Saturday, February 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

But this is a very big bid to backtrack. 
According to The Hill
     "A spokeswoman for former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said Friday that comments he made regarding a potential use of the 25th Amendment to oust President Trump have been “taken out of context and misrepresented.” 
     “At no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions,” 
spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in a statement. “Mr. McCabe has merely confirmed a discussion that was initially reported elsewhere." 
Actually, it sounds high-schoolish. He's not exactly denying a coup plot, which was firmly established after his 60 Minutes interview to be aired Sunday. He's actually just trying to extricate himself of responsibility for it - saying he's now repeating stories he heard from others, and the whole thing was former Justice department official Rod Rosenstein's idea. 
Not me. Rosenstein did it.

Alan Dershowitz got to the heart of the matter, openly mocking Rod Rosenstein and the other plotters. Beyond the transparent flimsiness of the investigative jusfications, there was a fundamental constitutional issue:

 “You know, these guys are watching ‘House of Cards’ instead of reading the Constitution,” Dershowitz told Fox News during a discussion about Justice Department officials contemplating invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove President Trump from office. "The Constitution is clear as can be. The 25th Amendment is applicable only if you're incapacitated.
"It's not a substitute for impeachment, it's not a substitute for an election and if [deputy attorney general] Rod Rosenstein actually thought about and suggested wiring the president, invoking the 25th Amendment, he should be fired before he has the opportunity to resign. He should be disgraced."
“This is as close as this country has ever come to the consideration of a coup d'etat, a constitutionally unlawful coup d'etat against the duly elected president. When you have a deputy attorney general thinking of circumventing the 25th Amendment that is close to constitutional crisis.”

As Dershowitz put it to Tucker Carlson: "The 25th Amendment is about Woodrow Wilson having a stroke." It's not about policy and personnel disagreements--he fired our guy, he can't do that!

Further, as we're learning--or, rather, having confirmed--Mueller has no "collusion" case at all. The whole thing was flimflam paid for by Hillary. And now the House of Loons, led by Jerrold Nadler, has no plan except for extended fishing expeditions based on the fact that Trump considered doing business in Russia--as if that's suspicious in and of itself.

Mark Penn points to the way forward. After reviewing, in his usual incisive style, where we are and how we got here:

Newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr needs to crack all this wide open. The secret charge to Mueller needs to be released. The FISA warrants need to be declassified.
A grand jury must be empaneled to investigate all this and get testimony from officials under oath, and the certification of the warrants used to wiretap the Trump campaign needs to be fully investigated. Dossier author and former British spy Christopher Steele and Glen Simpson – founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS – need to be called to the grand jury. 
Operating a year past his commitment to the president’s lawyers, Mueller needs to finish his investigation, shut down his office, and distribute any remaining cases back to the Justice Department that now has a fully empowered attorney general. 
If Mueller wants to continue instead, he should be required to balance his team with Democrats and Republicans, removing any former Clinton lawyers.

I would add this. Numerous knowledgeable commenters see the way forward as resting with the appointment of Bill Barr as Attorney General. That's as it should be. It's what we have an Attorney General for. In that regard, I refer to a previous blog: A Message Of Hope. And note again Barr's statement to the NYT in the summer of 2017:

[Barr's] qualities of principle, sense of public duty, and courage were on display late last year, as noted by the New York Times, when the paper questioned former AGs regarding Trump's continued calls for investigation of Hillary Clinton: 
     Of 10 former attorneys general contacted Tuesday, only one responded to a question about what they would do in Mr. Sessions’s situation.  
     “There is nothing inherently wrong about a president [i.e., Trump] calling for an investigation,” said William P. Barr, who ran the Justice Department under President George Bush. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”  
     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.

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy has a good summary article today: McCabe, Rosenstein and the real truth about the 25th Amendment coup attempt. In part he repeats what Alan Dershowitz has very forcefully stated regarding the complete inapplicability of the 25th Amendment to what McCabe and Trump thought was the Trump "situation." In part he repeats what he has previously stated regarding Rosenstein being in an "overwrought" state of mind. But he concludes with a good analysis of Rosenstein's non-denial denials, which I'll boil down. Basically McCarthy illustrates the way Rosenstein obfuscates by denying claims that nobody ever really made:

1. Rosenstein says he never authorized recordings. But no one claims that he did. The question is whether he and McCabe discussed the possibility of authorizing them. ... Since he can’t credibly deny McCabe’s admission that the two of them talked about recording the president, Rosenstein resorts to the shopworn tactic of distorting the allegation. 
2. Rosenstein asserts that “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” No kidding. ... The question is: Did Rosenstein and McCabe consider whether there was a basis to invoke the amendment back in May 2017, after Comey was fired. Plainly, they did. 

3. Rosenstein states that he was not “in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.” Again, he is being deceptive. ... The 25th Amendment does not permit the deputy attorney general to trigger the process ... Rosenstein is now embarrassed to have engaged in this discussion; but, again, he cannot credibly deny it outright. ... 
It is understandable that the deputy attorney general wishes he hadn’t talked about removing the president. Legally, it was a harebrained idea. ... But it happened, nonetheless. ...


  1. I am truly baffled by McCabe's willingness to disclose these plans.

    For me, since the revelations last Fall about the discussions, the key question has been whether or not Rosenstein really was being sarcastic. If he was being serious, then it forces me to view the entire Comey firing as a planned event involving the collusion of Rosenstein, McCabe, and James Comey. How else could you explain the Rosenstein memo taking as factual McCabe's assertion about Rosenstein's offer of wearing a wire?

    1. I've always been inclined to accept Rosenstein's version--that he was being sarcastic. I found it hard to believe that he, the Deputy AG, would be willing to descend to the level of vulgar cops and robbers antics.

      OTOH, as Dershowitz says, Rosenstein's involvement in any of these discussions--which I think we can take as admitted--was entirely out of bounds, regardless of his views on wearing a wire. To me, the Cabinet members who would have to be involved in any 25th amendment thing, would shrink from it becoming public knowledge that they had engaged in something like that.

      Re the Comey firing as "planned event," I don't think so. Everyone involved seems to have thought Trump would back off from the action--which tells you that Trump is probably nowhere near as the impromptu loose cannon that he's portrayed to be. I do agree, however, that there may well have been some contingency planning in case the firing occurred--they clearly knew Comey was on thin ice, ever since Mike Rogers told Trump about the FISA.

      BTW, here's R.'s "Comey firing memo", for reference.

    2. Re that second paragraph, a rewrite:

      OTOH, as Dershowitz says, Rosenstein's involvement in any of these discussions--which I think we can take as admitted--was entirely out of bounds, regardless of his views on wearing a wire. Moreover, I think that the Cabinet members--who would have to have been involved in any 25th amendment thing--would have shrunk from being associated publicly with that kind of "wire" shenanigan.