insist on applying to others. As Attorney General, Mukasey undoubtedly ordered prosecutions of many Muslims for financial transactions with FTOs involving far less money than he has been paid.
In their January 2011 opinion piece “MEK Is Not a Terrorist Group,” Mukasey’s group disclosed the perhaps bigger reason for their support of MEK than the thousands of dollars they were each paid, claiming that MEK “has provided valuable intelligence to the United States on Iranian nuclear plans.”
(Dear Department of Justice: Please Investigate Your Old Boss for Material Support of Terrorism! Coleen Rowley Former FBI Special Agent. Huffingtonpost, 03/20/2012 Updated May 20, 2012)
On December 12, 2007, Michael Mukasey, the new Attorney General, wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times pushing for Congressional immunity for US telecommunications firms over their cooperation with the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Mukasey supported the NSA program, echoing the administration’s long insistence that the surveillance program is “crucial” in protecting the country against terrorist attacks. He also reiterated the administration’s criticism of the “outdated” Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which he said hampers the government’s ability to collect needed intelligence and does little to protect the privacy of US citizens. Mukasey called for Congress to pass a Senate bill that would grant the telecommunications firms retroactive immunity to civil lawsuits and criminal charges surrounding their cooperation with the NSA, and would no longer require court orders for the government to “direct surveillance at foreign targets overseas”—surveillance that would target US citizens. Mukasey also asked for full cooperation of private companies in intelligence activities and strongly opposed another Senate bill that would grant no immunity and would continue to require the government to obtain FISA Court warrants before wiretapping domestic communications. [LOS ANGELES TIMES, 12/12/2007]
Relationship with Giuliani
Mukasey and Giuliani have been friends since working at the same law firm in the early 1970s.  In 1985, when Rudolph W. Giuliani, the then U.S. ?????????, was coming under intense criticism for his aggressive tactics in prosecuting organized crime in attorney for the Southern District of New York, his former colleague, Michael B. Mukasey sprang to his defense. Mukasey wrote a strongly worded opinion piece in New York Times arguing that Giuliani’s tough tactics were justified to defeat “dangerous and powerful enemies”. Alec MacGillis, a senior editor at The New Republic magazine and former Washington Post staff writer, had described Mukasey’s public defense of Giuliani as “one example of the strong and lasting bond between President Bush’s nominee for attorney general and the man leading in the GOP polls to replace Bush.” In 1994, Giuliani selected Mukasey, then a federal judge, to preside over his inauguration as mayor. The ties only strengthened after Giuliani left City Hall. Mukasey’s son, Marc, a former assistant U.S. attorney himself, works as a partner at Giuliani’s consulting firm, and Giuliani named Mukasey and his son to one of his presidential campaign advisory committees. Dov Hikind, Democratic New York State Assemblyman has said about Mukasey and Giuliani that they “are two people who are extremely close — extremely, extremely close — and everybody knows that.” ]Washington Post [September 18, 2007
On December 11, 2014, Mukasey publicly stated on CNN that he believed waterboarding could not be called torture. [ “Mukasey: Waterboarding is not torture”. YouTube. December 11, 2014.] In a 2008 hearing, he said waterboarding would feel like torture if he were subjected to it. [ “At Senate Hearing, Attorney General Michael Mukasey Refuses to Say if Waterboarding is Torture, Illegal”. Democracy Now!] In a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy on January 29, 2008, Mukasey said he finished a review of Justice Department memos about the CIA’s current methods of interrogating terror suspects and finds them to be lawful. He claimed waterboarding currently is not used by the CIA. ]Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2008 [ Attorney General Mukasey on February 7, 2008 said he will Not investigate US government’s use of waterboarding [MOTHER JONES, 2/7/2008].
Remarks about pre-9/11 terrorist phone call
Speaking in San Francisco to the California Commonwealth Club on March 27, 2008, Mukasey defended President Bush’s program of wiretapping calls between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists without court authorization, and implied that the government might have been able to prevent the attacks of September 11, 2001, if it had been able to wiretap a specific call to the U.S. from Afghanistan. Before September 11, 2001, Mukasey said, “We knew that there had been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan, and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went.” He paused, seemed to stifle tears or at least suppress emotion, then continued, “You’ve got 3,000 people who went to work that day, and didn’t come home, to show for that.” In a subsequent letter to Mukasey, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers questioned whether any such phone call had ever actually occurred and, if so, why the government hadn’t been able to use its then-existing legal authority and technological capabilities to monitor it. Also, Some media outlets pick up on the Mukasey’s claim. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Mukasey “did not explain why the government, if it knew of telephone calls from suspected foreign terrorists, hadn’t sought a wiretapping warrant from a court established by Congress to authorize terrorist surveillance, or hadn’t monitored all such calls without a warrant for 72 hours as allowed by law.” [SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 3/28/2008].
Boston College Law School Won’t Honor Mukasey
John Garvey, the dean of Boston College Law School announced on March 28, 2008 that the school will not award its highest honor to US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey at its May commencement amid sharp criticism from some students, faculty, and alumni over his invitation as graduation speaker. The move reflects broad discontent with Mukasey’s controversial refusal to declare that a prison-interrogation technique known as waterboarding constitutes torture. [Huffington Post, 03/28/2008[
Violations of the law are not always crimes
On August 12, 2008, Mukasey told American Bar Association annual meeting delegates that “not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime,” with “only violations of the civil service laws” being found among hiring practices during Gonzales’ tenure as Attorney General.