Sunday, February 17, 2019

First Sign Of A Barr Effect?

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

BASH: This week, the chair, your counterpart in the Senate, the Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, said that his committee has found nothing to suggest collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 
You said - quote - "That's not our view in the House." 
But, you know, Burr hasn't exactly been a rabid partisan on this. Until the last couple of weeks, he's been working very closely with the Democrats. So, why do you think he's wrong? 
SCHIFF: Well, it's not just that I think he's wrong. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Intel Committee in the Senate, also disagrees with that assessment. 
But, look, you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there's a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. 
But Mr. - Chairman Burr must have a different word for it, because, when you look, for example, at the e-mails to set up the meeting in Trump Tower, it was offered to the Trump campaign, to the president's own son, dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as the Russian government's effort to help Donald Trump in the campaign. 
And the response from the campaign was, we would love to have the help.
Now, that's an offer of help. That's an acceptance of help. There's an overt act in the Trump Tower in furtherance of that. And, of course, that's not even contemplating the discussions with George Papadopoulos or the information about the efforts that Mike Flynn made to work with the Russian ambassador secretly to undermine sanctions and then lie about that. 
All of this is evidence of collusion. And you either have to look the other way to say it isn't, or you have to have a different word for it, because it is a corrupt dealing with a foreign adversary during a campaign. 
But, again, it will be up to Mueller to determine whether that amounts to criminal conspiracy.

"There's pretty compelling evidence--or, gosh, it sure looked compelling to me at the time, or it seemed like a good narrative--but it's up to Mueller to prove something." Boy, that's a real comedown! And a willingness to accept information is somehow "collusion?" It takes two to collude, or Merriam-Webster has seriously misled me. And it looks like that's all they think they have! And now Lindsey Graham is at least making noises about subpoenaing McCabe and Rosenstein. I'm guessing that Bill Barr will give Rosenstein zero support if Rosenstein tries to stonewall about the coup.


  1. Barr's mission, as he sees it, is to attempt to restore some semblance of integrity to DOJ/FBI after these institutions were corrupted into becoming de facto criminal enterprises by Obama Administration officials. He views that as being the paramount objective and he will act accordingly. But that is a very difficult task.

    He cannot prosecute former Obama Administration and senior DOJ/FBI officials that committed numerous Class I felonies by persons in a position of trust during the coup attempt because that would undermine the legitimacy of all prior DOJ prosecutions occurring during their watch. This would lead to chaos when past and future defendants allege that systemic malfeasance denied them due process.

    But Barr also understands that letting these DC elite criminals skate with no accountability would codify a double-standard and create an explosion of cynicism in the public domain. He will attempt to mitigate this effect through limited transparency and, most likely, some kind of Church Committee investigation. This would be the vehicle for orchestrating theatrical outrage and faux remedial rule changes that will be pitched as preventing a future recurrence.

    And the folks in the DC bubble will then convince themselves that it worked.

    1. Unknown, I agree that Barr faces a difficult task, but he took it on willingly. Does he see it his task strictly in the terms you set out? His previous statements have raised expectations. For example:

      "Mr. Barr said he sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

      I would dispute your contention that prosecuting former officials for their crimes would "undermine all prior DoJ prosectuions during their watch. This would lead to chaos ..." I contend that each case that was challenged on those grounds could be dealt with on its merits. Blanket allegations of "systemic malfeasance" would not be sufficient to overturn verdicts.

      However, an interesting test case could be the sentencing of Michael Flynn that is due--I believe--to come up again in March. If Barr's DoJ requires transparency from the FBI and Office of the Special Counsel that would send shock waves throughout the Deep State.

      Another test case is the leaking of GJ material by the OSC, almost certainly orchestrated by Andrew Weissmann--but with either the acquiescence or the approval of Mueller. Barr need do more than grant IG Horowitz a free hand to investigate. Again, shock waves.

      I suggest that we'll soon learn whether my hopes have been misplaced. I have no personal investment in Barr beyond hope. We shall see.

    2. Ugh, I meant:

      Barr need do NO more that grant IG Horowitz a free hand to investigate.

  2. Sundance over at CTH thinks Barr is going to do something too. I'll believe it when I see it. I'm still waiting for that first indictment: Comey, McCabe, et. al.

