Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Just Like Nazi Germany!

Right! Remember Basil Fawlty in The Germans? "That's just how Nazi Germany got started!"

And now it's happening right here. At least according to Linda Ronstadt. Trust me--she's got it all figured out.

Who Paid For The Russia Hoax?

We did! You and I--Joe taxpayers. We pay the salaries of the bureaucrats at DoJ, the FBI, the CIA, the DoS and the NSC--the bureaucrats who tried to stage a coup.

OK, that's hardly news, but there's another less direct way in which taxpayer funding helped pay for the Russian Hoax: through grants to Non Government Organizations (NGOs). Today at The American Thinker Leo Goldstein discusses one particular such NGO, and his discussion plays into a blog I did back in November: The American Empire And Its Enemies.

Goldstein's article is The Russia Hoax Was Aided by NGOs Peddling Junk Science, but rather than focusing on the junk science angle, I want to point out the political connections, the confluence of persons, organizations, and--of course--MONEY. With that in mind, here's how Goldstein begins:

Some of the most vicious anti-Trump voices have come from US government-funded Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), affiliated with the State Department, Big Tech, and Soros afiliates. Many of these NGOs have existed since the Cold War, with a mandate to promote freedom and democracy abroad. They are forbidden to operate in the US, especially in partisan fashion. 

Note that well. These NGOs were set up to advance the cause of freedom and democracy, but they've been coopted by the international Left and the Democrat Party to advance their own cause--which happens to be what Obama termed the "fundamental transformation" of America. It's subordination to the new Globalist order.

Two Highly Recommended Impeachment Reads

Christopher Roach, an attorney, has published two articles on impeachment during the past two weeks. They're both excellent, clear expositions of the principles behind what's going on. While it's impossible for Roach to offer an entirely dispositive opinion on how Trump and the Senate should proceed--simply because political considerations will inevitably intrude--his discussion is conceptually useful. By presenting a clear conceptual framework and understanding of impeachment under our Constitution, we get a better idea how whatever path is chosen should be framed in order to stand with the principles of our constitutional order.

I won't attempt to summarize each article--while very readable, they're also thorough and need to be digested fully. However, a few remarks ...

The first article, published today, presents the case for simply dismissing the articles of impeachment: Can the Senate Dismiss the Impeachment Without a Trial? It can and it should. Roach's argument is principled and is one with which I'm entirely in agreement--except that I tend to believe that the president would be better served politically by a vote to acquit. Nevertheless, I highly recommend the article in its entirety because Roach presents his case well and, in so doing, also presents a fairly thorough comparison of impeachment trials to ordinary criminal trials. My one reservation is that, while of course it's inevitable that Roach should proceed by way of analogy, I believe that analogizing of the House to a grand jury is insufficient and, in key aspects, misleading. When he gets to the Senate's role he recognizes that such analogies can't be pressed too far.

Here is his conclusion--and bear in mind that his conclusion is based on his previous pretty thorough presentation:

Recommended Reads: Fear Of Juries And Predictions For 2020

There's a thoughtful article this morning at American Conservative--Why Americans Fear Trial by Jury. As if the testimony of NSA whistleblowers about the government's spying capabilities weren't enough to scare you out of dissent from establishment CW, this article explains why it's such a bad idea to try to explain to twelve of your peers that your innocent of ... whatever. Is this really what Magna Carta was about?

However, I recommend this article in particular because the author gets into the whole concepts of "conspiracy" and "honest services fraud"--which I have suggested as the basis for draining the Swamp that gave us the Russia Hoax and the Mueller Witchhunt. The author critiques those concepts in the context of the college admissions scandal, and the prosecution of the celebrity parents. Here's a relevant excerpt:

The federal charge was not aimed at the acts themselves but merely at a conspiracy to commit a crime—what the great American jurist Learned Hand warned against, calling such charges the “darling of the modern prosecutor’s nursery.” Conspiracy is loved by prosecutors because the defendant does not have to commit a crime, just generally plan something with someone else. In this case, it was about hiring an educational services agent whom the government charged with “honest services” fraud. 
The celebrities themselves did not commit such fraud but “conspired” with the agent “facilitator” to do so. Depriving another of his right to honest services is itself a problematic concept, since, as defense attorney Jeremy Hogan has asked, what if you tip a waiter for a corner table? You would apparently be guilty of depriving other customers of the honest services of that restaurant. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was blunter, asking how is it fair “to prosecute someone for a crime that has not been defined until the judicial decision that sends him to jail.”

Before you jump aboard the St. Antonin Scalia bandwagon, I would caution that the same sainted jurist found FISA and the criminalization of "lying to the FBI" essentially unproblematic. There's more to this whole problem than these two paragraphs suggest.

Monday, December 30, 2019

UPDATED: Should Pompeo Be Gone ASAP?

As I've indicated before, I have no use for Mike Pompeo--I see him as undermining President Trump's foreign policy goals at every turn. The latest events in Syraq are reinforcing not only my misgivings but those of many others. Here's one long analysis at Zerohedge: Did Pompeo Go Off Reservation In Iraq Attack? Note the silence of Trump. Has he finally decided, as with Bolton and McMaster and the others, that he can't be president with Pompeo around?

Here is Mark Steyn with a Colonel Macgregor. As Steyn notes at the beginning, America has blown trillions on its wars with nothing to show for it. How long can this go on? How can Trump tolerate insubordination? Can he get reelected if his anti-war platform is yanked out from under his feet?

UPDATE 1: Maybe it would be a good idea to have, like, a national conversation on matters of fundamental importance--like war and peace--before the SecState goes off half-cocked trying to start major land wars in Asia? We could discuss concepts like ... why? Or, Are there alternatives?

UPDATE 2: I'm not a reflexive Buchananite by any means, however Pat offers some thoughts here that are worth pondering: How Trump Can Derail His Own Reelection - Stumble Into War. My view is that Making America Great Again begins at home, and having Trump as president for as long as possible is our best hope for making significant progress toward that goal. We have enough problems to solve right here in America. That doesn't mean abandoning our legitimate role in the world--as if that could be done. But it does mean avoiding own goals, such as stupid wars. Buchanan:
Trump is eager to make good on his promises and remove many of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before Election Day. Yet such a move is not without risks. Given the strength of the Taliban, the casualties they are able to inflict, the inability of the Afghan army to hold territory, and the constant atrocities in the capital city of Kabul, a Saigon ’75 end to the Afghan war is not outside the realm of the possible.
Nor is a shooting war with Iran that rivets the nation’s attention.
Yesterday, U.S. F-15s, in five attacks, hit munitions depots and a command center of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in Syria and Iraq, a retaliatory raid for a rocket attack on a U.S. training camp that killed an American contractor and wounded four U.S. soldiers.
“For those who ask about the response,” warns a Kataib Hezbollah spokesman, “it will be the size of our faith.”
One has to expect Iran and its militia in Iraq to respond in kind.
They have a track record. During 2019, with its economy choked by U.S. sanctions, Iran and its allies sabotaged oil tankers in the Gulf, shot down a $130 million U.S. Predator drone, and shut down with missiles and drones half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
In former times, a confrontation or shooting war often benefitted the incumbent, as there was almost always a rallying to the flag. Those days are gone. This generation has had its fill of wars.

About Those NSA Databases

Larry Johnson has a great post today over at Sic Semper Tyrannis: We Were Warned About the Deep State, but Refused to Listen. Read it all--it's not that long. Here's a thumbnail of it, and the two videos that Johnson links (also not that long), which really give a great picture of Deep State capabilities. Be sure to watch both.

