Pages

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Former FBI Officials Speak Out

Laura Ingraham did a very good interview re Andrew McCabe's remarkable admissions. She speaks with two former FBI officials, at very high levels: Kevin Brock and Terry Turchie (I knew Terry somewhat before he went to FBIHQ). I couldn't agree more with what they're saying. They sum up what the traditional "culture" of the Bureau was until relatively recently. And McCabe comes across, to me, as dangerously unhinged from reality. They both also make the point that I've hammered at over the months: the importance of understanding the various Guidelines that control all Executive Branch agencies, including the FBI. The FBI is not supposed to be out there freewheeling, opening up investigations on whims or "hunches." Brock and Turchie make it clear that McCabe and Comey were NOT acting within their official jurisdiction.

Former high-ranking FBI officials on Andrew McCabe's alarming admissions

Monday, February 18, 2019

Report: Barr Will Soon Name A Deputy To Replace Rosenstein

It's being reported that Bill Barr will be selecting--possibly as early as this week--Jeffrey Rosen to be his Deputy AG, replacing Rod Rosenstein who will depart within a matter of weeks. If true, this comes as no surprise.

Rosen is a longtime partner of Kirkland and Ellis, Barr's firm, so that means Barr knows and trusts him. Rosen also has government experience, having served during the Bush years at USDOT as well as general counsel and senior policy advisor at OMB. Most recently he was confirmed in May, 2017, as the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and that means Rosen is also well known to the Trump White House. My understanding is that this means that Rosen will not need to go through confirmation hearings again, but can step right in as DAG. That's one more sign that Barr intends to hit the ground running at DoJ.

Another interesting aspect of Rosen's past experience is that in 2015-2016 he chaired the American Bar Association's Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. That's significant, because Trump has made administrative and regulatory reform a key feature of his administration. Both of Trump's SCOTUS appointments, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, have strong backgrounds and strong views in that area of the law. Having someone like Rosen with a strong background in administrative and regulatory law as DAG will be a major help to all departments.

Rosen, as Deputy AG, will supervise FBI Director Christopher Wray. However, I assume that Rosen will rely heavily on Barr's past experience with the FBI to guide him.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

First Sign Of A Barr Effect?

Has Adam Schiff got the inside word that Peter Strzok was right all along--that after 3 years or more of Deep State investigation and collusion there just ain't no 'there' there? Has McCabe's total outing of the Deep State Coup attempt got him running for cover? Is he trying to position himself for a possibly colder and crueler environment with Bill Barr running DoJ--complete with declassification and making foks available to testify? It sure looks that way. Look what he said on CNN's State of the Union:

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Bill Barr, Trump's Tax Records, And The Impeachment Fishing Expedition

Traditionally, presidents and vice presidents have voluntarily released their tax returns. President Trump has declined to do so, and it's no secret that those returns are at the top of the Democrat wish list. Those with some background in investigative matters will know that Congress has made it extremely difficult for anyone except the IRS to get their hands on tax returns. However there is a significant exception to the general rule of non-disclosure. 26 USC 6103(f) allows certain Congressional committees seemingly blanket access to tax returns:

(f) Disclosure to Committees of Congress
(1) Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation
Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.

It sounds cut and dried, but is it?

UPDATED: More Re McCabe's Coup Plotting And Blame Shifting

I have to admit that I am, at times, puzzled by sundance at CTH. I give him full credit--he's done yeoman work on the Russia Hoax and other issues that I've taken full advantage of. And I'm certainly not alone in that regard. On the other hand, at other times he seems oddly tone deaf in analysis, and that seems to crop up in particular with regard to legal matters. I assume that reflects on his source(s).

For example, when the first information on McCabe's upcoming 60 Minutes interview was released sundance immediately proclaimed it some sort of legal strategic masterstroke--a view I found baffling, because I thought it was a bonehead move born of desperation:

The McCabe interview is, to me, remarkable. I can only assume that he knows he's going to jail and wants to be sure he won't be the only one. The actual effect of his previous leaks and now this interview is to completely out the Russia Hoax as--a hoax, from beginning to end. That may not be his or 60 Minutes' intent, but it will be the reality. 

