Sunday, January 12, 2020

UPDATED: John Roberts: Buffoon Or Worse?

I embedded a series of tweets in the previous post on the corrupt FISC. Those tweets expressed the incredulity of all decent people that the new Chief Judge of the FISC, James Boasberg, has appointed an apologist for FBI criminality to review FBI proposals for reforming themselves. Mollie Hemingway has an excellent overall article--one among many commenters on the topic: Spy Court Picks FISA Abuse Denier To Tackle FISA Abuse--The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn't particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The one thing missing from Mollie's article is mention of the person responsible for the production of this farce: Chief Justice John Roberts. With this one act Roberts has probably unalterably destroyed any remaining shred of credibility he possessed and revealed himself simply as a tool and servant of the Deep State.

Who, exactly, IS David Kris? This is self description from the Lawfare blog:

David Kris is a founder of Culper Partners LLC. He previously served as assistant attorney general for national security, associate deputy attorney general, trial attorney at the Department of Justice, general counsel at Intellectual Ventures, and deputy general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer at Time Warner. He is the author or co-author of several works on national security, including the treatise National Security Investigations and Prosecutions, and has taught at Georgetown University and the University of Washington. Randomly, but increasingly, when he submits material for prepublication review by the government, Mr. Kris has been directed to add the following disclaimer or its equivalent, which should be understood to apply to all of his published work unless otherwise indicated: “All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the U.S. Government. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or endorsement of the author’s views.”

To get some idea of what a jackass Kris actually is, there's no better place to look than this March 1, 2018, selection at The Lawfare Blog: The Irony of the Nunes Memo. Here are excerpts, arranged in a continuous fashion. Note that Kris actually suggests that Devin Nunes should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice for publishing his famou Nunes Memo, which has been completely vindicated by the Horowitz Dossier:

The central irony of the memo prepared by House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes, we now know, is that it tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court. The key question going forward is whether the memo’s authors and sponsors will face any consequences for their dishonesty. 
The Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy. 
1. The Nunes memo’s fundamental claim was that the FBI misled the court about Christopher Steele ... 
Today we know that it was not true. Almost four weeks ago, based on my experience with the FISA program and those who administer it, I expressed confidence that the government “provided the court with enough information to meaningfully assess Steele’s credibility.” 
Nunes’s claim that the FBI misled the court was itself misleading. 
[The FBI] allowed the court to decide, based on all of the information presented, whether there was “probable cause” that Carter Page “knowingly” engaged in “clandestine intelligence activities” for Russia that involve, may involve, or are about to involve “a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.” It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent. 
2. It’s even more disturbing that a purported oversight memo would withhold key facts from the American people in accusing the government of withholding key facts from the court. 
Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and others believe that Nunes might be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, despite the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. If so, ..., Special Counsel Robert Mueller, might also get involved.

It's difficult to express just how wacked all this is, so I won't even try--except to note how mainstream Kris' views are among liberal legal types. Also that it's incredibly scary to think that Laurence Tribe was for many years considered a prime candidate for the SCOTUS.

For the rest, read Mollie at the link above. Here's a selection, which again leaves little doubt that Kris is 1) utterly wacked and living in some alternative universe of his own making, or 2) cynically dishonest:

When the applications to spy on Page — a man who was victimized by a false dossier alleging he betrayed his country and endured one year of intensive surveillance without being charged with any crime, much less any crime related to treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election — were released, Kris appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show to defend the FBI and lambast its critics. 
Maddow spun the release of those applications in such a way as to say they helped the FBI’s case that Page was a threat to national security who had lost his right not to be spied on by the government. Kris agreed, and claimed the FBI had done everything right in its surveillance process. Kris was presented as one of the few people who have ever had responsibility for the FISA process. He used his time to criticize Nunes, the member of Congress who first revealed the problems at the FBI in the face of derision by the media and other members of the Resistance. 
Kris falsely claimed that the applications “substantially undermine the president’s narrative and that of his proxies” and that if there were more investigation or transparency, it would “get worse and not better” for them. 
He said, though, that more investigation and release of information would be “dangerous.” He criticized the president, saying he was “free to make up whatever facts suit him” while the FBI was at a disadvantage by its desire to do things properly.

But that's not the real point. The real point is John Roberts.

ADDENDUM: I assume this is Roberts trying to show that there are no "Obama" judges--just judges. Well, Boasberg gave him the bird and showed him up as an empty suit.