To start with, it's necessary to understand that there are no real good guys in this--except for the whistleblowers. Binney and Tice are real whistleblowers, not bureaucratic, political hitmen like Ciaramella and his ilk.

The expansive data collection that continues to this day began shortly after 9/11, under Dubya--and accelerated under Obama. For all the posturing by elected officials, it has been bipartisan pretty much from the start.

In one of the videos, Bill Binney--the same guy who says that the DNC "hack" was an inside job--maintains that this expansive program is 1) not necessary to protect against terrorists, and 2) increases the size of the haystack that needs to be searched. Binney and Tice communicate the true extent of the domestic spying--and it's mind blowing.

Here's what Johnson says with specific reference to what was done to Trump:

Is Obama In Barr's Crosshairs?

In this season of joy, Impeachment Theater, FISA reports, and Barr and Durham speaking out, Eric Zuesse has an interesting article at Zerohedge on a topic that I've pondered since much earlier this year. Zuesse suggests that the Russiagate Investigation Now Endangers Obama.

Zuesse doesn't offer too much in the way of specifics--possible charges, for example--but he does focus on the legal jeopardy in which disgraced former FBI Director finds himself, and what that could mean for Obama. This is an important point, and I, for one, don't find it far fetched:

Former US President Barack Obama is now in severe legal jeopardy, because the Russiagate investigation has turned 180 degrees; and he, instead of the current President, Donald Trump, is in its cross-hairs. 
The biggest crime that a US President can commit is to try to defeat American democracy (the Constitutional functioning of the US Government) itself, either by working with foreign powers to take it over, or else by working internally within America to sabotage democracy for his or her own personal reasons. ... and Mr. Obama is now being actively investigated, as possibly having done this. ...

Zuesse's speculation comes in the context of the OIG FISA report and the subsequent FISC order, both highly critical of Comey's--and Obama's--FBI. In that regard he quotes from a remarkable response that AG Bill Barr gave to Comey's defense of himself for the FBI's FISA abuses. Barr frankly placed responsibility squarely on Comey and called Comey a liar:

On December 18th, Martha McCallum, of Fox News, interviewed US Attorney General Bill Barr, and asked him (at 7:00 in the video) how high up in the FBI the blame for this (possible treason) goes: 
MACCALLUM: Were you surprised that he [Obama’s FBI Director James Comey] seemed to give himself such a distance from the entire operation? 
“JAMES COMEY: As the director sitting on top of an organization of 38,000 people you can’t run an investigation that’s seven layers below you. You have to leave it to the career professionals to do.” 
MACCALLUM: Do you believe that? 
BARR: No, I think that the — one of the problems with what happened was precisely that they pulled the investigation up to the executive floors, and it was run and bird dogged by a very small group of very high level officials. And the idea that this was seven layers below him is simply not true.

That's extremely plain speech coming from an AG, and bodes ill for Comey. Zuesse follows this up by pointing out the impact of Comey's situation on Obama, emphasizing the collusion with foreign intelligence services that began at some point in 2015. Zuesse, misguidedly, tries to tie this to a "treason" theory, but I say it plays very nicely into the overall big picture conspiracy theory:

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Educated Idiots

Yesterday commenter Anonymous linked to a tweet by one John Sipher:

Sipher describes himself as:

Former CIA Clandestine Service. Sometimes writes and talks about stuff. Good Father, Decent Husband and Excellent dog owner. Much nicer than my picture suggests

Which suggests that he treats his dog better than his wife and kids. Or maybe that he simply likes his dog better. Whatever!

Does it disturb you to learn that a former member of the CIA Clandestine Service would espouse such a naively idiotic opinion? After all, doesn't the CIA recruit mainly in the Ivy Leagues? Of course, that same idiotic opinion was palmed off by coup plotter extraordinaire SSA Joe Pientka [is that Joe Friday in Polish?] to DoJ's Office of "Intelligence". Lawyers are supposed to be educated, in a sorta way, I guess. And presumably DoJ accepted the goofball suggestion that foreigners, just because they're foreigners, have no interest in or preference as to whom Americans elect as our president. Go figure, eh? Educated idiots!

So I was already sensitized--or triggered?--to the whole idea of educated idiocy when, this morning, I read Byron York's fascinating No, the Senate is not a jury, and other misconceptions about impeachment. The article wasn't fascinating because I learned anything new by reading it--I didn't, and I doubt, I hope, that any reader of this blog will learn anything new from York's article. Even though I recommend it. Rather, it was fascinating because it afforded a remarkable insight into the mentality of educated idiots.

The article centers around the views of one Timothy Snyder. Here is York's description of Snyder:

Saturday, December 28, 2019

SSA 1 Joe Pientka And Chris Steele

Jeff Carlson has produced a long and thorough summary of FBI official (aka SSA 1) Joe Pientka's involvment in the FBI's attempt to sabotage the Trump campaign and presidency. Pientka, of course, is probably best known for his role in the FBI's framing of Michael Flynn--he, along with Peter Strzok, interviewed Flynn in the White House. However, as we've discussed, Pientka played a central role in the entire Russia Hoax, serving as Strzok's right hand man, a handler for both Chris Steele and Bruce Ohr. He was also involved, as documented by the OIG report, in selecting the informants to target against the Trump campaign. Carlson also points out that the OIG report documents that Pientka was very well aware of derogatory information regarding Steele as well as information that totally undercut the entire basis for the FBI's FISA applications against Carter Page. For example, Pientka knew that, although Steele characterized Page as the go between for Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign and the Russian government, in fact Page had essentially no contact with Manafort whatsoever--that whole narrative was known to be BS.

Carlson's whole summary is worth reading: FBI Agent Who Interviewed Gen. Flynn Played Critical Role in Trump Campaign Investigation. However, this brief passage gives a flavor for Pientka's MO, and also contains something that I found rather amusing.

UPDATED: A Unified GOP Impeachment Strategy

While the idea of a blowout, all-the-witnesses-in-the-world, Senate trial was tempting, I eventually came down on the side of refusing to dignify the Dem House Impeachment Theater in that way. That aspect of the anti-Trump coup attempt is probably better handled in the long run by Barr and Durham.

In the meantime, Mitch McConnell has been sounding out the Senate GOP and coordinating with the White House. According to The Hill (via the NY Post), Trump impeachment: Senate GOP reportedly unites behind a no-witness trial, the Senate GOP and White House have come up with a grand unified strategy of sorts:

After weeks of behind-the-scenes debate, Senate Republicans have hit on their strategy for handling President Trump’s impeachment: a brief trial — with no witness testimony — and a fast acquittal. 
“I’m ready to vote now,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) told The Hill. “I think the articles are a joke.” 
But they don’t want to dismiss the House Democrats’ charges out of hand, as some Trump allies have proposed. 
“It’s time for him to have his day in court,” Hawley said. “The president deserves to have due process.” 
Trump, who was calling for a full-blown trial with multiple witnesses — including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter — just three weeks ago, now supports the Senate leadership’s plan. 
“The facts belie the allegation and the facts speak very strongly for themselves,” Eric Ueland, White House director of legislative affairs, said last week.

Of course, this may require a change in the Senate rules governing impeachment, to allow the Senate to begin without having had the articles "transmitted" by the House. That's if Pelosi remains obstinate.

The Hill's account provides lots more in the way of quotes from GOP senators offering their views, but the consensus has turned to: the shorter the better, but we want an acquittal, not a dismissal:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said his goal is “to have as short a trial as possible.” 
“I think there's a desire by senators, quite honestly, to get this chapter closed and moved forward,” Graham told reporters.  
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said that when it comes to a trial “shorter is better,” and that he thought his colleagues were coalescing behind that.  
“I think shorter is better for lots of reasons,” Cramer said. “I think people are ready to move on.”  
Republicans are also stressing though that they don’t want to simply dismiss the articles against Trump. The House voted earlier this month to impeach Trump on two counts: one charging him with abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and the second with obstructing Congress during its investigation of those actions. 
“I’m ready to get this thing and get it done,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). “It’s time for him to have his day in court. … I don’t want to a vote to dismiss. I want a vote to acquit. The president deserves to have due process.”  
Graham, who previously advocated dismissing the articles, added that a “motion dismissed will not stand. … I don't want a motion to dismiss. I want a vote on the articles themselves.”  
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has emerged as a close ally of Trump’s, has floated trying to dismiss the article, including telling The Washington Post in November that he would make the motion “as soon as we possibly can.” A motion to dismiss would need 51 votes, and members of GOP leadership have suggested it would fall short.  
Asked after the House impeachment vote if he still wanted to dismiss the articles instead of going through a trial, Paul sidestepped, telling The Hill that the “whole idea of the impeachment inquiry was ill-conceived … so I think the quicker it can be done the better.”

UPDATE: We previously discussed the House's motives in this rushed impeachment: The Rushed Impeachment--Now We Know Why. However, CTH has a nice reprise of the issue today, which they covered before: Anticipate House Impeachment Articles After January 3rd, 2020 – Oral Arguments for Mueller Grand Jury Material.

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Second Opinion

I've written about FISA so much by now that I'm also sick of hearing about it. However, AmThinker has an article today by another former FBI agent who relates his experience with FISA: Two Possibilities in Trump Wiretapping, and Neither Is Good. The author's experience matches my own and I recommend the article highly. After presenting an overview of FISA--which rightly points out that any FISA on a US person is exceptional--the writer concludes:

Based on what we are told by the I.G., there are only two possible conclusions that can be reached regarding the official conduct of those responsible for infringing on Carter Pages Constitutional freedoms:  
The first is that the hand selected team of investigators, attorneys, and Senior Executive Service officials with decades of law enforcement, administrative, and judicial experience were abject failures at a task that they were hired to perform. Speaking from personal experience, in FBI, DEA, and state and local wire tap investigations, the slightest omissions, misstatements, and clerical errors are routinely identified and corrected by the street agents and line prosecutors who do these investigations for a living. To believe that a "varsity level" team, with unlimited time, support, and resources, somehow inadvertently overlooked seventeen major omissions, misstatements, and/or outright falsehoods, is simply not believable.  
The second possibility is that nearly everyone who significantly participated in obtaining FISA coverage on Page knowingly and deliberately operated outside the law to one degree or another. The reasons behind the decision to do so are irrelevant. The particulars regarding the seventeen I.G. findings are startling, taken individually. It's difficult to see how any of the individual omissions or misstatements could have happened accidentally. Viewed collectively, the apparent intentionality is nearly impossible to reconcile as anything but corruption. 

Speaking for myself--and you'll see where I'm coming from if you read the article--I came to the second alternative almost immediately after beginning to learn just a small bit about the Carter Page situation. Nothing added up. The result was that, outrageous as it might seem, I had to conclude that intentional corruption was really the only possible explanation for what occurred.

It's All Good News

CTH has linked to an important article at Politico, and it's all good news. Very good news.

The CTH post is quite amusing--for what it doesn't say. We all know that sundance has been pushing the line that his controllers feed him: AG Barr is a bad guy, a swamp dweller looking to double cross all right thinking Americans. So, it's funny to read the CTH subject line, Dirty Spooks Concerned About Barr and Durham. You might expect from the subject line that there would be some mention of Barr, and maybe even an apology of sorts--given that if the Dirty Spooks are concerned about Barr then Barr has to be doing something right. Right? You'd be wrong if that was your expectation. Instead there's only one additional mention of Barr by sundance:

Apparently, if the article is semi-accurate, John Durham and Bill Barr are working around ICIG Michael Atkinson. That would be good news because Atkinson is a dirty cop, completely compromised.

Sundance even manages to quote at length from the Politico article (authored by Natasha Bertrand), while carefully excising all mention of Barr. Well, in fairness, he does omit his usual Bagpipe Bill photo from the post.

You may remember when Barr was nominated that I quoted from profiles of Barr, in which lawyers who had either worked with Barr or against Barr related how shockingly aggressive Barr is as a litigator. A portrait so much at odds with Barr's seemingly genial public persona. But those lawyers were guys like Barr--at the top of their profession--and if they were shocked you can imagine just how tough a litigator/prosecutor/investigator/political operator Barr is. Moreover, not only does Barr have plenty of experience in the Intel world, but he also likes to make his own mind up--which must be extremely unsettling for those under his microscope.

Keep that in mind as you read the following excerpts from a very heartening article, written by an author who is a determined opponent of Barr and a Deep State propagandist. And just imagine the dismay, and fear, being experienced by Deep State actors as they increasingly come face to face with Barr and his chosen bulldog, Durham. Any illusions that this nightmare will somehow just go away must have been dispelled long ago. That part is all over except for the squealing that we're hearing:

Comey, McCabe, Lynch, Rosenstein--Liars All?

It certainly seems likely, based on the facts developed by IG Horowitz's FISA investigation--and, of course, it was always likely simply as an a priori assumption. Today TGP continues the deep dive into the facts assembled by Horowitz that's being conducted by independent internet researchers, and they come up with some goodies for the holiday season: IG Report Reveals Someone’s Not Telling the Truth – AG Lynch, Comey, McCabe and Rosenstein All Caught in Conflicting Accounts.

With regard to disgraced former FBI execs Comey and McCabe vis a vis former AG Loretta Lynch, the issue is whether Lynch was ever briefed on Crossfire Hurricane and the Carter Page FISAs. She says she didn't know anything about the FISA--which can't possibly be true--but that Comey told her about the investigation of Page as a Russian agent. That, of course, is highly likely, but Lynch says that happened in "spring of 2016." Woops! Not good for Comey and McCabe, since they claim they weren't doing much of anything until the end of July, so they have to deny Lynch's story. Uh oh! Deep State, we have a conflict!

As interesting as all that is--and TGP has lots of details--the Rosenstein information is, to me, the most fascinating for the long run, because it inevitably leads right into the Mueller Witchhunt. I've called Rosenstein a "weasel" in the past, but I've never suggested he's stupid. But you'd have to be stupid yourself to believe the things he told the IG. Check this out:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Horowitz Unearthed More Steele Conspiracy Tales

IG Michael Horowitz's FISA report continues to be scrutinized and mined for relevant new facts that shed light on the origins and development of the Russia Hoax. Today at the Washington Examiner Rowan Scarborough lays out new facts that demonstrate that the Russia Hoax was rooted in cynically contrived conspiracy theories emanating from the Clinton camp.

In Trump conspiracy theories beyond the Steele dossier were passed to FBI Scarborogh documents from the FISA report that Christopher Steele provided the FBI with at least three additional anti-Trump conspiracy stories, all of which were as untrue as those contained in his "dossier" memos. We can leave to another time the whole question of who actually wrote these materials and simply note that Steele spread them.

Scarborough provides a usefull account of Steele's connections to the Hillary campaign through Fusion GPS, his meetings with reporters and with FBI officials, as well as his provision of materials to political figures such as John McCain. IG Horowitz put together a timeline for Steele's activities and, in doing so, discovered that there was more to Steele's involvement in the election than merely the dossier. Here are the three new items presented in the FISA report.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Other Mike Rogers--Again?

To my mind, one of the most important contributions that CTH has made to uncovering the overall nature and scope of the Russia Hoax--the Deep State's effort to thwart the election of Donald Trump and, when that failed, to oust him--was drawing attention to the presence of Mike Rogers in the Trump campaign. No, not Mike Rogers the admiral, who headed NSA and played an heroic role (DiGenova: Mike Rogers Is The "Rosetta Stone" For John Durham). As I explained in The Spy In The Trump Campaign, this Mike Rogers was formerly the head chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), before Devin Nunes' time. It's hard to imagine a much more strategic position for a Deep State operative--which Rogers surely was:

Mike Rogers ..., the former US Representative., was a Special Agent for the FBI in Chicago from 1989 - 1994 (I didn't know him, but recall hearing the office buzz when Rogers resigned to go into politics). More to the point, after leaving the House in 2014, having served as Chairman of the Permanent Select Committe on Intelligence, Rogers joined the Trump campaign in 2016 as national security adviser. (You can locate other references to this Mike Rogers here.)

By the way--you won't find any mention of the six months Rogers spent on the Trump campaign on his Wikipedia page. Interesting, isn't that? But look here and here. It appears Rogers came on board the Trump campaign in May, 2016, once it became clear that Trump would be the GOP nominee. Again, it's difficult to imagine a more sensitive position in a presidential campaign--especially one that was being targeted for destruction by the Deep State--than national security adviser. And Rogers' Deep State ties were well known to DC insiders. Which led sundance to ask, way back then, "So how did Decepticon Rogers come to be an advisor to the Trump campaign?"

Late yesterday, sundance again drew attention to Rogers, noting that footnote 474 in the OIG FISA report may refer to Rogers, although without naming him. If true, this would mean that Rogers was an FBI Confidential Human Source (CHS - informant) while he was working for the Trump campaign as its national security adviser.

Before we delve into that a bit further, lets get some of the previous background on record again. Some of this was and remains speculative, but is highly suggestive:

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

UPDATED: Merry Christmas!

Thanks to everyone for their support and for all the valuable contributions.

Chant--Puer Natus Est:

Polyphony: Hodie Christus Natus Est:

UPDATE: You just knew the Dems would pull something to spoil Christmas--Santa Claus Accused Of Quid Pro Quo For Giving Children Gifts In Exchange For Good Behavior:

U.S.—Legislators have begun to hold hearings on impeaching Santa Claus after an overheard conversation seemed to imply he was offering a quid pro quo: gifts in exchange for good behavior. 
FBI agents spied on Claus at various malls as he repeatedly said things like, "Sure, I'll get you a pony. But first, I need you to do something for me... be a good little boy!" The FBI was able to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Claus, because it's easier to get a FISA warrant than to get a Costco membership. 
"Ho ho noooooo!" Santa Claus cried as investigators leaped out and cuffed him at a Dayton, OH mall. "Not good! Sad!"

DiGenova: Mike Rogers Is The "Rosetta Stone" For John Durham

Joe diGenova did a dynamite interview yesterday that puts a lot of things in perspective. In the first half of his interview he addresses the recent news that Admiral Mike Rogers, former head of NSA, is cooperating voluntarily with USA John Durham's investigation (cf. Bad News For The Deep State). DiGenova's remarks here are important for providing a glimpse at the enormous range and complexity of Durham's investigation. Consider--as wide ranging as IG Horowitz's FISA report may have appeared, it didn't even touch most of what diGenova addresses here. Yet what diGenova talks about is crucial to an understanding of the development of the Russia Hoax as we now know it, and therefore to the development of the all important conspiracy case that I've discussed. I most recently addressed the connection between these issues and the development of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation in The Devin Nunes - Dan Bongino Interview--a post that provides useful background and additional legal/administrative material on all this. The scope of it all is almost mind boggling.

In the partial transcript that follows the host questions and comments are paraphrased, but diGenova's words are very literal. He misspeaks a few times, but I've left that as is--although I've interjected some explanatory comments.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Rushed Impeachment--Now We Know Why

Today we learn definitively that what we've suspected is the truth. Impeachment is being used in what I termed yesterday as a "cart before the horse" manner. In other words, impeachment is being used by the Dem House as the justification for demanding testimony and, most importantly, the Mueller grand jury records. CTH has the story, but it's straightforward enough.

Basically, the House lawyers have filed a brief in the case in which they're attempting to compel the testimony of former WH Counsel Dan McGahn. The rationale that the Dem House presents is that, now that the House has impeached President Trump, they need McGahn's testimony to use as evidence in the impeachment trial!

But wait, you say. How could there have been an impeachment without evidence? Well, that's a point. House Dems are claiming, in effect, that they can impeach and then investigate to find the evidence to justify the impeachment. Remember when Maxine Waters said impeachment is whatever the House says it is? The Dems really meant that. Fox News quotes the Dem brief to point out that the Dems are actually suggesting that they could add new articles to their impeachment--implying that, in spite of their vote--impeachment remains a work in progress:

“If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly---including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment,” the brief stated, noting that they still have “ongoing impeachment investigations.”

This is exactly why I've been on the side of McConnell taking the articles up immediately.

There are a lot of legal and, especially, constitutional issues here. One, of course, which I've offered an opinion on, is whether the Senate has to wait for the House to "transmit" the articles before it can act. I side with those like Alan Dershowitz who maintain that the Dem House vote is the act of impeachment. That being the case, the Senate is now the actor. The House's role is finished. But the Dem House is claiming that we've only just begun. It's all just part of a process and we define the parameters of that process.

In addition to throwing the very constitutional meaning of "impeachment" totally up for grabs, this tactic is an end run around the constitutional restriction of House investigations to matters of oversight and legislation. Now, having constituted themselves as an investigative entity, an impeachment tribunal, they claim to have full investigative powers. They are now claiming to be, in effect, more than a legislative body. They are an investigative body like the FBI. Or so they claim.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Devin Nunes - Dan Bongino Interview

Dan Bongino's latest weekend interview, linked below, was with Rep. Devin Nunes. At nearly an hour long, the interview contains a pretty fair amount of substance. Nunes, I believe, still shies away from certain topics, but has enough to say to make the whole worth listening to. In what follows I'll focus on the issues that interested me most. Not surprisingly to regular readers, that means the origin of the Russia Hoax investigation ("predication") and possible prosecutive theories ("conspiracy"), which were both addressed at some length by Nunes.

The first thing that caught my attention was when Nunes stated that, while the whole ball of the Russia Hoax had started rolling in late 2015 to early 2016, at a certain point the conspirators "really needed the umbrella investigation." That "umbrella investigation," of course, was Crossfire Hurricane, the "enterprise CI investigation" of "four Americans" (Manafort, Flynn, Page, Papadopoulos) that Comey referred to in his Congressional testimony in March, 2017.

In evaluating Nunes' statement, it's important to understand that Nunes is very clear that the FBI began it's investigation before Crossfire Hurricane was opened. In essence, he confirms what I've long maintained, that Crossfire Hurricane was, in fact, an "umbrella" that took under it earlier investigations. Whether those investigations were preliminary or ful investigations made little difference, at least initially, because a "full" was only needed for the purpose of obtaining a FISA--otherwise, the same investigative techniques could be used. I was at pains, back when this was a hot topic, to insist that the FBI had almost certainly followed the rules by insuring that it had open case files before conducting investigative activities--they were always going to cover their behinds administratively.

But, says Nunes, at a certain point--sometime between early May and the end of July when Crossfire Hurricane was actually opened, that framework--separate investigations on each of the Trump campaign associates were no longer enough. Was there some precipitating event that led to this change of perspective? It stands to reason that there was, and I believe that we can tentatively identify that event as the action Admiral Mike Rogers of NSA took to shut down the FBI's unauthorized "about" queries of 702 material. It was at this time that Strzok complained to Lisa Page that their investigation was now restricted to what are known as "consensual" recordings--informants recording conversations with targets. This development meant that the FBI would need to get a standard FISA on an investigative subject, going through the painstaking application process, if they wanted to get a broader look inside the Trump campaign. They could no longer rely on datamining NSA records.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Dmitri Alperovitch, Founder Of CrowdStrike, Was A "Special Government Employee"

This is being reported by The Epoch Times: CrowdStrike Co-Founder Held Special Government Employee Status. And nobody responsible wants to comment about this. Go figure, hey? If I were the suspicious kind I'd say he was helping the Obama administration to prepare for the 2016 election in some way. Excerpt:

The Department of Defense granted Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, the status of a special government employee in 2013, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times. 
Alperovitch held the status for one year starting on Nov. 23, 2013. 
“He was an unpaid consultant limited to 60 total days in a year and has not provided any consulting services since that time,” Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon press spokesperson, wrote in an email. 
“In his role as a special government employee, Alpervotich provided services in cybersecurity, forensic cyber analysis, and post-incident remediation.” 
In 2013 and 2014, the U.S. government relied in part on CrowdStrike’s reports to identify China and North Korea as the culprits of state-sponsored hacks.
CrowdStrike did not respond to a request for comment. 
The “cyber-czar” at the defense department at the time, Eric Rosenbach, requested for Alperovtich to be brought on as a special government employee, according to a former official familiar with the matter. Steven Schleien, who is now the chief operating officer at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, directed the onboarding process, the source said. 
Rosenbach did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 
Alperovitch’s status as a special government employee has not been previously reported.

AG Barr Calls Out Soros Subversion

I'll admit I didn't listen to the whole interview, as I found the questioning less than scintillating. However, this illustrates the things that an AG should speak out about--and this AG does. He's constantly monitoring the justicial pulse of the nation, looking for opportunities to speak to the public about important issues within his purview. For anyone who hasn't been aware of this, George Soros has been pouring huge amounts of money into local district attorney races, seeking to get radicals elected who will then stop enforcing criminal laws, leading to chaos:

Sounds Like Putin Is Blackmailing Trump!

It looks like we'll have to be content with insane conspiracy theories for the time being, since there doesn't seem to be any actual news. Listen to these two rocket scientists expounding on the Trump/Russia meme. It's as if they never heard of the Mueller Dossier. And they sound about stupid enough that they just might believe what they're saying--amazing:

Friday, December 20, 2019

Bad News For The Deep State

We've all heard of Adm. Mike Rogers, former head of the NSA, who played a key role in alerting the FISC of FBI abuses of the 702 databases. Rogers' action possibly forced the FBI to seek out a FISA based on fraudulent sourcing as an alternative to mining NSA databases for political purposes. In news that is surely an indication of the depth of the Barr/Durham investigation, The Intercept is reporting that Rogers is voluntarily cooperating with USA John Durham. That has to be very bad news for the Deep State generally. Rogers would be far and away the highest placed Deep State cooperator. He also would have information that could lead back into Obama administration weaponizing of the Intel Community as far back as 2012.

Notably, Rogers is one of two IC officials who have contradicted John Brennan's denial that the Clinton/Steele "dossier" factored into the ICA that established the narrative of "Russian meddling". As reported by Paul Sperry:

Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA. And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.
These accounts are at odds with Brennan’s May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier  was "not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community's assessment" that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on “Meet the Press.”

I offer hear the portions of the article that pertain to Rogers--note that he's not a reflexive Trump supporter. The rest can be found here--FORMER NSA DIRECTOR IS COOPERATING WITH PROBE OF TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION:

Is Guccifer 2.0 A CIA Creation?

We've all heard about the deep interest that Barr/Durham have in the basis for the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)--the IC "analytical" product that established the narrative that "the Russians" tried to throw the 2016 election to Trump. Today former CIA analyst Larry Johnson examines the sourcing for the key claim in the ICA, which is that an internet persona and entity called, respectively, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were GRU (Russian military intel) operations that relayed DNC materials to Wikileaks.

Johnson's article is long and detailed, yet pretty readable: Did John Brennan's CIA Create Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks? I'll paste in the beginning to give you a flavor for where Johnson is headed, but don't stop there--read it all:

Some Clarity On An Impeachment Trial

Since the House impeachment vote, coupled with Pelosi's decision not to appoint "managers" for the House's case, we've been treated to a series of arguments about what has just happened. Some--including one of the Dem legal witnesses--have argued that Trump wasn't "really" impeached. Some conservatives have toyed with that idea, as well. The other part of the argument is: How should the Senate treat what has just occurred? My position has been that the House vote ipso facto accomplishes impeachment and that the ball in now in the Senate's court. We get some clarity on that issue today from two sources.

Today, in the Daily Caller, Alan Dershowitz has called on Mitch McConnell to set the ball rolling for a Senate impeachment trial. His argument is that the House vote for impeachment places the issue ipso facto before the Senate. The House cannot stop the Senate from acting--Pelosi Doesn’t Have The Impeachment Power She Believes:

“Whether the House wants it to be in the Senate or not, the matter is now properly before the Senate,” Dershowitz said in a call with the Republican National Lawyers Association. “The presiding officer of the Senate can set a trial date, convene the chief justice and begin the trial. So I don’t think that Pelosi has the power that she thinks she has, or that my colleague Larry Tribe thinks she has.”
“I can imagine nothing more unconstitutional than a House impeachment without sending it to the Senate,” Dershowitz said. “It’s just unheard of. The Constitution provides that it is a two-step process, not a one-step process. It doesn’t say the president may be impeached, period, that’s the end of the matter. It says the president may be impeached, and if he’s impeached by the House, the Senate then gets to decide whether he should be removed.
“The idea that a stain would remain on the books, that the president would remain impeached, without an opportunity for the president to get acquitted by the Senate, is plainly unconstitutional,” he added. “It would be as if a prosecutor decided he had insufficient evidence to get a conviction, so he went after an ordinary citizen and said, ‘Look, I’m just going to indict him. Let the public know he’s indicted. For the rest of his life, he will stand indicted. But I have no intention of bringing him to trial. I will deny him his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. I’m going to let the indictment just hang out there.’ Obviously, no judge would tolerate that.”
Dershowitz said the president could seek to have the matter dismissed if it did not proceed to trial, but that it would “probably be a mistake” at this stage. ...

The WSJ's lead editorial makes the same basic argument: McConnell should set a trial date. If House managers don't show, then the Senate can appoint lawyers to present the case and proceed to a trial.

However, GianCarlo Canaparo--a legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies--makes an important point in an article for Fox News: Pelosi powerless to delay Trump impeachment trial if Senate does THIS. Canaparo's point adds to Dershowitz's argument by covering a key procedural detail.

Canaparo basically agrees with Dershowitz--the articles of impeachment are now before the Senate. The House vote accomplished that and there's no taking it back or delaying it--if the Senate doesn't want a delay. The hangup comes with the current state of Senate impeachment rules, which provide that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”--prosecutors. Here's Canaparo's solution:

Is the impeachment process truly on hold until Pelosi decides to transmit the articles to the Senate?
Let’s start with the Constitution. Article 1, Section 2 states that the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Section 3 states that the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” 
Critically, there is no mention of procedure here. So where does this supposed transmittal requirement come from? The answer is the Senate’s own rules. Specifically, its rules governing impeachment procedure. 
The [Senate's] first rule of impeachment procedure states that the Senate will not act on an impeachment until the House sends to the Senate its appointed “managers”— the representatives who will act as the lawyers during the impeachment trial. After the House has presented its managers to the Senate, then the Senate takes the reins and launches its trial. 
So can Pelosi delay an impeachment trial? Yes, as long as the Senate doesn’t change its current rules. But there’s absolutely nothing stopping it from changing this rule, and the Senate should change the rule to prevent this sort of gamesmanship. 
So the Senate should change its impeachment rules as follows: once the House has impeached the president, the Senate shall set a date for trial and shall set a deadline for the House to present its managers to the Senate. If the House fails to meet that deadline, the Senate will either dismiss the articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution or, better yet, vote on the articles immediately in light of the evidence presented to it — in this case, no evidence. 
Having set this boulder rolling, House Democrats should not be allowed now to hold it up. They started this process. It’s up to the Senate to finish it on its terms alone. Not Pelosi’s.

In some ways, I think the WSJ solution may be the best. Present the articles and vote to acquit. That vote would be a judgment on the merit or lack of merit in the articles, rather than a purely procedural move. But I'd be happy with any of these alternatives.

Pelosi Invites Trump To Deliver SOTU

This surprises me. I expected some drama at a minimum. Via FR:

Pelosi invites Trump to deliver State of the Union on Feb. 4
The Hill ^ | December 20, 2019 | Cristina Marcos
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday invited President Trump to deliver his State of the Union address on Feb. 4.
"In their great wisdom, our Founders crafted a Constitution based on a system of separation of powers: three co-equal branches acting as checks on each other. To ensure that balance of powers, the Constitution calls for the president to 'from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union,'" Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump.

Flag Burning In Woke Times

The indispensable Don Surber summarizes a story from yesterday:

ITEM 1The Washington Times reported, "An Iowa man who was found guilty of lighting a local church’s LGBTQ flag on fire was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison Wednesday.
"Adolfo Martinez, 30, was found guilty last month of a hate crime, third-degree harassment and reckless use of fire after admitting to police in June that he stole a pride banner hanging outside the Ames United Church of Christ and set it on fire using lighter fluid about two blocks away outside the Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club, The Des Moines Register reported."
The story also said, "Mr. Martinez was sentenced to 15 years for the hate crime charge, one year for reckless use of fire and 30 days for harassment, all of which will be served consecutively, the Associated Press reported."
We live in a country where you cannot jail someone for burning the American flag, but you can give someone 15 years for burning a gay one.

Remember all those school prayer and flag buring cases years ago? It's high time this SCOTUS found the time to defend the First Amendment again.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Durham Has Brennan In His Sights

Breaking tonight in the NYT: Durham Is Scrutinizing Ex-C.I.A. Director’s Role in Russian Interference Findings. I suspect a lot of this is actually old news and that Durham has been focusing on these matters and collecting documentation since at least the summer.

Excerpts (I've omitted the considerable pro-Brennan spin):

WASHINGTON — The federal prosecutor scrutinizing the Russia investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia’s 2016 election interference, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.

John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.


Mr. Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference, the people said.


Mr. Brennan has come into Mr. Durham’s sights as he has focused on the intelligence community assessment released in January 2017 that used information from the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency to detail Russia’s meddling. They concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an influence campaign that “aspired to help” Mr. Trump’s chances by damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton.


“The president bore the burden of probably one of the greatest conspiracy theories — baseless conspiracy theories — in American political history,” Mr. Barr told Fox News. He has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing an inspector general report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.

Mr. Barr has long been interested in the conclusion about Mr. Putin ordering intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf, perhaps the intelligence report’s most explosive assertion. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. reported high confidence in the conclusion, while the N.S.A., which conducts electronic surveillance, had a moderate degree of confidence.


Instead, a C.I.A. informant close to the Kremlin was a key source for that finding. Mr. Durham has been trying to learn more about any internal debate inside the C.I.A. over the conclusion, former intelligence officials said.

[In fact, the claim that the source was "close to the Kremlin"--an idiotic phrase--is highly dubious.]


Critics of the intelligence assessment, like Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said the C.I.A.’s sourcing failed to justify the high level of confidence about Moscow’s intervention on behalf of Mr. Trump.


Mr. Durham’s investigators also want to know to more about the discussions that prompted intelligence community leaders to include Mr. Steele’s allegations in the appendix of their assessment.

Mr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in his 2017 congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the dossier when it helped develop the assessment, and the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has also testified before lawmakers that the same was true for the intelligence agencies more broadly. But Mr. Trump’s allies have long asked pointed questions about the dossier, including how it was used in the intelligence agency’s assessment.

Some C.I.A. analysts and officials insisted that the dossier be left out the assessment, while some F.B.I. leaders wanted to include it and bristled at its relegation to the appendix. Their disagreements were captured in the highly anticipated report released last week by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, examining aspects of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

Mr. Steele’s information “was a topic of significant discussion within the F.B.I. and with the other agencies participating in drafting” the declassified intelligence assessment about Russia interference, Mr. Horowitz wrote. The F.B.I. shared Mr. Steele’s information with the team of officials from multiple agencies drafting the assessment.

Mr. Comey also briefed Mr. Brennan and other top Obama administration intelligence officials including the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, and Mr. Clapper about the bureau’s efforts to assess the information in the dossier, Mr. Comey told the inspector general. He said that analysts had found it to be “credible on its face.”

But C.I.A. analysts still wanted to leave the dossier out of the assessment, as it was not vetted. Mr. Brennan’s allies have said he was among the officials who wanted to omit the dossier from the assessment.

Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the F.B.I., pushed back, according to the inspector general report, accusing the intelligence chiefs of trying to minimize Mr. Steele’s information.

Ultimately the two sides compromised by placing Mr. Steele’s material in the appendix. After BuzzFeed News published the dossier in January 2017, days after the intelligence assessment about Russia’s election sabotage was released, Mr. Comey complained to Mr. Clapper  about his decision to publicly state that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment” about the document’s reliability.

Mr. Comey said that the F.B.I. had concluded that Mr. Steele was reliable, according to the inspector general report. Mr. Clapper ignored Mr. Comey, the report said.

Mr. Brennan told Congress that he had no firsthand knowledge of any attempts by the F.B.I. to vet the dossier. Mr. Clapper went further, testifying at a separate hearing that no evidence existed in the entire assessment to definitively say whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with Russian officials. He also said that the intelligence community “couldn’t corroborate the sourcing” of Mr. Steele’s dossier. 

Mr. Brennan’s defenders said he always kept the dossier at arm’s length, arguing against using its findings about the Russian interference campaign in the assessment. The C.I.A. viewed it as “internet rumor,” an F.B.I. official told the inspector general.

It is not clear how much information the C.I.A. has provided investigators, and a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment. The intelligence agencies are continuing to cooperate with Mr. Durham’s investigation, a person familiar with the inquiry said.

Things Barr Can Do

Earlier I was asked what kinds of things AG Barr can do to help Trump at this juncture. Things like this--call Comey out as a liar. Does this sound like a guy who's gonna just let things slide? I don't think so. I expect more of this kind of frank talk from Barr, and it will only help Trump. I will also be followed up with action.

UPDATED: Is It Really About The SOTU?

Remember the last time Pelosi tried to block President Trump from delivering the constitutionally mandated SOTU to the nation? Yesterday in a comment I questioned why nobody is asking about the SOTU. I think we know that Impeachment Theater is--among other things--an attempt from an electoral standpoint to rob President Trump of the presidential mantle, as it were. To cut him down to size. The SOTU is a display of "presidentiality." Is this what it's all about? Or, at a minimum, is this what the delay is about? Will Pelosi say that a president under impeachment can't address the nation, can't deliver the SOTU, from the House?

UPDATE 1: And now a word from a top Constitutional scholar. Among other profundities, Clyburn said, “Let’s give him a fair trial, and hang him.” This should play well. Trump is truly fortunate in his enemies:

Rush selected this passage from McConnell's speech as one he thought "really resonated":

MCCONNELL: President Trump is not the first president with a populist streak, not the first to make entrenched elites uncomfortable. He’s certainly not the first president to speak bluntly, to mistrust the administrative state, or to rankle unelected bureaucrats. None of these things — none of them — is unprecedented. I’ll tell you what would be unprecedented. It will be an unprecedented constitutional crisis if the Senate literally hands the House of Representatives a new partisan vote of no confidence. It will be unprecedented if we agree that any future House that dislikes any future president can rush through an unfair inquiry, skip the legal system, and paralyze the Senate with a trial. It will be unprecedented if the Senate says secondhand and thirdhand testimony from unelected civil servants is enough to overturn the people’s vote.


 ...[PREDICTION for bookmark: Upon return in January Speaker Pelosi will refuse to allow impeached President Trump to deliver a State of the Union address in the House.]
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

RBG: Recusal By Ginsburg?

Hot Air had an excellent blog yesterday on the topic of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's many outrageously unethical public statements expressing her disdain for Donald Trump: Ginsburg Hints: Senators Who Can’t Be Impartial In Trump’s Trial Should Be Disqualified.

Yes, she really suggested that--which calls into question her knowledge of the Constitution as well as her common sense. Let's see ... should Dem senators currently running for president be disqualified? One presumes that the fact of running as a candidate against Trump is a forthright statement of partiality.

The blog includes links regarding some of her past statements regarding Trump: She has called him a "faker" and, immediately after the 2016 election suggested it was time to move to New Zealand. Incredibly, in the wake of some of those Ginsburg comments the NYT--repeat, the NYT--ran an editorial, Donald Trump Is Right, in which they stated rather presciently:

And just imagine if this were 2000 and the resolution of the election depended on a Supreme Court decision. Could anyone now argue with a straight face that Justice Ginsburg’s only guide would be the law?

The point, of course, is that there are currently several pending cases involving Trump and his status as POTUS. Any or all of these cases could wind up before the SCOTUS. Ginsburg would appear to be an obvious candidate for disqualification herself--recusal--in all of those cases. To paraphrase, er, actually to directly quote the NYT:

Could anyone now argue with a straight face that Justice Ginsburg’s only guide would be the law?

Excerpts from Hot Air:

UPDATED: Louis Freeh is the real culprit in the Richard Jewell story

The FBI has been in the news a lot recently, and we've been commenting on the misdeeds of the Bureau's politicized upper management and legal advisers. However, today Ron Kessler has an excellent article that points out the complexities when people condemn the FBI as an institution. My intent in recommending--highly recommending--this article is not to offer a blanket defense of the FBI as such, but to point out that nothing is as simple as we'd like it to be.

Louis Freeh is the real culprit in the Richard Jewell story

The FBI is badly in need of reform. That's a true statement, but it's also a fact that the travails of today's Bureau reflect the defects of America as a society. That's inevitable. The FBI has a legacy of advanced thinking in law enforcement that has been tarnished as it has been dragged down with our other institutions into the morass that the Left has inflicted on the country. Reform of the FBI can only be accomplished as part of a much broader restoration of American society.

UPDATE: More Great Moments in FBI History.

UPDATED: The Delayed Impeachment Ploy Is A Loser

Thomas Lifson has another seven reasons blog--this time on the delayed impeachment ploy, and why it's a loser: Pelosi threatens to withhold articles of impeachment from Senate.

As I wrote last night, and as several sharp commenters (among them Yancey Ward) pointed out,

"The Constitution doesn't specify procedures. It seems to me, therefore, that ... [t]he vote having been taken in the House, the Senate may not have to wait."

Meaning, the Constitution simply says that the House votes articles of impeachment and the Senate has the sole power to try the case. Nothing about formalities before a trial can begin. If the managers (prosecutors) fail to show, the senators (jurors) can still decide based on the articles themselves. In regard to the question of what the Senate will do, "sources" maintain that the Senate GOP wants an acquittal vote rather than a procedural dismissal, which makes sense. We'll see. That's a question that will depend on questions that may to a great extent be peculiar to the Senate.

On the other hand, the big picture of what we're seeing is clear enough: it's an attempt, one more attempt, by the Resistance Dems to hold the entire government hostage to a partisan majority in the House. Pelosi has openly called the House a "superior branch" to the Executive, and she now seems to believe the House is the lead member of the Legislative branch as well. Cocaine Mitch is sure to differ and will carry the day on that. The courts will also ultimately side with the Constitution, if for no other reason than that the SCOTUS knows if Pelosi and the Radical Resistance Dems get their way impeachments and removals of SCOTUS justices will be the order of the day, starting with Brett Kavanaugh.

Lifson's seven reasons why this ploy are losers right from the get go are excellent. They mostly boil down to what we discussed yesterday--the rules of fair play, as embodied in the Constitution. That is exactly what the Dems ignored in the earlier stages of their Impeachment Theater, and are now trying to coerce the Senate to ignore. The ploy won't work, to begin with, and will backfire badly. Lifson's sixth and seventh reasons point to the certain political impact:

Sixth, the longer a standoff continues, the weaker Pelosi’s bargaining position becomes. She is obstructing the constitutional process.
Seventh, President Trump fights back, and she is handing him the best ammo he could wish for to castigate the entire impeachment fiasco, and to claim he is being denied his right to defend himself.

 The strong suspicion is that this is a ploy born of desperation. To engage in this doomed battle surely tells us all we need to know about how much Dems fear the Barr/Durham investigation.


UPDATE 2: Somewhat informative interview toward the end:

UPDATE 3: Cocaine Mitch Speaks: The full half hour speech is in the second video. You can find the transcript at CTH:

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

UPDATED: Impeachment--And Barr

So, the Dem House voted to impeach President Trump--but didn't appoint impeachment managers. Pelosi says she's waiting for what she considers "fair" Senate rules--she thinks she's the Queen of America, or some weird Dominatrix, I guess. In other words, the Dems are delaying any Senate trial while they work in the courts to try to find ... evidence. They're trying to get the Mueller GJ material, they also want to force a deposition of Don McGahn, and they are seeking Trump's financial records. You can get the details at CTH: Cunning Lawfare Maneuver – House Will Withhold Submission of Articles from Senate.

I'm not sure just how cunning this maneuver will turn out to be in the long run. I'm not at all convinced the Dems will win in the courts. They may get a few lower court victories, but those will be harder to sustain as the appeal process continues.

The other thing this delay may bring into play is ... Bill Barr as a significant player. Declassification, revelations of investigative actions, and possible high profile legal actions such as indictments, could significantly tilt the playing field for the president. We shall see. If the delay expands Barr's room to maneuver this Dem ploy could turn out to not be cunning at all.

UPDATE 1: Laura Ingraham says We The People were "punked" by the Dems with this delayed impeachment ploy. IMO, Laura has a point. Most people with any sense of fair play--remember that concept?--will be outraged. I suspect that this won't wash that well with the courts, either.

I wish I could have heard what Robert Ray had to say--you'll see him waiting in the wings. He's usually very good.

And I suspect this will increasingly resonate with We The People:

UPDATE 2: Mitch McConnell says he'll speak in the Senate at 9:30 tomorrow morning. It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to the Imperious Nan and her demands.

Gregg Jarrett Takes Out After The FISC:

A year and a half ago when the redacted FISA applications were first made public, it was obvious that the FBI relied almost entirely on Christopher Steele’s phony “dossier” and that the FISA court was being lied to. Back then, Collyer should have immediately ordered a “show cause contempt” hearing demanding that Comey, Sally Yates, Andrew McCabe, Dana Boente and Rod Rosenstein all appear before the court to explain why they should not be held in criminal contempt for deceiving judges in the four warrant applications they signed. They swore that the information was true and verified when they knew it was not. Collyer still isn’t ordering a contempt hearing. This is an appalling abdication of judicial duty.
It means that the FISA court doesn’t really care that it was lied to by the FBI. If it did, Collyer would hold these FBI & DOJ officials legally responsible for defrauding the court. The message here is this: you can lie to the FISA court and there will be no accountability or punishment. If you get caught, the court will merely demand remedies for the future.
This will not go over well in Congress among those who feel that FISA has become a serious and chronic danger to civil liberties. They are right. The currently constituted FISA court must be abolished. A new system should take its place –one that does not rely on the FBI to be honest and trustworthy because the bureau has proven that it cannot be.
The FBI was caught lying before back in 2002. In more than 75 cases, the FBI had deceived judges in sensitive surveillance warrants. Then-director Robert Mueller appeared before the FISA court and promised reforms. He vowed that it would never happen again.
Predictably, it has.

Briefly Noted: Smacks Of Personal Hostility

Yes, that's what NeverTrump Paul Mirengoff just said about Judge Sullivan's cheap shot at Michael Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell. In Judge Rejects Flynn Motions I wrote initially:

What I noticed first was that Sullivan takes a shot at Flynn's attorney, Sidney Powell, suggesting that she has engaged in "professional misconduct" for plagiarization, by "merely provid[ing] a hyperlink" to a brief she quotes rather than a direct citation (p. 17):
I dunno. Sullivan's language strikes me as a bit over the top, a bit of a cheap shot, in that Powell was hiding nothing (any more than Flynn hid anything from the FBI)--what she did doesn't appear to be "dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation”, even if it wasn't in full compliance with the rules.

And that was before additional details on the cheapness, even idiocy, of Sullivan's comments came out (quoting Techno Fog and Turley). What we see is a pattern of what DC law professor Jonathan Turley went so far as to call "false allegations" on the part of Sullivan.

So now Mirengoff goes there, too--plainly stating that "Sullivan’s accusation ... smacks of personal hostility."

You have to wonder whether this all may have some effect down the road.

UPDATED: Big Victory For Paul Manafort

I'll simply quote TGP on this one:

A judge on Wednesday tossed out New York State charges of mortgage fraud against Paul Manafort because of ‘double jeopardy’ laws.
This is a huge victory for Paul Manafort, who remains in custody on federal charges, because this opens a way for Trump to issue him a presidential pardon.

Follow this link for more details: BREAKING: Manafort Has New York State Fraud Case DISMISSED Because of ‘Double Jeopardy’ – Opening Way For Trump Pardon.

Yes, Manafort was/is as Swampy a critter as any out there, but we still want fundamental fairness for all.

UPDATE: Jonathan Turley is worth quoting at some length:

previously wrote about what I viewed as a dangerous trend among New York Democratic politicians pledging to charge former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort under state law to negate any benefit from a federal pardon by President Donald Trump. Democrats rallied supporters to the dubious cause of watering down the state protections against double jeopardy. It was the ultimate example of the mania surrounding Trump where citizens would take an axe to their own constitutional protections to get at Trump and his associates. The highly dubious effort was led by New York state attorney general Letitia James and, thankfully, it has failed. The New York courts are not nearly as dismissive of individual rights. The state charges were thrown out today on the basis of double jeopardy. The question is now whether this will be a prelude to a presidential pardon. 
I have been highly critical of Manafort and I still have little sympathy for him. I do not view him as a worthy subject of a pardon. However, I am relieved that the courts showed more judgment and respect for individual rights than James and others who wanted to lower protections to score political points in prosecuting a Trump associate.

Fundamental Fairness And Impeachment: We're Seeing It

Commenter Mike Sylwester points to a new Geoff Shepard article today. I like it because it stresses something I've been at pains to express over the past months: the importance for Americans of the concept of Fundamental Fairness. Call it Due Process if you like. It's at the core of our worldview. To take one example more or less at random, just recently I wrote:

Impeachment Theater is fronted by the most unlikeable and frankly crazy people to appear before the public since ... well, since the deeply unpopular Kavanaugh hearings.
The House kangaroo court procedures have proven deeply offensive to the American sense of fundamental fairness--which take on an even sharper edge when applied to the national leader, the one official elected by the nation at large. The public at large knows fairness--and fundamental unfairness--when it sees it, and has tuned out Impeachment Theater just when the Dems need an audience riveted to their devices--TVs, phones, tablets, whatever. (Will There Be An Impeachment At All?)

Here's the link to Shepard's article:

Congressmen do want to get reelected.

Riffing off the FCC's "Fairness Doctrine," Shepard explains the new Fairness Doctrine with regard to Impeachment--but also to most issues of great public importance:

Today, we have a new fairness doctrine, although an unofficial and largely unstated one. 
By far the most important impeachment issue is the overarching importance of perceptions of fairness. All members of the House will have to face their voters next November — there’s no postponing that election — and will need to justify their impeachment vote. This is not as easy as it sounds, even in safe districts, because of the fundamental American belief in fair play. However it is phrased and in whatever context it is considered, the underlying challenge for members is being able to assure their constituents back home that Trump was or was not treated in a fair manner.

To measure how this is working out, watch this brief segment with Laura Ingraham talking to pollsters Scott Rasmussen and John McLaughlin. I'll provide the transcript for McLaughlin's remarks, but pay attention to what comes right at the beginning--Scott Rasmussen's analysis. He makes no bones about it--Republicans have won the debate. It's over: