Thursday, July 2, 2020

UPDATED: Bill Barr Is Still On The Job

AG Bill Barr's impeachment by the Dem's House may be imminent, but he continues to imperturbably do his job. It's almost like he just doesn't care about anything except the common good of the American nation. Refreshing.

Item: Some jerk named Jason Charter has been arrested as an Antifa leader who was in charge of the attempt to topple Andrew Jackson. He apparently has also been identified as a ringleader in the assault on Jack Posobiec. Who thinks that if enforcement of the law with regard to Antifa were left to Chris Wray at the FBI this would be happening? I don't. What other AG of recent memory would be willing to get in the Dem House's face in this way while they threatened his impeachment?

Item: Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's groomer and procurer, has been arrested by the FBI. The indictment is said to target the years 1994-1997 (wait, who was president then?), and Techno Fog promises a thread on why those years are important.

Sean Davis asks an interesting question about the timing of the arrest:

Is it just a coincidence that a mere two weeks after Attorney General Bill Barr fired Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, that the FBI and DOJ finally arrested and charged Jeffrey Epstein's madam?

Believe this or not, but there are actually people out there on the internet who don't believe this was a coincidence! Not only that, but the same people are asking questions like: What else was Berman holding up? Who else thinks Chris Wray never would have done anything like this, but for Barr? How many AGs never moved against Epstein's operation over the past 20 years?

Does this tell us something about why the Dems were so irate about Berman's removal?

By the way, how did Ghislaine Maxwell wind up in Bradford, NH--population 356? Was she there to see the Bement Covered Bridge, or ... what? Gotta be a story there.

In the meantime, employment numbers for the Trump recovery are stunning.

ADDENDUM: I'm not actually that interested in this case from any legal standpoint, but Jonathan Turley is--and I'll share that interest:

Maxwell's arrest could be bad news for a number of individuals including Prince Andrew. One wrinkle however is the outrageous plea deal struck by the Justice Department with Epstein that purportedly protects "co-conspirators."

Epstein Confidante Maxwell Arrested In New Hampshire
"In a surprising move, Ghislaine Maxwell, the British heiress and confidante to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire. Maxwell’s arrest  could have a ripple effect on both criminal and civil matters ranging from the still uncertain status of Prince Andrew to a number of defamation lawsuits."
... That deal however was not lawfully executed by Jim [sic--should be Alex] Acosta who did a great disservice not only to justice but more importantly these victims. Ironically, the improper role played by the Justice Department in the case may actually help it now with any prosecution of Maxwell.
We now have the indictment. Any problem with the Acosta deal made be avoided by not just attacking the validity of the agreement, as noted, but reliance on multiple perjury counts stemming from depositions (which would not be impacted by the agreement, even if enforceable).

Six counts:

Count 1-2: Enticement of a Minor To Travel To Engage In Illegal Sex Acts
Count 3-4:  Transportation Of A Minor With Intent To Engage In Criminal Sexual Activity
Count 5-6: Perjury

Turley thinks Berman wasn't holding anything up re Epstein/Maxwell. That's very charitable of him, given the past history of unusual legal proceedings and deals in this case.

UPDATE: Well, there is a story about Bradford, NH, and Maxwell. It sounds like she may have been hiding out there, while rumors put her in Paris. Per Techno Fog:

Ghislaine Maxwell - new info from the US Detention Memo: 
1) The grand jury returned the indictment on 6/29/20 
2) Maxwell has 15+ bank accounts. Some hold more than $20 million. 
3) Transfers of millions $$ to/from Epstein 
4) Cash purchase of 156 acre NH Property in 2019

According to the detention memo:

Most recently, the defendant appears to have been hiding on a 156-acre property acquired in an all-cash purchase in December 2019 (through a carefully anonymized LLC) in Bradford, New Hampshire, an area to which sha has no other known connections.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Remember Bruce Ohr?

Bruce Ohr was, in 2016, the highest non-political appointee official in the DoJ. He also worked as an informant for the FBI without telling his superiors--hey, that's his story--and was a handler for Chris Steele. His wife Nellie was a ham radio enthusiast and, in her spare time, did Russia related oppo research against Trump and Trump family members for Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS--all funded by the Clinton campaign, as laundered by Clinton lawyer and all around consigliere, Marc Elias.