    1. Titan 28, I refer you to my exchange with Unknown, above. I can't dispute that the proof will be in the pudding, but I repeat that Barr has raised the bar (!) on himself with his previous statements. As I've repeatedly pointed out, this is a guy who did pretty much all there was to do at DoJ--ran OLC, DAG, finishing up as a very successful AG--also was top legal guy at CIA. He then was at or near the top of his profession in private practice for umpteen years. He's respected and, I presume, wealthy beyond what most of us can probably imagine. He simply doesn't need this job. In that regard I refer you to If Confirmed, Barr Will Be The Attorney General In Full generally. More specifically, I refer you to this statement from his confirmation hearing:

      “I feel I’m in a position in life where I can do the right thing and not really care about the consequences. In the sense that I can be truly independent,” Barr said.
      He added: “I had a very good life. I have a very good life. I love it. But I also want to help in this circumstance, and I am not going to do anything that I think is wrong, and I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong. ... I’m going to do what I think is right.”

  3. The fraud committed against the FISC via the acquisition of the Page warrant was not an isolated outlier, and if Barr attempts to prosecute Comey/McCabe for orchestrating this fraud, then their defense will include of exposure numerous prior similar fraudulent cases. This would undermine many of the Patriot Act tools for genuine counterintelligence investigations. Comey/McCade are counting on the Deep State not being willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. "their defense will include of exposure numerous prior similar fraudulent cases."

      Unknown, that's not a defense.

  4. I'm sitting here listening to Joe DiGenova, linked at CTH. He's agreeing with everything I've said about the real impact of McCabe's public admissions ("ritual suicide" says Joe) and expressing his own high expectations for Bill Barr. Early on, DiGenova states that the bad guys' "worst nightmare just happened--Bill Barr just walked into the building [DoJ] at 9th & Constitution."

    See also: “Bill was just an attack dog that was loosed on us”. Joe DiGenova is predicting Barr will quickly empanel a GJ and go after these guys.

  5. Mr. Wauck,

    An idea that I've latched on to (probably by the influence of Sundance at CTH) is that the Deep State gets ahead of bad news via strategic leaking. In the case of Andrew McCabe and 60 Minutes, McCabe didn't leak, but he did reveal an awful lot, on his terms.

    Maybe he now sees that he made a strategic blunder because even the liberal press were talking as though he confirmed the coup attempt. He seems to be doing damage control with his subsequent comments.

    These people aren't all that smart. They're used to power and they're used to fealty from the common man. With uncheck power comes arrogance and laziness. If the wheels comes off the conspiracy bus, they're in for a rude awakening. It'll be every man for himself. What was thought of as friendships among the conspirators were really relationships of mutual benefits. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

    I am hopeful that Bill Barr has telegraphed his intention to be an honorable AG via his comments that in this stage of his life, he has nothing to gain by becoming the AG. He is doing this as his duty.

    If Sundance is starting to be optimistic, that is quite a change. He had become doubtful that any of the bad men would ever face justice.

    2019 is shaping up to be very interesting.

    1. Joe, I think we're going to get a sense of the new lay of the land sooner rather than later. Barr has sent out all the right signals, now it's up to him to follow up on them.

  6. Unknown, that's not a defense.

    Correct, it's not a legal defense, it's a threat designed to forestall or mitigate a pending indictment. It's the same tactic used by James Wolfe to limit his legal exposure for the crime of leaking confidential information to a reporter. He succeeded by virtue of DOJ charging solely for one count of perjury. Had DOJ not backed down, Wolfe was prepared to incriminate current and former senators on the Intelligence Committee.

    1. "it's a threat designed to forestall or mitigate a pending indictment."

      You're missing something important here: Rod Rosenstein isn't running DoJ any longer. Bill Barr is the AG. Bill Barr is not Rod Rosenstein.

      I fail to see any threat "threat" in what you're suggesting. What will McCabe--or any other potential defendant--do? Tell Barr, if you indict me I'll implicate a bunch of other people in similar crimes? Barr will simply reply: Make my day. If the claim is true, those should be easy cases to make. If they're not true, the prosecutors move on.

      There's another aspect to this whole FISA abuse thing. Very, very few FISAs ever see the light of day, in the sense that they rarely become public knowledge, rarely are used in a prosecution. What we're seeing in the Russia Hoax is very much the exception. So the likely outcome of any big inquiry into general FISA abuse will be something along the lines of, No harm no foul. Yes, it may turn out that the Government listened to a lot of phone calls, but nothing came of hardly any of it. We can put in new procedures and safeguards to challenge the FBI's ingenuity.

      In the meantime, all the Russia Hoax miscreants who engaged in FISA abuse that DID go public, that DID cause great harm to the body politic and the rule of law--they can go to jail.

      I fail to see any problem here.