By now, we've all seen that McCabe's camp realizes they've screwed up, big time. As I predicted, the general commentariat has quickly realized the enormity of his admissions, and McCabe is desperately attempting to backpedal--a maneuver that usually leads to a fall. In his case, another fall. Monica Showalter at American Thinker captures that:

Kimball On McCabe And The Deep State

For the last few days I've been juggling personal and family business with obsessively reading about McCabe's remarkable admissions--upcoming on 60 Minutes. For my money, a shortish piece--but here's a link to the full article--by Roger Kimball says it all. It really is this simple, once you get past all the subterfuges. Excerpts:


... Andrew McCabe, ... admits that he was at the center of a plot to unseat the President of the United States. The Times put it this way: ‘McCabe Says Justice Dept. Officials Had Discussions About Pushing Trump Out.’

There follows a few hundred words of brow-wrinkled prose about their ‘so alarmed,’ ‘dire concerns’ that the President had just fired their guy, FBI director James ‘higher loyalty’ Comey, that they got together and wondered how they could entice the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to collude (ooo, there’s that word!) to invoke the 25th Amendment and jettison a guy they didn’t approve of.

The Times story is cast in their best anodyne prose, carefully tilted to make it seem as if this was perfectly reasonable, business-as-usual stuff.

But it wasn’t reasonable, and it is business-as-usual only in a banana republic or a polity that is essentially ruled by hyper-bureaucratized administrative apparatus. [Comment: He means Deep State]

...

‘Justice Department Officials Had Discussions About Pushing Trump Out.’ Think about it. On May 9. the President fires his employee, James Comey. Panic in Bureau. Scarcely a week later, the Big Boy Scout, Robert Mueller is appointed by Rod Rosenstein to be Special Counsel in charge of the Get Trump battalion. It’s a real flood the zone operation. Pre-dawn raids, full-press intimidation, careers ruined.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Jack Goldsmith On "Barr’s Remarkable Non-Commitments About the Mueller Report"

Jack Goldsmith--

Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003

is on record that he expects Bill Barr to be a "great" Attorney General. For that reason his comments from Wednesday, 2/13/19, on Barr's confirmation hearing remarks as they relate to the release of all or part of the forthcoming Mueller report are well worth reading. Among other things you'll learn lots about what the special counsel regulations require in terms of a final report. But of most interest are his remarks that take off from John Dowd's stated expectation that there may well not be any report--or not one that is released to Congress or the public. And Dowd specifically noted that any Mueller report would have to go through an AG Barr.

Briefly, Goldsmith states:

“I don’t think there’ll be a report,” President Trump’s former attorney, John Dowd, recently told ABC News. “I will be shocked if anything regarding the president is made public, other than ‘We’re done.’” Referring to a possible report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Dowd suggested Mueller won’t release a detailed public accounting of the results of the investigation because he has nothing on Trump. 
Another reason there might not be a public report—or, at least, not much of one—is because William Barr, who will likely be attorney general by the end of the week, might not release one. It is Attorney General Barr’s decision, not Mueller’s, whether to give any information in Mueller’s report to Congress and the public. As we show in this post, Barr in his confirmation hearings committed himself to being transparent, consistent with a strict adherence to applicable laws and regulations. And the applicable laws and regulations require Barr to report very little to Congress or the public.  
...

Remember: The DNC Was NOT Hacked By The Russians

The current buzz about the Russia Hoax--which will certainly continue through the weekend and into next week--is about the apparent willingness of the disgraced former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe to demolish the whole Russia narrative in order to be sure that others will go down with him--and most of all, Rod Rosenstein. Paradoxically as it may seem, this may be a good time to recall a key part of the whole Russia Hoax narrative, one that has largely been ignored: the patently false claim that the DNC was hacked by Russians. This episode has special significance because of the active involvement of the Clinton campaign attorneys from Perkins Coie, who were also intimately involved in contracting with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS for the Steele "dossier" on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

Fortuitously, yesterday The Gateway Pundit had a guest article on the subject by no less an expert than William Binney (with an assist from Larry Johnson). For anyone not familiar with Binney, here is the Wikipedia version of his career:

Binney ... [after joining the Army with a BS in Math] was found to have strong aptitudes for mathematics, analysis, and code breaking, and served from 1965 to 1969 in the Army Security Agency before going to the NSA in 1970. 
Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as a Technical Director prior to becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, he co-founded a unit on automating signals intelligence with NSA research chief Dr. John Taggart. Binney's NSA career culminated as Technical Leader for intelligence in 2001. He has expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management, and mathematics (including set theory, number theory, and probability).
After retiring from the NSA, he founded, together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe, Entity Mapping, LLC, a private intelligence agency to market their analysis program to government agencies.

The Government took a dim view of Binney's post-retirement whistleblowing. Although Binney has never been arrested, much less tried, for any of his activities, Government efforts to discourage his activities led to incidents such as this:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

UPDATED: Woops!

UPDATE: I'm updating to add something I should have said originally. Assuming that Bill Barr is confirmed as AG, as expected, both he and Michael Horowitz at OIG may take a more than casual interest in this matter. It is a question of respecting a core institution of our criminal justice system, the Grand Jury.

MORE: Late yesterday there was word that the DoJ is actively investigating the leak of Michael Cohen's bank records. Those bank records were obtained via a Grand Jury subpoena, so that means the investigation involves a violation of Rule 6(e)(2)(B) -- see below. This pattern of occurrences could be seen as the Special Counsel's modus operandi--leaks of Grand Jury testimony and material.

END UPDATE

Roger Stone's attorneys have filed a motion requesting a "Show Cause Order". What this means is that Stone's attorneys believe that, in the facts that they allege in the motion, they establish a prima facie case that Grand Jury secrecy rules codified in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure have been violated by the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC). Specifically, this refers to the fact that CNN had a "draft" copy of the Stone indictment at the time of Stone's arrest--two and a half hours before the indictment was unsealed by the Court. Not only that, but CNN is stated to have told Stone's attorneys that they received the "draft" from the OSC. The problem with that is that the indictment had been sealed by the Court at the OSC's request, but the "draft" copy was in fact identical to the supposedly sealed indictment--the copy in CNN's possession could only have come from the Government, as per CNN's statement, and is identical to the indictment that the Court ordered sealed.

So, Stone's attorneys are asking that the OSC be required to show cause why they didn't commit contempt of the court order that sealed the indictment. In other words, the OSC should be required to rebut the prima facie case that Stone's attorneys claim they have established. That would involve presenting some reason to believe that the disclosure was made by some person outside the OSC.

The person most affected by this motion is the "AAW" who drafted the indictment: Andrew Weissmann, senior deputy to special counsel Robert S. Mueller. Will this be a case of live by the leak, die by the leak?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

John Dowd Speaks Out

ABC News has done a bang up interview with former Trump attorney John Dowd. For anyone who doesn't know who John Dowd is, read his Wikipedia page: John Dowd. Big league player, attorney, big time experience both in the law and in Washington.

I've edited and condensed the transcript of the interview, boiled it down. Read the original for all the detail and the full context, uncondensed, listen to the audio. But it really speaks pretty much for itself. I've bolded what I thought jumps out. Here goes:


ABC NEWS' KYRA PHILLIPS: So, John, word is the Mueller report is going to drop within the next couple of weeks.

JOHN DOWD: I don't think there'll be a report. The rules of the department say, no report.

ABC NEWS' CHRIS VLASTO: So you don't think the public's gonna see anything. You think it's $40 million. Mueller investigated it. And that's it.

DOWD: The idea that you would take that information and make it public, you know, violates the whole concept of the grand jury. What's the grand jury for? To protect the innocent. ... Does that ever get reported? No.

PHILLIPS: Do you respect what Mueller is doing? I know you know Mueller well.

DOWD: Well, I respected it in the beginning. My style is I always trust the other side, until I didn't. In my opinion, on March 5th, we were done. He had everything. He said he had everything. He told me that no one had lied. He told me they had every document we asked for. He told me that it was nothing more. He told me that the president was not a target. That is, he did not have any exposure, that he was a witness subject, which is perfectly normal for someone's conduct you're looking at, but they don't have exposure. What people don't understand about the president is you have too much information in your life. I mean, the amount of information that he intakes every day, gets prepared for, is staggering. And in my questioning him or talking to him--you know, first question, easy. Second question, easy. Third question, he wasn't sure. And he doesn't like being unsure. So he'll guess. There's your trap, right there. It's not whether he lies or not. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Convergences

A remark I made following the most recent blog post,

What's needed is what amounts to a spiritual makeover of "the American people," one that would allow for a principled remake of the country. 

sparked two comments from differing yet converging perspectives.

Commenter Joe addressed this remark from a specifically Catholic perspective and related it to the upsurge of abortion extremism in the US. Obviously this relates, as well, to politics in the Trump era. Trump's strong support of pro-life policies, including in his judicial appointments, is well known. Further, he is well known to listen closely to the advice of a devout Catholic, Kellyanne Conway--who was also the primary writer of Trump's wildly successful and outspokenly pro-life SOTU address. Joe goes so far as to tentatively relate some of what we're seeing in our public life to possible "End Times" signs. Rod Dreher addresses those darker concerns in light of recent events in a riveting blog: The Age Of Antichrist.

On the other hand, commenter Steven Fine wrote from a specifically Jewish perspective, drawing attention to "Catholic concern over Islamization and other issues as expressed by William Kilpatrick" at Crisis Magazine. The relation of these Catholic concerns (Islamization, abortion, gender politics, etc.) to the politics of both the Trump presidency and the West in general is clear enough. However, Steve also draws attention to the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Benedict XVI (as was, Joseph Ratzinger as is) and his replacement by Jorge Bergoglio, currently known as Francis I (I won't get into the fraught controversies over these events). It's not hard to see that Steve relates Bergoglio's policies regarding immigration as playing very much into "Islamization," both in Europe and in the US. That conservative Jews should share those Catholic concerns is not new. However, coming as they do at a time of the Vatican II Church's growing embrace of Islam, in tandem with the increasingly overt anti-Semitism of the Left--with which the Catholic bishops typically align--must be troubling. Bergoglio's own well known and close ties to Soros operatives can only add to that sense of alarm.

So, the convergence I see in these two commenters is the recognition and concern that the Catholic Church--arguably the central institution of the Western world--should be playing a conservative role (in the broad sense of preserving the cultural principles of the West) but is instead abandoning that traditional role. The moral and spiritual leadership that not only Catholics but also non-Catholics have come to rely upon--in the moral, spiritual, and intellectual arenas--is degenerating into a modernist style Babel and withdrawal from any claims to leadership.

That appearance of collapse was only strengthened last week when Bergoglio traveled to the Dar-al-Islam--the House of Islam, Abu Dhabi--to formally renounce the Catholic faith in favor of a type of Neo-Gnostic syncretism, claiming: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, ... are willed by God in His wisdom.” The symbolism of the event could not have been starker, and it should be raising alarms among all those--Catholic and non-Catholic alike--who share a concern for not merely the health but the very survival of Western civilization.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Here's The Difference.

As you'll recall, back when Devin Nunes was still chairman of the House Intel Committee, Adam Schiff launched an 8 month ethics inquiry into Nunes because Nunes had met with a source without informing the committee. This arguably slowed down the GOP investigation into the Russia Hoax.

Today we've learned that Schiff met personally with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS in July at a security conference in Aspen, CO. It now seems certain, based on Bruce Ohr's recently leaked testimony, that Simpson lied in his own testimony to the Intel Committee.

Will GOPers play turnabout and demand an ethics inquiry into Schiff?

They may, but here's the difference.

When Nunes was sidelined the Speaker of the House was NeverTrumper Paul Ryan.

Nancy Pelosi, also a NeverTrumper--same party!--is now the Speaker.

See the difference?

Won't happen.