Well, Bruce Ohr is still around and, after receiving several serious demotions, is still at DoJ. He also is still an important witness to all things Russia Hoax, and in that capacity he testified yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee--behind closed doors. There were no leaks and no announcements of what was said, but we know there would be many fascinating topics the GOP senators would want to discuss with Ohr. Ohr would, of course, have much to say about political bias at the FBI and DoJ, relations among those entities and Fusion GPS--stuff we've all heard about. Another topic of interest--and one for which Ohr was very specifically targeted by Michael Horowitz' OIG report--has to do with the fact that Ohr, while claiming not to have briefed his superiors on what he was doing on DoJ time, admitted to keeping subordinates like Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmed (both later of Team Mueller fame) fully informed on the Russia Hoax in the second half of 2016. Horowitz pointedly stated in his report that, beyond Ohr's many other improper actions, Ohr had absolutely no reason for sharing any such information about a highly sensitive FBI investigation with persons who had no official need to know--not even remotely.

This appears to be another instance in which Durham has completed work on all aspects of his investigation that involve Ohr and for that reason Durham (and Barr) are now willing to make Ohr available as a witness to the Senate--under strict conditions, such as, no public testimony. Sidney Powell may have been alluding to this mode of operation on Durham's part in her interview with Jan Jekielek. Powell noted that only after every single Brady motion she made had been turned down by Sullivan did DoJ on its own begin to turn over portions of the material she had requested. Powell pointed out that she believed that some of the material lacked the usual government markings and stated that she believed that it had come to her via Durham's shop.

While I have no experience with such high stakes public corruption investigations of high DoJ or FBI officials as we see in the Durham investigation, my belief is that the reason that Ohr (and other officials who were key witnesses) has been kept on board has to do with the investigators maintaining tight control over him. That control would be lost if Ohr (or the others) left government employment. In other words, I'm suggesting that a deal was made with Ohr--full cooperation and continued employment as long as the investigation has a need for his cooperation. The fact that, unlike most other key figures in the Russia Hoax, Ohr remains employed at DoJ, is an indicator to me of how important his information and cooperation is to the Durham investigation.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Brief Flynn Case Update - 6/30/17

Yesterday Jan Jekielek of The Epoch Times came out with an interview with Flynn lead attorney Sidney Powell. The interview is nearly an hour long and I'm not done with it yet. However, at the very beginning there is a brief exchange in which Powell explains the current status of the case. Or tries to. In effect, she is only able to speculate about what is going on with Sullivan. Here is my transcript, which I offer because it may answer some of the typical questions that are asked. One word of explanation. While Powell states that the Court of Appeals doesn't set an explicity time within which its order must be complied with, the standard time period for executing orders is something like 21 days (I'll be happy to be corrected on that if I'm mistaken). It's possible that Sullivan intends to simply delay for that period of time, given that he has suspended his other activity in the case. Here's the exchange:

Q: Jan Jekielek 
A: Sidney Powell 
Q: Let's talk about where we are today. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has basically said, has ordered Judge Sullivan, to close the case. And I think he had 24 hours to do so and he didn't do it. So, What's going on? Where are we at here? 
A: Well, they don't really put a time limit on the order, but I can't say in my decades of practice--and we're not going to number those--that I've ever seen a judge NOT do what he was told to do by what's called a writ of mandamus or extraordinary writ--an order directly from the Circuit Court of Appeals to do something. They always do it within 24 to 48 hours. I just haven't seen that happen, with the possible exception of one case way back when. I had to get a writ of mandamus issued against a federal district judge TWICE in the same case. Now we are certainly hoping that doesn't have to happen here and that the order will be signed shortly, because he's [Sullivan's] not a party to the case. That doesn't mean the full court can't review the case on its own, but it would be unprecedented to do so in these circumstances.

That's where we stand for now. As I indicated above, my best guess is that Sullivan intends to delay up to the point that delay would become defiance. That would bring us up to approximately July 15, the day before his previously scheduled hearing, set for July 16. That hearing was suspended by Sullivan's own order. That would simply be Sullivan giving the Court of Appeals the bird.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Voting Isn't Enough: An End To Silence?

Today I link two articles that address the problem of conservative silence. We hear often of a "silent majority." The term describes a real phenomenon in America, but it also describes a real problem for conservatives who seek to form a culture that embodies their values.

A majority that is afraid to speak its views in the public square is a serious problem for any society that is dedicated to the principle of representative government. In the past governments attempted to suppress speech that governments disapproved of. That type of speech suppression by the governing authorities is what our First Amendment was designed to eliminate. The idea behind the First Amendment was that a free marketplace of information and ideas would be the best way to combat harmful ideas.