UPDATE 1: Zerohedge has a good blog on this appointment: "A Ridiculous Choice" - FISA Court Sparks Firestorm, Appoints Conflicted, Anti-Trump Attorney To Oversee FBI Fixes. The quote is from Devin Nunes:

“It’s a ridiculous choice. The FBI lied to the FISC, and to help make sure that doesn’t happen again, the FISC chose an FBI apologist who denied and defended those lies. The FISC is setting its own credibility on fire.”

But the real point is that John Roberts has set his own credibility on fire.

UPDATE 2: Here's what I really find hard to understand. If you're John Roberts, you're where the FISC buck stops. If you're about to appoint a new chief judge of the FISC in these unprecedented circumstances, aren't you going to be just a bit more careful than usual? After all, we've just lived through three years in which the center of attention has been the Intelligence Community attempting to control a presidential election, following which the IC attempted to oust the president. We're now awaiting a hoax impeachment trial which probably wouldn't have occurred without all that passed during those preceding three years. And the FISC was front and center through all of this--it was an integral part of this constitutional crisis! Not only that, but FISA is up for renewal in the coming year.

What part of that does John Roberts not understand?

When he was about to appoint Boasberg, would he not sit him down and say, Now, Jim, we've got a pressing duty here to do right by the nation. What are your plans for dealing with this? And when Boasberg tells Roberts he'll appoint an expert adviser to help him, wouldn't Roberts tell him, Fine, Jim, but understand this--your adviser has to be someone who will not be seen as having a partisan axe to grind. You've got to check his tweeting, his blogging, his TV appearances. He can't have taken controversial--and especially not wacky--positions on anything to do with the FISC or FISA or the Russia Hoax.

Is it possible that Roberts never had that conversation? And if didn't, then what species of goof is he? Failure to have done so puts him about on a par with the Wise Latina. Can he be impeached and removed for constitutional malpractice?


  1. This is the third John Roberts decision that makes my head spin.

    1st was Obamacare. It's a tax?
    2nd was the Census asking citizenship.
    3rd is this FISA Management Debacle.

    I wonder if Trump recognizes this, and feels the need to wait till he gets another Supreme Court Justice? Or this way he can fight as an outsider? Or Trump is focused on getting through impeachment, that Roberts would be presiding over? Or does not want to pick a fight with Roberts, when there are other important cases coming up to the Supreme Court attempting to allow the House more information to advance their war against Trump (Mueller grand jury information, etc.). Or is it his adoption?

    It's frustrating Roberts seems makes decisions based more on politics, than rule of law. And there seems to be a separate set of laws for the deep state, then us plebs.

    1. I'm pretty sure Trump recognizes what a problem Robrts is. Nothing he can do.

  2. Given the various questionable decisions/actions taken by a supposed conservative judge, I have often wondered what the deep state has on Roberts. His reversal on Obamacare is and was inexplicable and ever since I have had the gut suspicion that someone has some serious dirt on Judge Roberts.

    1. As good an explanation as any, better than most.

    2. Here's a theory...

      When Roberts was being confirmed for the chief's job it got out that the NYTimes and a few others were trying look at the adoption records for the boy & girl he and his wife adopted. The probe got dropped.

      The thing is, the kids were born in Ireland and were adopted at birth by the Roberts who are citizens of the US. THat adoption is illegal under Irish law. How did they do it? The adoption was done in a Latin American country instead of Ireland. Exactly HOW it was done isn't clear.

      Roberts seems to have gone wonky during Obama's reign. What if the DoJ did the research and discovered illegalities or at least very shady items with the adoption? Something that could cause the adoption to be voided or just give the media something to tear him about with.

      Perhaps someone went to Roberts and did what Hoover would do: No threats but to say that 'we found this information but don't worry, no one else knows about it". Left hanging is who might soon learn about it. Roberts can play ball on certain cases or he would resign and Obama would get to appoint his person. He could've been told that he can't resign under Trump.

    3. In answer to the question is Roberts a buffoon or worse?, I answer "worse."

      I wondered the same thing about Roberts if somebody's got something on him. I've wondered that about Pierre Delecto and others.

      I'd bring a bludgeon to NSA's snooping powers. They have no business in domestic surveillance. The President's campaign reelection should be "Make the 4th Amendment Great Again or "Make the Bill of Rights Great Again."

  3. I tire of this and am losing all hope. Years have gone by that all have known the lawbreakers, but not one has paid a price. It seems unlikely that anyone will. I tend to trust Pres Trump in everything he does as he always proves to be right. I am not seeing a good outcome from any of this crap.

  4. Isn't Roberts the guy who muffed the oath-of-office recitation with Obama? He seems way over his head trying to deal with day-to-day issues, like he has volumes of case-law memorized but not his kids' birthdays.
    Anyway, Roberts isn't the problem. A couple dozen Obama cronies are.

  5. We live in truly interesting times; when sitting members of Congress compete to take positions that would make Benedict Arnold blush to be compared to them; when a Chief Justice sets out to single-handedly rehabilitate Taney's reputation as the most partisan Justice ever to serve. Truly interesting times when so many are genuinely unconcerned at their place in history.
    Tom S.

    1. Yes, as in the "Philosopher's Curse" interesting.
      Tom S.

  6. Boasberg's record, as highlighted at Wiki, looks favorable in what's recorded: ordering the release of 14,000 Hillary emails pursuant to a Judicial Watch FOIA suit, and preventing release of Trump's tax returns as a privacy matter.

    It appears that Kris and Boasberg worked together in the criminal division of the USA for DC, roughly from 1996-2000.

    So I guess you could say, long time swamp creatures swimming together in the same mire...

    1. I believe in a comment, when Boasberg was appointed, I defended the appointment. Not that I'm an expert on Boasberg, but I recalled that he had made some good rulings. But this is a real boneheaded move.

    2. Yes, Kris's public outspokenness should've been an automatic disqualifier.

  7. "Can he be impeached and removed for constitutional malpractice?"

    You see the enormous damage done by justices and judges going back since the late 1950s. Even Reagan had a terrible S.C. appointment record of 2 good and 1 bad. The one good one was Scalia. H. W. Bush was 1 and 1, Clinton 0 for 2, W. Bush was 1 and 1, Obama 0 for 2, and DJT is 1 good and 1 unknown.

  8. A common denominator in all of this is corrupt men who have made a lot of money sucking on the government teet. Many of these same men have sold the working man down the river and offshored our industrial base.

    No wonder young people look favorably on socialism. We have way too much crony capitalism. I'm not sure if I have changed my point of view but I can understand the old days of paying 90% of one's adjusted gross earning to Uncle Sam the way the game is rigged in our country. Not that I'm advocating for big government. But I am sick to death of Robber Barons. Two perfect examples are Hunter Biden and Chelsea Clinton, who was paid $9M, I think, for sitting on some corporations' boards as a director.

    These leeches have no shame.

  9. I'm sorry, Reagan was 1 good and 2 bad.

    1. Which shows the danger in equating libertarian tendencies with conservatism. O'Connor and Kennedy were very big mistakes. Generational mistakes.

  10. Aside from Roberts, why would the FISC really care whether FISA was continued or not, or what happens to that court?
    And Roberts might not care all that much either - he knows MSM is on his side and will spin anything in his favor.

    It's not as if they'd lose their judgeships, is it? They'd just go serve on some other bench, I would think.

    1. The real problem is exercising some sort of control the data grabbing of the IC. I'm more than ready to consider some creative solutions. The whole FISA regime increasingly appears to be an abject failure. But all this has importance consequences for whether we'll be a free nation or a national security state.

  11. Establishment bubble. Like a sort of royalty, Supreme Court justices have little to no connection to the real world. Pretentious legal and philosophical waxing at aristocratic cocktail parties and exclusive forums is about the extent of it. Extending the benefit of doubt, Roberts is perhaps completely and utterly oblivious to the massively disqualifying conflict of interest in the Kris selection, or even the very notion of such a thing from a courtesan of "good standing"...with the Swamp.

  12. Bottom line.

    Forget Kris, Boasberg and Roberts.

    For this and many many other reasons, POT* must win decisive majorities in both Senate and House in 2020.

    * Party of Trump (ie, no GOPers)

  13. In a related note, Pelosi stated they might bring up more articles of impeachment.

    And, if the Senate had a trial, J Rob would preside again per the Constitution.

    It would be nice if it was valued and respected in the first place.

  14. Understanding that this whole mess was going on for a long time, was broad (reaching across a good part of the world), and much deeper than we ever dreamed, I am not about to go Eeyore and give up. The actual time frame during which disclosures have occurred, evidence been unearthed (and that continues), and new (to us) players being disclosed, I don’t believe that we have actually been waiting for resolution all that long. But the internet is a haven for those who want immediate gratification.

    Conspiracies are usually not brought to justice one perp at a time. I believe both Barr and Durham are diligent. If the choice is between hanging my head in deep discouragement now and waiting for them to finish their work, I must choose the latter. And wish them both well.