Monday, July 22, 2019

Byron York Deconstructs Nadler's Obstruction "Movie"

In a lengthy article at The Washington Examiner, Byron York explains what the Dems hope to accomplish with their Mueller hearing, and then proceeds to deconstruct it. To do this York borrows a metaphor from a Dem staffer:

Democrats know the report has failed to capture the public imagination, and they hope bringing Mueller to Capitol Hill for questioning will catch the nation's attention.
"Not everybody is reading the book, but people will watch the movie," a House Judiciary Committee official told Politico's Playbook.

York is, rightly, skeptical, because the movie will prove no more compelling than the book. As York observes: Some movies bomb.

Here are the Big Three obstruction narratives--or, wait, possible obstruction narratives--what the Dems will focus on:

"Democrats...intend to dwell heavily on ... the most glaring episodes of possible obstruction of justice that Mr. Mueller documented," the New York Times reported Saturday. 
[1] "They include Mr. Trump's direction to the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II to fire Mr. Mueller and then publicly lie about it; 
[2] his request that Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign chief, ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reassert control of the investigation and limit its scope; 
[3] and possible witness tampering to discourage two aides, Paul Manafort and Michael D. Cohen, from cooperating with investigators."

Of course the "possible" aspect is exactly what will lose viewers at the outset. York explains succinctly:

The first thing to notice about the Democrats' choice of evidence is what is not included. If news reports are correct,  
[1] the firing of FBI director James Comey, once treated in media discussions as Exhibit A in the case for obstruction, is not among the episodes Democrats will highlight.  
[2] Nor are the conversations between Trump and Comey that Comey wrote up in his famous memos, including a talk in which Trump allegedly asked Comey to go easy on Michael Flynn -- another episode that was routinely discussed in the media as solid evidence of obstruction.  
[3] Nor are the president's efforts to spin the public story of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting -- yet another incident often characterized as obstruction. 
Also important to remember is that the Muller investigation was not actually obstructed by the president, and neither was the FBI Trump-Russia investigation that preceded it. In the report, Mueller often argued that this or that act -- say, firing Mueller -- could have obstructed the investigation, had it actually occurred. But it did not. So the Democrats' accusations of obstruction will in fact be accusations of attempted obstruction. 

Actually, it wasn't even "attempted." At most it was probably something like "contemplated," or "considered," or ... something vague like that.

Finally, it is important to recall that Mueller could never establish that the underlying crime he was assigned to investigate -- conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia -- actually took place. So in Wednesday's hearing, Democrats will be showcase an investigation that was not obstructed into a crime that investigators could not establish actually happened.

Really? A movie about "an investigation that was not obstructed into a crime that investigators could not establish actually happened"? Who was the screenwriter for that one? York concludes:

Democrats seek to make a movie of Mueller's findings to win public attention. But some movies bomb. Without the sort of solid, incontrovertible evidence they can sell to the public, Democrats face an uphill climb, no matter how much attention the Mueller hearing attracts on Wednesday.

Read it all here: Democrats think they've got a slam dunk obstruction case against Trump. They don't.


  1. This comment is off-topic, but I want to point out another potential problem for Robert Mueller and his gang.

    For a long time, the Moon of Alabama website has been criticizing the official story of the Skripal poisoning, which took place on March 4, 2018, in Great Britain. The official story is that the Russian Government sent two secret agents into Great Britain to poison Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal. The supposed motive for the poisoning was that Sergey Skripal, a former Russian Intelligence officer, had betrayed Russia by providing Russian secrets to English Intelligence during the 1990s.

    The Moon of Alabama website gradually and brilliantly has poked many holes in the official story.

    The website has suggested an alternate explanation of the poisoning, which I will summarize here in my own words.


    Skripal already had been convicted and imprisoned by the Russian Government in the mid-2000s. In an exchange of spies, Skripal was allowed to go into exile in Great Britain in 2010. Therefore the Russian Government was done punishing Skripal.

    In 2018, however, Skirpal decided that he would try to return to Russia -- despite possible consequences -- to live out his life in the company of his family that still lived there.

    In order to persuade the Russian Government to allow him to return to his family in Russia, Skripal offered proof that he had collaborated with his former MI-6 case officer Christopher Steele to concoct the infamous Dossier about Donald Trump.

    Skripal's intention became known to MI-6, which was invested in the Dossier that Skripal and Steele had concocted. Therefore, MI-6 itself poisoned Skripal and his daughter. The poisoning only sickened them -- did not kill them. Then MI-6 concocted "proof" that Russian Intelligence was trying to kill Skripal and so he should abandon his plan to return to Russia.

    I find this alternate explanation of the poisoning to be quite compelling.


    Last Saturday, Moon of Alabama published its most recent article, Putin Confirms: Sergei Skripal Wanted To Go Back To Russia, about the Skripal poisoning. That article includes a list of links to the website's previous articles on the subject.

    1. Not really so off-topic. I've tried to follow this too, but there are so many moving parts with so many ramifications ...

    2. Billmon, the author of the Moon of Alabama blog reminds me of Sundance, the author of The Conservative Treehouse.

      Both are amazingly prolific and insightful, and I suspect that both receive tips, hints and explanations from extremely well informed officials.

      In particular, I suspect that Billmore has receive some tips, hints and explanations from Russian Intelligence.

      The Moon of Alabama was the first blog to point out that Russia's Concord Management company -- indicted by Robert Mueller -- is just a food-catering company.

  2. This is off-topic, but if you are interested in a George Parry post about prosecuting Antifa, here it is from the American Spectator.

    1. Thanks Joe. Naturally I'm aware of these statutes and am quite frankly surprised and disappointed that they haven't been put to use. Yet.

    2. My guess is that prosecutions of this type would be wildly popular during the election year.

  3. It makes my blood boil to see punks in masks gang up on one man. Especially if the cops were there and held back.

    If someone grabbed and confronted one of these punks while he was by himself, I have no doubt that he would plead not to be harmed. Hw would show himself to be the sniveling coward that he (and all of his ilk) is.

  4. I'm sure that you this since you talked with him but you are mentioned in Paul Sperry's James Comey story at Real Clear Investigations.

    Paul mentions that you are a lawyer. I did not know that.

    1. It's true. However I never practiced law. I did however go through additional training in FBI related legal matters and spent time working in legal type matters--writing affidavits and so forth. I always took an interest in legal aspects.

      I'm working on a blog re Sperry's great article, but interrupted it for various chores.

    2. I should add that, while I never practiced, I did pass the bar exam. That's part of why I have an interest in FARA and FISA, both areas I worked in and drafted documents for.