Today we face a somewhat different problem. A hegemonistic cultural Establishment--yet one with close ties to political actors and instiututions--has obtained control over core institutions in our society: educational institutions, the greater part of the media, much of the executive governing institutions, as well as our public judical philosophy for the most part. They have done this in the name of a Leftist ideology that is allied to the political effort to "fundamentally transform" America and its constitutional order. And in support of that effort they actively seek to to suppress dissenting speech or the expression of ideas that oppose their own. This hegemonistic imperative is advanced as often as not by private actors rather than by the government, and when the government is involved the enforcement is often "subcontracted" to private actors who rely upon novel judicial interpretations to threaten employment and livelihood to enforce conformity.

And so I offer these two articles that address this unique problem that we face.

Slow Blogging

Newsworthy items were scarce yesterday. In addition, for several days I have been/will be cooperating with a project related to the usual topics covered here. Therefore, blogging may be scant for a few days. I will, of course, enable comments.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Liberal's Full Throated Defense Of Barr

I'll pretty much just point to the article in question. It's by Jonathan Turley, one of the few liberals left with a sense of decency and who also values basic constitutional values and the rule of law:

Think twice about why the media attacks William Barr

What Turley has to say about Barr's personality and character in general fits in well with what I consider to have been the very positive impression made in his interview with Senator Ted Cruz. Nobody who knows anything about Barr questions his dedication and determination, which matches his legal acumen. Like Turley some may disagree with Barr on particular issues--that's to be expected--but no one doubts his commitment to staying the course when he takes on a task. Here are a few excerpts that touch on that:

Piling on Barr has never been more popular — but the basis for this criticism has never been weaker. Three particular news stories seemed to break entirely free from any factual or legal moorings, and no one seemed to care.
Legitimate objections can be raised about Barr’s policies; I’ve criticized him for some of those, and we have disagreed for decades over constitutional law and executive branch power. However, I’ve never known a more honest, direct person in Washington. Barr’s real flaw is his lack of concern over the optics of his actions; he spends much time thinking about the right action to take and little time about how it is presented or perceived.

 The three particular cases that have recently been raised in impugning Barr's judgment but more particularly his integrity--and which Turly examines in some detail--are these:

The Flynn case

The Berman matter

The Cohen matter

If any of that interests you, follow the link.

Strzok, Page, Baker Emails Re Logan Act

Catherine Herridge has a twitter thread in which she provides images of two internal FBI email exchanges early in the work day of January 4, 2017. Those email exchanges involve Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and James A. Baker. First, here is an image of the emails:

Now, bear in mind that James A. Baker was at the time the top legal guy at the FBI--he was General Counsel, which means that he was disgraced former FBI Director James Comey's personal lawyer for official purposes. Lisa Page's exact position in the organizational pecking order is a bit more ambiguous, but as Counsel to the Deputy Director, Andy McCabe--who was in charge of day to day operations--she would ipso facto have a lot of clout.

The first email is from Lisa Page to James Baker, and is captioned: "code section at question." I wonder whether Page means "code section IN question"? The entire text of the email is simply the United States Code citation to the Logan Act: "18 USC 953".

What's going on here?

Informed Opinion On Covid?

My wife and I were lamenting yesterday the glaring lack of transparency regarding SARS CoV-2 (i.e., Covid). I've long since come to the view that this lack of transparency on the part of most of our State and local governments and the public health authorities can only be explained by political motives. There's no health related reason why, at this point, we should not have access to the data that they have. Not to put too fine a point on it, Lib Prog fear mongering must be behind the lack of transparency. The fact of the matter is, you know and I know that--after months of the pandemic--there is no lack of relevant data out there, collected by government health officials. Yet somehow that relevant data is, for the most part, not being pushed out to the people (you and me) who need it to respond rationally. It's as if there are people or 'folks' who don't want us to know, who don't want us to be part of the decision making process.

Amid the talk of a new surge of "cases", I want to know what a "case" is, how that relates to hospitalizations and deaths, and who these people who have become "cases" actually are. More, I'd like to know how they became "cases."

Now along comes the State of Florida--and Avik Roy to explain what's going one there. Maybe this data--which unfortunately doesn't include data on contact tracing, the "how"--will suggest a rational course of action. I don't think Roy can be mistaken for a hardcore Trump apologist. This data raises serious questions about what's currently going on, both medically and politically. It's certainly a useful starting place for informed discussion:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Two Recommended Reads 6/26/17

The first one is for those who need a dose of optimism to cheer them up. It's by Conrad Black, who writes elegantly and reasons cogently--and has been in the belly of the Swamp Beast:

The Democrats Indulge in a Death Wish
Maybe voters should grant their wish.

The second is a real head shaker. In a way it works with Black's article, in that I just can't conceive that America is remotely ready for this. Andrea Widburg draws attention to what many of you have surely noticed:

In the maddened leftist world, it’s women who are taking the lead

Here's just the first few paragraphs--lots of goodness follows:
We’ve all been watching, stupefied, as increasing numbers of men insist that they are, in fact, women. Theories range from hormonal imbalances due to women taking the Pill before pregnancy, to missing fathers, to leftist social and cultural indoctrination. Watching the escalating madness from the American left, though, it is starting to look as if men want to be women because women on the left have all the power (a theory I advance with no small degree of sarcasm).
In a must-read post, Monica Showalter described the way in which white leftists are taking over the Black Lives Matter movement: 
According to a new study from Pew Research, blacks are far from the top racial minority group involved in these protests. 
Wow. Only one in six protestors is actually black, and based on the photos seen of anti-racism protests, it's a lot less than that, except of course, if they've put blacks at the back of the line or something. But in reality, it sounds like [BET Founder Robert] Johnson is right in that Blacks would rather not get involved. This is whitey's show.

More On Fallout From The Strzok Notes

Please note that I have corrected this post based on info from commenter Cassander--Sally Yates was NOT Acting AG at the time of the Oval Office meeting re Flynn.

The enormity of the revelation from the Peter Strzok notes is slowly starting to sink in. It's not that the notes reveal things that--realistically--we didn't know already. It's that we can now look to the future and get some idea of what could be in the offing--what has the Progs and Libs and crazy Lefties of all sorts bouncing off the walls.

Let me start my pasting in some dressed up comments from earlier this morning, exchanges with commenters.

My initial impression upon looking at the Strzok notes was that they appeared to have been taken by a participant at the Oval Office meeting involving Obama, Biden, Sally Yates (NB: Did AG Loretta Lynch absent herself deliberately?) and disgraced former FBI Director Jim Comey. But there's no way that a guy at Strzok's level could have been present at such a meeting. We'll probably find out later how it worked. I don't believe Comey could have recorded it, so I'm guessing--just a guess--that Comey took notes on his way back to FBIHQ and then, as part of a briefing for the Russia Hoax inner circle at FBIHQ, read the notes to participants in that briefing--who took notes on Comey's notes. Perhaps if we could get a look at the redacted portions of the notes we'd understand fully. Or, perhaps Strzok wasn't actually present at that Comey briefing but received a second hand briefing, and took notes from someone else who was reading their notes from the Comey briefing.

However it worked, the very fact that there were any such briefings raises interesting prospects for the future, prospects that the Barr/Durham investigation is unquestionably focused on. We have to presume that at the Comey briefing issues that flowed from the Oval Office meeting were discussed. Issues like: Where do we go from here? What concrete steps do we at the FBI take?

Durham will want to know--among other things:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Great Interview With AG Barr

This is a very wideranging interview with Bill Barr on Verdict with Ted Cruz. Among the topics covered: The Flynn Case, the Strzok notes, Antifa, Big Tech censorship, media bias and news suppression, the Berman firing--and why Barr agreed to return to DoJ when it was certain to be nothing but headaches. It's about 30 minutes long and well worth the time spent watching it.

Did Obama Try To Throw Comey Under The Bus

As if we needed confirmation, yesterday's developments in the Flynn case--both the Court of Appeals' decision but especially the bombshell Strzok notes disclosure--demonstrate that the Establishment media has failed with Fake News and has adopted the tactic of News Suppression. It was still stunning to realize that virtually nothing was said in the Establishment media about Obama's statements in the Oval Office meeting with disgraced FBI Director Jim Comey and Acting AG Sally Yates--as well as Joe Biden. Those statements were recorded in notes taken by disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok, probably as briefed by Comey after the meeting. Obama clearly urged the FBI Director to take official actions that the FBI Director had stated were unwarranted, because the matter under discussion "appeared legit."

Imagine if it had become known that Trump--or any Republican president you care to name--had said in similar circumstances:

Make sure you look at things, have the right people on it.

The collective howl from the Establishment media would have been heard around the globe. We would have had a mob descend upon the White House, probably including multiple GOP senators.

It seems clear to me that at this stage in the transition the Obama administration still had hopes of preventing Trump's inauguration. The lengths to which they were willing to go in that effort are revealed by Strzok's notes. It's worth taking another look at Susan Rice's email-to-self in light of these new revelations.

The Rice email has always been suspicious. For starters, the email was patently an exercise in ass covering: the "by the book" admonition attributed to Obama is really the main point of the email. This becomes apparent when we recollect several facts: