Saturday, February 29, 2020

Defeatist--Or Do They Know Something?

It seems there's a fair amount of defeatism going around. I see it in the comments here, and some commentators are expressing it, too. For example, Fox legal analyst, Gregg Jarrett--whom I've quoted numerous times and who has written two books on the Russia Hoax--engaged in this colloquy with Jason Chaffetz while hosting the Lou Dobbs show:

Gregg Jarrett: Your former colleague, Congressman Doug Collins, said today that he believes that the John Durham investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax and the FISA abuse and so forth will lead to criminal charges. I personally doubt that very much. 
Chaffetz: I think it’s warranted, based on the information we have already seen and already know. My greatest hope is attorney general Barr. He has been the ray of hope and light so far. I don’t believe director Wray, the FBI director, is a reformer. But between Durham and Barr it’s our best hope. But I don’t know. Let’s think about this, Greg. The inspector general made a cripple mall referral on the deputy assistant director and laid out the case, and it was rejected. The guy was taking money. He was going to dinners. He took sealed court documents and gave them to the media and they didn’t prosecute him. When you have a simple easy case like that and you don’t prosecute, what about something else? 
Gregg Jarrett: Even the guy who literally altered documents [Kevin Clinesmith]. I bet you he’s going to skate, too. That’s my prediction. That’s how it’s going at the DOJ.

Jarrett is a smart lawyer, but "that's how it's going at the DoJ" isn't exactly a convincing reasoning process. He bets that a guy "who literally altered documents" will skate because a guy who lacked candor in an internal inquiry skated? The two cases seem distinguishable to me.

Twitter Russia Hoax star Undercover Huber surprised me a bit. He embedded Sara Carter talking with Hannity (audio--below--is terrible). Carter was stating that John Durham has been "very quiet" about whether a Grand Jury has even been convened--nobody in WDC has actual knowledge of this. She goes on to say that Durham likely will NOT issue a report--only indictments. This is coming from Doug Collins as well as from "sources within the community" who say that this is strictly a criminal probe. Undercover Huber takes issue with all of that:

Undercover Huber
The problem with this theory is it is basically impossible for Durham to “keep quiet” about a Grand Jury so that “people in DC” don’t know about it. If anyone connected to the main players was called to testify to that GJ
a) they ["people in DC"] would know about it and
b) would surely leak it.

Ronnie V
Breaking: @SaraCarterDC on Hannity just said U.S Attorney John Durham has conviened a Grand Jury. Not going to issue a 'Report", Just 'INDICTMENTS'  

It could be possible Durham is initially doing interviews outside of the GJ (many of Mueller’s interviews were not in the GJ for example), but ultimately they would have to end up there at some point.
Finally, regardless of indictments, Durham does need to issue a report, because the Mueller dossier (outside of certain verifiable facts) is trash, and even if there aren’t indictments (or less than people want) it is important to know for sure what actually happened. E.g:
—How/when did investigation(s) really get started?
—Who was Mifsud working for, if anyone?
—Why did FBI/DOJ keep misleading FISC & was this a coordinated effort, if so who?
—What was Mueller doing for two years?
—Who was leaking to media?
Answers still useful regardless.

I would say that, while the silence surrounding a Grand Jury is unusual, it's possible that it can be explained on two counts:

1. Much if not all of the information needed in this investigation has already been gathered without the need for a Grand Jury--by OIG, and by requests to other agencies. That's all intra-government stuff and doesn't require a Grand Jury subpoena. Witnesses can be required to remain silent. Certainly witnesses who have spoken to Durham have remained silent--I'm thinking of the non-US persons, who are certainly "main players."

2. The "main players" may not be subpoenaed until near the very end.

Sara Carter also notes how frustrated people are that they're not hearing anything. There are simply no leaks of substance. But that cuts both ways. OTOH, Undercover Huber says if there were a GJ that fact and some details would "surely" be leaked, yet OTOH if there were NO GJ--wouldn't that also be leaked?

As for Durham issuing a report "just because" people want to to know what actually happened, I'm skeptical. Barr's whole program is to restore normal procedures at DoJ. It is not a normal procedure for a prosecutor to issue a "report" if he doesn't prosecute. We've already seen that declinations in related matters have come with no explanations, and I see no reason to expect that to change going forward. On the other hand, if there are indictments, those would speak for themselves and FOIA requests and leaks could do the rest of the work at a later date. Hey, I'd love to see a report, but I'm not holding my breath.

I remain optimistic simply because:

1. AG Barr has already stated that there will be "significant developments" in late Spring or early Summer--Carter is doing no more than repeating what Barr has already said. Barr is a man of his word. Period. His actions with regard to Team Mueller were impressive.

2. Over the time that Durham has been working all indications have only been that his investigation and related investigations only expand. Bringing in additional US Attorneys is not a sign of an investigation that's winding down. The extensive travels, the reports of interviews with IC employees--especially at CIA, FBI, and ONA--all indicate an investigation that is going deep.

That is all.

Friday, February 28, 2020

China Grinds To A Halt

Zerohedge has a fairly comprehensive report: China Reports Catastrophic Data: PMIs Crash To Record Low, Confirming Coronavirus Collapse. Here's just the first paragraph:

One week ago, ahead of today's Chinese data release which would for the first time capture the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic, we wrote that "to those who have been following our series of high-frequency, daily indicators of China's economy, it will probably not come as a surprise that the world's second biggest economy has ground to a halt, its GDP set to post the first negative print in modern history. To everyone else who is just now catching up, we have some news: it's going to be bad."

Read it all.

Here's another bit of interesting news, via Steve Sailer: Amazon Cancels International and Domestic Travel. Kiss a lot of that cheap counterfeit stuff from China goodbye.

Pretty big story, I'd say. A picture is worth a thousand words:

More Winning? WH Counsel And DNI Version

Two developments late today. CTH has pretty good coverage of both, but I'd like to offer a few additional comments.

First, President Trump got a nice victory in court. A three judge panel of the DC Circuit--the most influential in the country--held 2-1 that former White House Counsel Don McGahn did not have to testify for the Impeachment Theater. It's true that the Dem House can appeal to the full Circuit as a next step. I found the panel ruling to be pretty much a no-brainer, and so I regard further appeals as ultimately more losing for Nadler, Pelosi, and Schiff. I just don't see the federal judiciary as about to put the House in charge of the US Government--which would be the strong tendency if the courts should rule in favor of the Dem House's various legal initiatives. As I've said before, Pelosi has openly stated that her Dem House is superior to the Senate, and it doesn't take a legal genius to figure out that she also thinks her Dem House is superior to the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch.

The opinion notes some of those raminfications--from Politico:

Friday's majority opinion, written by GOP appointee Thomas Griffith, goes to the heart of long-running battles over the power balance between Congress and the White House that have played out during Trump’s tenure. 
Echoing arguments Justice Department attorneys had made in the case, Griffith warned that allowing the House to use the courts to enforce the subpoena against McGahn would lead to a flood of hard-to-resolve suits pitting congressional imperatives against executive branch interests. 
“The walk from the Capitol to our courthouse is a short one, and if we resolve this case today, we can expect Congress’s lawyers to make the trip often,” wrote Griffith, an appointee of President George W. Bush. 
Griffith said opening the courts to that kind of litigation would also discourage lawmakers and the executive branch from the more traditional method of resolving such subpoena fights: negotiation. Congress has long used several tools — cutting off funding, holding up presidential nominees, even impeachment — to help persuade the executive branch. 
Adjudicating these disputes would displace this flexible system of negotiation, accommodation, and (sometimes) political retaliation with a zero-sum game decided by judicial diktat,” Griffith wrote.

Kevin Clinesmith And The Papadopoulos Interrogation

A few days ago we took a look at recently released FBI 302s reporting on the FBI interviews of George Papadopoulos: Devin Nunes Looking At Team Mueller Lying Re Papadopoulos. Our conclusion was that when those 302s are compared with the sentencing memo re Papadopoulos, the picture that emerges is that the FBI really had no interest at all in the substance of what Papadopoulos had to say about his conversations with Joseph Mifsud. They knew that Papadopoulos was telling the truth--that Mifsud had told him about the Russians supposedly having Hillary's emails--because Mifsud had told Papadopoulos exactly what the FBI had told him to tell Papadopoulos. Instead, the whole point of the lengthy interrogations of Papadopoulos was to get him to change what he had said about the timing of his conversations with Mifsud.

There's a review of Papadopoulos' book, Deep State Target, at American Greatness: The FBI Considered Joseph Mifsud an Asset. The concluding portion of the review recounts a portion of Papadopoulos' recollection of his interrogation by the FBI, which bears directly on our earlier discussion of what motivated the FBI:

... when the FBI interviewed Papadopoulos, the FBI interrogators showed very little interest in the source of Mifsud’s information.  
“One of the investigators is an FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith,” Papadopoulos writes. “And he seems to be leading a lot of this inquisition.” 
Papadopoulos was asked over and over to name anyone in the Trump campaign with whom he may have shared the Mifsud emails story. “I keep waiting for someone to ask me about Mifsud himself. But nobody seems to care about him. I can’t believe these people are not interested in the source of this information.”  
In a later exchange, Papadopoulos is subjected to another round of questioning that becomes so repetitive and suggestive that Papadopoulos asks, “I don’t know if you are trying to implant a memory in my mind, or what. But I cannot sit here and tell you I told [the Trump campaign] about emails when I don’t have a memory of doing that.”  
That didn’t stop the Mueller team. They continued for seven hours, suggesting Papadopoulos had indeed told the Trump campaign about the hacked email rumor that Mifsud fed to him.  
“Unfortunately,” Papadopoulos writes, “the truth was not what they wanted to hear. No matter how much Robert Mueller and his team of FBI agents and prosecutors wished I had told the campaign members about Mifsud’s claim, I hadn’t.” 

The interesting aspect to this, of course, is that Kevin Clinesmith has already admitted to submitting fraudulently altered documents to the FISC. IG Horowitz referred Clinesmith's case to John Durham for consideration of criminal prosecution of Clinesmith. I assume that when Clinesmith was selected to interview Papadopoulos, there was more to that decision than Weissmann popping into Clinesmith's office and saying, 'Hey, why don't you go talk to Papadopoulos, OK?' This was an interview that could have potentially led to Trump's impeachment and removal from office, so I assume that many hours of preparation went into that interrogation. I further assume that Durham and his team want Clinesmith to tell them all about that preparation, in excruciating detail. They will want to know who made the decisions, who led the discussion of tactics, goals, etc. What they hoped to obtain from Papadopoulos.

Is Barr Learning From Trump?

It's easy to forget that it was less than two weeks ago that AG Bill Barr created a media firestorm ... by complaining publicly that President Trump was making the AG job almost 'impossible' by creating regular media firestorms with his tweets.

Barr's remarks were always a bit of a head scratcher. After all, federal judges--and not just Obama judges--remind us on an almost daily basis that they regard their jobs as platforms for overt political activism. That has pretty much been the core of Trump's tweeted critiques of the federal judiciary, and it's almost 'impossible' to believe that a low profile approach would change that situation.

But in the second place, it's not as if Barr himself has avoided controversy. Virtually every public statement he has made has induced a media firestorm. Yes, that was guaranteed to be the case from the start of Barr's tenure at DoJ--the media were always going to be looking to savage Barr. But on the other hand it's not as if Barr has shied away from controversy. If anything, many of his public statements look a bit like deliberate provocations in their plainspoken profession of traditional conservative views--especially with regard to religion. I welcome that, of course.

Barr was at it again, on Wednesday, delivering an address to the 2020 National Religious Broadcasters Convention. That wasn't the act of an AG seeking to avoid a media firestorm. Moreover, Barr offered some fairly pointed remarks directed at the media. While he didn't refer literally to 'fake news,' the substance of that view is clearly what he had in mind. And to top it off, he appealed to the assembled religious broadcasters to play a prominent role in redressing the imbalance of the MSM:

Today in the United States, the corporate – or “mainstream” – press is massively consolidated.  And it has become remarkably monolithic in viewpoint, at the same time that an increasing number of journalists see themselves less as objective reporters of the facts, and more as agents of change. These developments have given the press an unprecedented ability to mobilize a broad segment of the public on a national scale and direct that opinion in a particular direction. 
When the entire press “advances along the same track,” as Tocqueville put it, the relationship between the press and the energized majority becomes mutually reinforcing.  Not only does it become easier for the press to mobilize a majority, but the mobilized majority becomes more powerful and overweening with the press as its ally.  
This is not a positive cycle, and I think it is fair to say that it puts the press’ role as a breakwater for the tyranny of the majority in jeopardy.  The key to restoring the press in that vital role is to cultivate a greater diversity of voices in the media.  
That is where you come in.  You are one of the last holdouts in the consolidation of organs and viewpoints of the press.  It is, therefore, essential that you continue your work and continue to supply the people with diverse, divergent perspectives on the news of the day.  And in this secular age, it is especially vital that your religious perspective is voiced.

Those remarks came near the end of the address, but there was plenty of red meat for the MSM leading up to that. The style may not be Trump's, but the content isn't really any different. Consider ...

It's Official: Flynn Wants Exoneration, Not Pardon

That's the takeaway from an inteview with Flynn's lead attorney, Sidney Powell, according to Just the News. It's not exactly a bombshell revelation, although Powell has been somewhat cagey in that past:

Michael Flynn seeks total exoneration, not pardon, says his attorney
Sidney Powell says case could 'be over in a week' once 'altered 302' examined in DOJ review
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, told Just the News this week that she is seeking total exoneration of her client from the Department of Justice in a case that has dragged on for years. 
“We don't want a pardon," she told the site's CEO John Solomon for his podcast John Solomon Reports. "We want an exoneration." 
While emphasizing that her client wouldn’t dismiss the idea of accepting a pardon, Powell made clear that she and Flynn have set their sights higher.  
“We want this case dismissed in the interest of justice,” she said.

For a person in Flynn's position, anything less than total exoneration has never made much sense. Of course, his guilty plea never made any sense at all, even in his difficult position.

As for the case being 'over in a week,' I'd be very unhappy if there was no aftermath, no payback involving Team Mueller.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Big Win For Trump On Sanctuary Cities

A three judge federal appellate panel in the 2nd Circuit has overruled a lower court and held that the federal government can withhold law enforcement grants as a way to push states to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies. While this is only one circuit, the 2nd Circuit is based in New York City, so this is an important decision. Moreover, the states that were part of this lawsuit included: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island. The most thorough reporting so far at AP: Court sides with Trump in ‘sanctuary cities’ grant fight. The fact that the decision was by a three judge panel also lends weight.

The Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants to force states to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement, a federal appeals court in New York ruled Wednesday in a decision that conflicted with three other federal appeals courts.  
The ruling by the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a lower court’s decision ordering the administration to release funding to New York City and seven states — New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island. 
The 2nd Circuit said the plain language of relevant laws makes clear that the U.S. attorney general can impose conditions on states and municipalities receiving money. 

And it noted that the Supreme Court has repeatedly observed that the federal government maintains broad power over states when it comes to immigration policies.  
In the last two years, federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco have ruled against the federal government by upholding lower-court injunctions placed on the enforcement of some or all of the challenged conditions.  
“While mindful of the respect owed to our sister circuits, we cannot agree that the federal government must be enjoined from imposing the challenged conditions on the federal grants here at issue,” the 2nd Circuit three-judge panel said in a decision written by Judge Reena Raggi.  
“These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations. But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight,” the appeals court said.  
The Justice Department praised the decision, issuing a statement calling it a “major victory for Americans” and saying it recognizes that the attorney general has authority to ensure that grant recipients are not thwarting federal law enforcement priorities.

The battle isn't over--the conflict of circuits will likely mean this case is going to the SCOTUS. Nevertheless, it's a significant step forward. You can read the full opinion here.

Codevilla: Nobody's Afraid Of Trump

I've highlighted several articles by Angelo Codevilla in the past months, mostly having to do with the Intelligence Community and with FISA in particular. This morning he has an article at American Greatness in which he addresses this question: Why are the Dem elites so afraid of Bernie Sanders and seem less worried about Donald Trump. Here's the link:

During the past three years or so, the establishment has learned that Donald Trump barks but mostly does not bite. Nobody fears Trump. Bernie Sanders and his zealots are another story.

Codevilla's explanation for the state of affairs as he frames it is simple and sensible. Bernie and his followers know that they were screwed out of the 2016 nomination by the Dem establishment. They also know that the Intel Community was deeply complicit in the plot in favor of Hillary:

... in July 2016,  the FBI’s decision to take the DNC’s story at face value, not to press for examining the server, and not to investigate other possibilities for the leak—never mind Rich’s murder—was to shield the Democratic Party’s establishment against a threat more clear and present than the then-unlikely prospect that Trump might defeat Hillary Clinton. Looming over the Democratic Party at that instant was that Bernie Sanders’ people were on the verge of disrupting the convention and jeopardizing her election. 
The FBI’s collusion in the supposed hacking, its support of the narrative of the DNC-as-victim, rather than of the reality of the DNC’s fix of the primaries, helped cut the ground from under possible Sandersista protests. This would not be the last time that the agencies took sides in intra-ruling class quarrels.

The Dem establishment knows that if the Bernie faction gets control of the party, they will exact retribution. Bernie is therefore an existential threat:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Liberals Forcing Judicial Branch Crisis

Back in November, 2018, when President Trump criticized an Obama judge for being, well, for being an Obama judge--a resistance judge--CJ John Roberts felt called upon to rebuke the president. In the self important tones that only those who are immune to criticism for most of their lives can adopt, Roberts declaimed:

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

It was a foolish statement, and a foolish thing to do. Consider the muddled thinking. Does having an "independent judiciary"--which is to say, a judiciary that constitutes a separate branch of the government--really mean that judges are somehow immune from the temptation to read their own political views into the constitution, or to write their own political views into law? The very suggestion is transparently daft, as anyone with a passing acquaintance with American history would know. To start a public dispute with that sort of bloviation was inauspicious. Professor Josh Blackman, no Trump fan, was quick to admonish Roberts:

“Specifically, what was it about President Trump’s most recent statements that occasioned a response? Why didn’t previous statements compel a judicial declaration? Ultimately, I think this sort of statement will backfire. In the future, Roberts will invariably be criticized for not intervening as Trump escalates his attack on the judiciary.”

President Trump is not one to suffer fools gladly, so he was quick to respond to Roberts' nonsense. And then to respond a bit more, as is his wont. His first response ran:

Monday, February 24, 2020

Maybe It Wasn't Suicide?

I'm just pasting this in from CTH from TGP--the Sheriff is reconsidering his precipitous announcement that Phillip Haney shot himself in the chest:

From Gateway Pundit – […] “Unfortunately, there was misinformation immediately being put out that we have determined Mr. Haney’s death to be a suicide. This is not the case. We are currently in the beginning phase of our investigation and any final determination as to the cause and manner of Mr. Haney’s death would be extremely premature and inappropriate. No determination will be made until all evidence is examined and analyzed.” (read more)

It seems to simply be the decent thing to do in the circumstances--Wait at least as long as it took to declare that Jeffrey Epstein's death was the result of a "perfect storm of coincidences." The sheriff is asking the FBI for assistance. I'm not sure what to think about that.

Very Good Article Re Covid 19

You can get the short version at Zerohedge:

Harvard Professor Says 40-70% Of People Worldwide Will Be Infected With Covid-19

Or the full version at The Atlantic:

You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus
Most cases are not life-threatening, which is also what makes the virus a historic challenge to contain.

 The guy they're talking about is Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch. He starts out talking about the avian flu, H5N1, then compares that to more "normal" flus and Covid 19:

Those who got [H5N1] became manifestly, extremely ill. H5N1 has a fatality rate of around 60 percent—if you get it, you’re likely to die. Yet since 2003, the virus has killed only 455 people. The much “milder” flu viruses, by contrast, kill fewer than 0.1 percent of people they infect, on average, but are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.
Severe illness caused by viruses such as H5N1 also means that infected people can be identified and isolated, or that they died quickly. They do not walk around feeling just a little under the weather, seeding the virus. The new coronavirus (known technically as SARS-CoV-2) that has been spreading around the world can cause a respiratory illness that can be severe. The disease (known as COVID-19) seems to have a fatality rate of less than 2 percent—exponentially lower than most outbreaks that make global news. The virus has raised alarm not despite that low fatality rate, but because of it.

A fatality rate of 2 percent is low compared to H5N1's fatality rate of 60%. But it's exponentially higher than the usual flu rate of 0.1% that still kills hundreds of thousands per year. Lipsitch thinks this will become a world wide recurring seasonal illness. He doesn't get into things like bioweapon origins. I leave that to you.

Now here's the bad news:

At this point, it is not even known how many people are infected. As of Sunday, there have been 35 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. But Lipsitch’s “very, very rough” estimate when we spoke a week ago (banking on “multiple assumptions piled on top of each other,” he said) was that 100 or 200 people in the U.S. were infected. That’s all it would take to seed the disease widely. The rate of spread would depend on how contagious the disease is in milder cases. On Friday, Chinese scientists reported in the medical journal JAMA an apparent case of asymptomatic spread of the virus, from a patient with a normal chest CT scan. The researchers concluded with stolid understatement that if this finding is not a bizarre abnormality, “the prevention of COVID-19 infection would prove challenging.”

See why Trump was "furious" with DoS for letting planeloads of infected people into the country?

And now tomorrow the Senate will receive a "classified briefing" on this coronavirus. You read that right: classified briefing, as in: They don't want you to know.

UPDATED: Devin Nunes Looking At Team Mueller Lying Re Papadopoulos

UPDATE: A new article at Just the News expands on Lee Smith's earlier piece:

House Republicans considering criminal referrals against Mueller prosecutors 
Rep. Devin Nunes says action could force DOJ to look at conduct of Mueller team, accuracy of final Russia report.

Nunes is talking about referring the Team Mueller prosecutors to DoJ.

Lee Smith has a very interesting article today at John Solomon's new site, Just the News:

Declassified FBI memos undercut Mueller team claims that Papadopoulos hindered Russia probe
Prosecutor who recently resigned from Roger Stone case signed court filings omitting evidence of witness cooperation

Judicial Watch has obtained the FBI interview reports (FD-302s) on George Papadopoulos. The picture that those 302s paint of Papadopoulos' interviews is strikingly at variance with the picture that the Team Mueller prosecutors--Aaron Zelinsky, Jeannie Rhee, and Andrew Goldstein--paint in their sentencing memo.

The story line is a bit convoluted, perhaps intentionally so. Basically, Team Mueller claims that Papadopoulos "lied" repeatedly because Papadopoulos repeatedly maintained that when he was meeting with Mifsud and a pair of Russian nationals--in March, 2016--he was not yet part of the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos maintained that he became part of the campaign in April, 2016. But it appears that Team Mueller hedges a bit, rather slyly. Here's the actual wording of the sentencing memo:

the defendant met the Professor for the first time on or about March 14, 2016, after the defendant had already learned he would be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign;

"He would be" actually refers to the future. The future may well have been April--in Papadopoulos' mind. Moreover, Team Mueller frankly admits--but after long pages of turgid prose devoted to Papadopoulos' iniquity:

The government cannot definitively know what motivated the defendant to lie to the agents on January 27, 2017. But the record shows that at the time of the interview, the defendant was attempting to secure a job with the Trump Administration and had an incentive to protect the Administration and minimize his own role as a witness.

Again, notice that this is rather cagey language. If you don't actually know why a person makes a statement that appears to be at variance with the facts as you want those facts to be, well, that means you don't really know that the person was lying. Because lying involves motives; it involves intent to deceive. So Team Mueller is backhandedly admitting that they don't really know that Papadopoulos was lying--but they're quite willing to guess, and they're quite willing to make assertions in that regard, as long as they insert clever escape clauses. But the bottom line, ethically, is that if they couldn't show that Papadopoulos intended to deceive them about a matter that was, after all, pretty much public record, then they should never have charged him with lying.

You may ask, What harm did Papadopoulos' false statements do? Team Mueller claims they hindered an effective investigation of Mifsud and prevented the FBI from detaining Mifsud after they interviewed him in Washington, DC, in February, 2017. But the prosecutors never explain in the sentencing memo how that worked. After all, they don't dispute that Papadopoulos told them the whole truth and nothing but the truth when re recounted what Mifsud said to him about the Russians and the Hillary emails. It all seems to come down to the timing. Team Mueller wanted Papadopoulos to say that Mifsud approached him as a member of the Trump campaign, and Papadopoulos kept saying, No, it was before I was actually part of the campaign.

It all comes down to perception, on Papadopoulos' part. And you can imagine the frustration on the part of Team Mueller--so near and yet so far! But when you look at the 302s, the picture you get is of a Papadopoulos who is eager to be truthful and cooperative. Which, from Team Mueller's point of view, may have been the real problem. Team Mueller wasn't actually investigating Mifsud and what he may or may not have known about the Russians. They were simply trying to tie supposed Russian misdeeds to the Trump campaign, and Papadopoulos saying, No, that all happened before I was part of the campaign was no help at all. Papadopoulos confirming what Mifsud said was no use, because it didn't point to the Trump campaign.

Poor Lee Smith! He has lots of questions about all this, but nobody wants to comment! Not the FBI, not DoJ, and definitely not Aaron Zelinsky, who is back in Baltimore after very publicly quitting the Roger Stone prosecution. The only person willing to comment on it all was Devin Nunes:

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who played a central role in uncovering other abuses in the Russia investigation including insertion of false information in an application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant targeting the Trump campaign, said the new revelations about the Papadopoulos case are deeply troubling.
The declassified 302s "provide our first evidence of the Mueller team lying to the court,” Nunes told Just the News in a podcast set to be aired on Tuesday. "The whole idea seemed nonsensical from the beginning that in the sentencing memorandum they would say that he stalled their investigation into Joseph Mifsud. Now, we know from the 302 actually the opposite is true. The truth is that Papadopoulos offered, told the FBI, that Mifsud was going to be in the United States."

For more details, follow the link.

UPDATED: Stephen Somma, The Carter Page FISA, And The NYO

NYO stands for New York Office--that's how we referred to the New York Field Division of the FBI when I worked there. Recent revelations are showing us a lot more about the interaction between the NYO and FBIHQ in the Crossfire Hurricane Russia Hoax. Those revelations center around Stephen A. Somma, aka "Case Agent 1" in the Horowitz Dossier.

Commenter Mike Sylwester pointed me to this article by Chuck Ross--FBI Agent Faulted In FISA Report For ‘Significant’ Errors Has Finally Been Identified--which works off a NYT article. The FBI agent is, of course, Stephen Somma. The NYT article appears to be attempting to push blame for the fraudulent Carter Page FISA applications on to Somma, rather than operatives at FBIHQ. This is done partly by equating what Somma did with those applications--omitting key exculpatory information about Page, for example--with the actions of the FBI in its hunt for the mole that later turned out to be FBI agent Robert Hanssen. In the Hanssen case, the FBI--convinced that one of their own couldn't possibly be a spy--focused on innocent CIA officer Brian Kelly and ignored all evidence that point toward Hanssen. In fairness to the NYT, their narrative receives significant report from the wording of the Horowitz Dossier with regard to Somma--who was also the case agent for Stefan Halper.

Chuck Ross provides a convenient summary of Somma's actions, as revealed in the Horowitz Dossier:

Would You Buy A Book From This Woman?

Or perhaps more to the point, If you were a publisher, why would you advance this woman a seven figure amount of money to write a book?

"This woman" is erstwhile US ambassador to Ukraine and sundry other countries (Somalia is about as sundry as a country can get): Marie Yovanovitch, last seen participating in the Dem's Impeachment Theater. We learn from the NYPost:

Marie Yovanovitch is cashing in with a book deal. 
The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified against President Trump at House impeachment hearings is getting seven figures from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 
The book, a memoir that remains untitled, is expected to be released in spring 2021. 
“Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in a statement. 
Yovanovitch is represented by the Javelin literary agency, which has handled books for other #resistance icons such as ex-FBI director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton.

A lot of people think that "book deals" are really a means to buy people off, or pay them for services rendered--past or future. For example, President Trump has repeatedly pointed to the Obama "book deal"--worth $60 million with Penguin Random House. Also the Obama Netflix deal. Who knows? And of course, that's the point.

But, really, Marie Yovanovitch? Who would want to bet that even a hundred legitimate people would buy her book? That seems like a pretty transparent payoff. Which just goes to show that there's some real money behind Impeachment Theater.

What a country we've become.

What Would A Virus Optimized For Rapid, Lethal Spread Look Like

The author of this article, Charles Hugh Smith, doesn't use the word "bioweapon" even once, but it takes just about no imagination at all to realize that's exactly what he's describing--a virus engineered for use as a weapon. Call it an argument for "intelligent design," if you wish. I offer this as further evidence that what we're dealing with in Covid 19 is a bioweapon that's escaped into the wild--and nobody really knows what the consequences will be. Which explains the very obvious alarm of governments around the world--they know something that isn't being made public for fear of panic. That's my guess. Excerpt from When Will We Admit Covid-19 Is Unstoppable And Global Depression Is Inevitable?

If we asked a panel of epidemiologists to imagine a virus optimized for rapid spread globally and high lethality, they'd likely include these characteristics:
1. Highly contagious, with an R0 of 3 or higher.
2. A novel virus, so there's no immunity via previous exposure.
3. Those carrying the pathogen can infect others while asymptomatic, i.e. having no symptoms, for a prolonged period of time, i.e. 14 to 24 days.
4. Some carriers never become ill and so they have no idea they are infecting others.
5. The virus is extremely lethal to vulnerable subpopulations but not so lethal to the entire populace that it kills its hosts before they can transmit the virus to others.
6. The virus can be spread by multiple pathways, including aerosols (droplets from sneezing/coughing), brief contact (with hotel desk clerks, taxi drivers, etc.) and contact with surfaces (credit cards, faucets, door handles, etc.). Ideally, the virus remains active on surfaces for prolonged periods, i.e. 7+ days.
7. Those infected who recover may catch the virus again, as acquired immunity is not 100%.
8. As a result of this and other features, it's difficult to manufacture a vaccine that will reliably protect against infection.
9. The tests designed to detect the virus are inherently limited, as the virus may be present in tissue that isn't being swabbed.
10. The symptoms of the illness are essentially identical with less contagious and lethal flu types, so people who catch the virus may not know they have the novel pathogen.
As you probably know by now, these are all characteristics of Covid-19, and this is why it is unstoppable. As we now know, millions of people left Wuhan while the epidemic was raging in January, spreading the virus throughout China and the world via hundreds of airline flights to other nations.
As noted here before--no data doesn't mean no virus. Even in the U.S., facilities do not have test kits, for example: No one in Hawaii has been tested for coronavirus as health officials wait for kits from CDC (2/20/20).
The situation in developing nations is similar: few if any test kits, which are not 100% reliable and so multiple tests may be required, and so there is no means to ascertain who is a carrier. No data doesn't mean no virus.
The author goes on to discuss how economists would design a global economic system "optimized for vulnerability to external shocks." Not surprisingly, after listing 8 factors, he concludes:

These are precisely the characteristics of our precarious global economy, dependent on rising debt, vast speculative bubbles, vulnerable supply chains and marginal consumers and producers.

You may or may not agree with all of it, but it's definitely worth considering.

Brief Covid 19 Update, 2/24/20

Via Zerohedge:

  • First cases reported in Oman, Bahrain
  • Italy reports sixth death; confirmed cases >200
  • WHO kowtows to China in statement
  • Wuhan issues order to loosen lockdown, then U-turns
  • NHC says outbreak is fading, though situation remains "grim"
  • Iranian lawmaker says more than 50 deaths in Qom; officials say 12
  • Hong Kong bars South Koreans
  • more cases reported in SK

IOW, the virus appears to be spreading from Iran to surrounding Middle East countries. The Chinese government admits the situation in Wuhan remains "grim." Surrounding East Asian countries are beginning to take measures against the spread coming from South Korea. Not included in the summary, I read that Austria closed its border with Italy.

Global travel and trade will be hit hard.

Sebastian Gorka: The Counter-Coup Has Begun

Writing at American Greatness today, Sebastian Gorka argues that, in the wake of the Impeachment Theater, President Trump has moved decisively to take control of personnel within his administration. His primary focus, naturally enough, is on the NSC. Whether Trump previously believed he could work with Establishment Deep State figures, or whether he was constrained by the Senate confirmation process to accept such figures in sensitive positions (or a combination of the two possibilities) is difficult to determine. What does seem clear is that Trump appears to be acting on the conviction that personnel is policy. I take note of this article because I don't believe Gorka's pro-Trump credentials have ever been questioned and undoubtedly knows many of the persons involved. 

Toward the end of the article Gorka offers some observations regarding the investigations into the Russia Hoax which are worth considering. He doesn't add anything that hasn't been discussed here, but his previous closeness to Trump lends credibility to these observations:

While many in the MAGA community are still smarting from the Barr Department of Justice’s recent decision not to prosecute corrupt FBI agent Andrew McCabe, they miss the point. The charges in question were related exclusively to his lying to officials over his leaking details to the media about the Clinton email investigation. They have nothing to do with the current, and far, far larger investigation into the origins of the Russia hoax by U.S. Attorney John Durham. No one has been exonerated or had charges dropped against him when it comes to the greatest political conspiracy in modern American history, the use of the FBI, NSA, and CIA to spy on a presidential campaign and White House, Operation Crossfire Hurricane. No one, not McCabe, not Comey, not John Brennan, not Jim Clapper, not Rice, and not Barack Obama. 
Lastly and most promising to those who believe in Lady Justice truly being blindfolded, nothing—and I mean nothing—has leaked from the Durham investigation. In fact the only time that Barr’s handpicked team has said anything on record in relation to its work is to correct the sweeping claims made by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz that there was no detectable political bias at the highest levels of Obama’s Department of Justice and that the rules for predication were followed. 
Attorney General William Barr may not like the president tweeting about cases that are sub judice, but he is clearly a man on a mission to clean to Augean Stables that are the post-Obama Department of Justice, and in the most under-reported story of the last four years, his man Durham’s mandate was changed from heading an administration review, to heading a criminal investigation, which means he has found evidence of felonious acts and can (is?) impaneling secret grand juries.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Documentation That Bruce Ohr Was Pushing The Steele Dossier

We all know Bruce Ohr's story--Hey, I told the FBI this Steele "dossier" thing was unverified, that Steele had strong political motives, and all that. I was just a conduit of information. It was the FBI that ran with it.

It was always a very unlikely story, but Jeff Carlson has done the digging in the Horowtiz Dossier and has come up with documentation that Bruce Ohr contacted Steele's handler, Michael Gaeta (ak "Handling Agent 1"), within days of Ohr handing the "dossier" to McCabe and Lisa Page, to find out whether the FBI was doing anything with the Steele nonsense. Ohr had regular contact with the top levels of FBI management right there in DC--he didn't need to ask the Bureau's guy in Rome about that. Except that he probably wanted to pretend to be dealing at arms length with FBIHQ.

1) P. 99 of IG Report: Handling Agent 1 [Gaeta] stated that, prior to sending the reports [Steele Reports 80 & 94], ASAC 1 had contacted him to explain that the reports would be placed in a sub-file in NYFO and thereby "walled off" from agents in NYFO...

Josh Cremeans “DirtyTruth”
Replying to @AKA_RealDirty
@LindseyGrahamSC tells @MariaBartiromo he wants to find out how Andrew McCabe knew to get the document in New York when they couldn’t get the warrant in July of 2016. He wants to know how he even knew to go to New York.

10:02 AM - Feb 23, 2020

2) ...and that the Assistant Director in Charge of NYFO and the "Executive Assistant Director (EAD) level" [Michael Steinbach] at FBI Headquarters were aware of the reports' existence. 
3) Date of Steinbach's awareness [FBI HQ] likely just prior to 8-4-16.
But outside possibility that it was as early as 7-13-16
[Date ASAC first spoke w/Handling Agent 1]
See: Footnote 224 & P. 99 
4) Additional confirm - P. 273:
On August 3, 2016, Ohr emailed Handling Agent 1 asking to speak to him. Handling Agent 1 told us he talked with Ohr, who asked him if he had seen Steele's election reports and whether the FBI was doing anything with them.... 
5) Handling Agent 1 stated that he told Ohr that an executive assistant director at FBI Headquarters and executive management in the New York Field Office (NYFO) knew about Steele's reporting and were addressing it. 

I'd say the walls are closing in on Ohr. It seems clear that, in fact, Bruce Ohr was advocating for the Bureau to take action--albeit discretely. But this is undoubtedly not a new development. I imagine we'll be hearing lots more about Michael Gaeta as well as Joe Pientka.

Highly Recommended Read Re The Sanders Candidacy

But before we get to that ...

Emerald Robinson 
Lots of liberals are stunned that a communist like Bernie Sanders is now the Democrat front runner. 
Really? For the last 30 years, our colleges taught kids cultural Marxism & relativism & identity politics.  
Who hired these radicals to teach in our schools?
Liberals did. 
9:05 AM · Feb 23, 2020

That's right. The Left deliberately dumbed down the kids. Now they're reaping the whirlwind--the dumbed down kids are now old enough to vote, and they're really stupid.

But here's that really good article--and you'll quickly see how it fits in with Emerald Robinson's tweet:

Bernie Sanders Will Be The Democratic Nominee.
No amount of “quality control” will save establishment Democrats.

The author, Chris Barron, goes through a detailed analysis of what's going on, then concludes:

Four years ago, Sanders’ policy positions may have been considered far outside even the Democratic party mainstream. But today there is absolutely no daylight between him and Elizabeth Warren— even the Democratic “centrists” have lurched far to the left. Why should Democratic voters have to settle for the imitation (Warren) or Bernie-lite (Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg), when they can have the real thing? 
Sanders has the money, the motivated base, and a message that resonates with the Democratic rank and file. And just like with Trump in 2016, a handful of washed-up Democratic establishment hacks like Hillary Clinton and her cronies will refuse to endorse Bernie. But they won’t be able to stop him. Heck, I don’t even think Barack Obama could stop Bernie right now. 
Some believe that Democratic superdelegates will save them from Bernie. There are almost 800 super delegates who cannot vote on the first ballot. If no nominee is chosen on the first ballot, however, super delegates will be free to vote on subsequent ballots. As much as the idea of a contested convention is a dream for the media and political nerds, the truth is that if Bernie comes into the convention with the most delegates, it would be absolute electoral suicide for the Democratic Party to deny him the nomination. While I expect there will be an effort at the convention to stop Sanders—in the same way that there was an effort in Cleveland in 2016 to stop Trump—no political party is going to light itself on fire and refuse to bend to the will of its base. 
No one can save Democrats from themselves. Bernie Sanders is going to be the nominee.

UPDATED: More Evidence That Covid 19 Is A Bioweapon

Zerohedge this morning has a long post on the new official narrative from China--which is notably vague but which abandons the bats-in-the-seafood-market narrative: Chinese Scientists Find Coronavirus Did Not Originate In Wuhan Seafood Market. It's a long post, but info dense, so give it a read. Buried deep down is a factoid that I referred to yesterday and which offers strong evidence that Covid 19 is, in fact, a bioweapon:

And speaking of genetically engineered viruses, it is worth reminding that none other than Nature in 2015 described an "experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus" which has "triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks." 
In an article published in Nature Medicine on 9 November 2015, titled "A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence" and one of whose authors was Shi Zhengli, the top researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, we read how researchers created a chimaeric virus, made up of a surface protein of SHC014 and the backbone of a SARS virus that had been adapted to grow in mice and to mimic human disease. The chimaera infected human airway cells — proving that the surface protein of SHC014 has the necessary structure to bind to a key receptor on the cells and to infect them.
Although almost all coronaviruses isolated from bats have not been able to bind to the key human receptor, SHC014 is not the first that can do so. In 2013, researchers reported this ability for the first time in a different coronavirus isolated from the same bat population2. 
As Nature wrote in 2015: 

The findings reinforce suspicions that bat coronaviruses capable of directly infecting humans (rather than first needing to evolve in an intermediate animal host) may be more common than previously thought, the researchers say.
But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says. 

A little over 4 years later, we now know exactly what the trajectory is, if indeed the coronavirus is the outcome of the same experiments Nature described back in 2015.

Here are the key points:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Putin Wins Nevada In A Walk

Nevada Caucus: Putin Wins Again

UPDATED: How Likely Is It That Covid 19 Is A Bioweapon?

The short answer: Quite likely. I've suspected this for a long time based on government reactions--both from the Chinese government and other governments. Russia, for example, has basically banned Chinese from entering Russia. That drastic step suggests that Russia knows something.

And the likelihood that Covid 19 is an escaped bioweapon comes across very clearly in an article by China expert Steven Mosher in the NYPost: Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab. The article is fairly long, but here are the telltale signs:

At an emergency meeting in Beijing held last Friday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke about the need to contain the coronavirus and set up a system to prevent similar epidemics in the future. 
A national system to control biosecurity risks must be put in place “to protect the people’s health,” Xi said, because lab safety is a “national security” issue. 

Mosher admits, that's not an actual admission, but it's pretty darn close. What are people supposed to make of a statement like that in the circumstances? And Xi's statement was followed up with a lab safety directive the very next day:

Xi didn’t actually admit that the coronavirus now devastating large swathes of China had escaped from one of the country’s bioresearch labs. But the very next day, evidence emerged suggesting that this is exactly what happened, as the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology released a new directive entitled: “Instructions on strengthening biosecurity management in microbiology labs that handle advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus.” 

Since in all of China there's only one microbiology lab that handles "advanced viruses like the novel coronavirus”, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, that means that that directive on lab safety was directed explicitly at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Moreover:

More On Prosecutorial Immunity

Commenter mistcr offered an interesting take on the nature of the prosecutorial office:

Third, it is impossible to conceive of prosecutors as 'quasi-judicial officers.' They are unequivocally officers of the executive. In fact, as far as the bill of rights and individual liberties are concerned, prosecutors are the bared teeth and most naked expression of the power of the executive.

And yet, the SCOTUS in Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976) actually did describe prosecutors in exactly those terms: quasi-judicial officers. Check out some of Justice Powell's language in this 9-0 decision:

These courts sometimes have described the prosecutor's immunity as a form of "quasi-judicial" immunity, and referred to it as derivative of the immunity of judges ... 
Petitioner ... contends that ['the "quasi-judicial" characterization'] illustrates a fundamental illogic in according absolute immunity to a prosecutor. He argues that the prosecutor, as a member of the executive branch, cannot claim the immunity reserved for the judiciary, but only a qualified immunity akin to that accorded other executive officials in this Court's previous cases.
Petitioner takes an overly simplistic approach to the issue of prosecutorial liability.

It is the functional comparability of [a prosecutor's] judgments to those of the judge that has resulted in both grand jurors and prosecutors being referred to as "quasi-judicial" officers, and their immunities being termed "quasi-judicial" as well.

Without having at that time read the case, I responded to mistcr by surmizing that the characterization of prosecutors as 'quasi-judicial' derived from the notion of 'officers of the court.' I appear to have been correct, because Justice Powell also wrote this:

At some point, and with respect to some decisions, the prosecutor no doubt functions as an administrator, rather than as an officer of the court. Drawing a proper line between these functions may present difficult questions, but this case does not require us to anticipate them.

Let's see. Drawing a proper line between a prosecutor's executive functions ('administrative') and his function as an 'officer of the court' 'may present difficult questions.' No kidding? But rather than anticipating those difficult questions let's just go ahead and legislate from the bench: prosecutors get absolute immunity. After, it works for us judges, so why not for prosecutors--what could possibly go wrong? Of course, the facts of the case itself illustrated what could go wrong--the prosecutor had "knowingly used false testimony and suppressed material evidence at ... trial." And for that he should have absolute immunity ... just because? Go figure. You'd have to be a SCOTUS justice to understand the subtlety of that one.

Friday, February 21, 2020

UPDATED: How Convenient!

Sean Davis
What a coincidence that Russia always happens to support whoever the Democrat party elites are trying to destroy at any given point in time. The seditious morons behind these idiotic leaks aren’t even trying anymore. It’s embarrassing.
Quote Tweet


NEWS: Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign 
3:50 PM · Feb 21, 2020

UPDATE: Since you're unlikely to read this longer non-sarcastic version of this story in the MSM, here's an excerpt from Consortium News--Are US Intel 'Officials' Meddling In US Election With "Report" Russia Is Aiding Sanders? Nothing actually new:

With Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders spooking the Democratic establishment, The Washington Post Friday reported damaging information from intelligence sources against Sanders by saying that Russia is trying to help his campaign. 
If the story is true and if intelligence agencies are truly committed to protecting U.S. citizens, the Sanders campaign would have been quietly informed and shown evidence to back up the claims.

Instead the story wound up on the front page of the Post,
“according to people familiar with the matter.” Zero evidence was produced to back up the intelligence agencies’ assertion. 
“It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken,” the Post reported. That would tell any traditional news editor that there was no story until it is known.  
A day after The New York Times reported, also without evidence, that Russia is again trying to help Donald Trump win in November, the Post reports Moscow is trying to help Sanders too, again without substance. Both candidates whom the establishment loathes were smeared on successive days.

I suppose that by releasing the Sanders portion of the smear a day after the Trump smear, the Intel Community operatives are trying to use a sort of double whammy on Sanders. First they smear him with the Russia Hoax stuff to try to detach more "moderate" voters, then they associate Sanders with Trump to try to detach the real tinfoil hat brigade--more mainstream Dems.

Stone Seeks To Disqualify Judge

This can be brief. Stone has already been sentenced, so it's hard to see that he has much to lose:

Alex Salvi
NEW: Roger Stone has filed a motion to disqualify the judge in his case. 
His lawyers allege her remarks about jurors at his sentencing suggest she is not impartial in regard to whether a juror improperly served on his case.

9:44 PM · Feb 21, 2020

Kyle Cheney
JUST IN: Roger Stone is moving to force Judge Amy Berman Jackson to recuse herself because she praised the jurors for serving with "integrity."
Stone says she can't rule fairly on his motion for a new trial (based on juror bias) because of this.

9:31 PM · Feb 21, 2020

Changes Already Under Way At ODNI

According to The Hill--quoting the NYT--Acting DNI Grennell has already started ousting long time Intel Community officials:

President Trump's new acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, has already made major changes at the agency, including ousting the No. 2 official. 
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and his deputy, Andrew Hallman, resigned on Friday. According to The New York Times, Grenell told Hallman, who has worked for national intelligence and the CIA for three decades, that his service was no longer needed. 
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) praised both Maguire and Hallman for their service after their resignations were announced. 

The Hill's account, Trump's new intel chief makes immediate changes, ousts top official, largely follows the longer NYT article. The NYT article is a concoction of facts and fake narrative put together by the usual suspects: Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman, Nicholas Fandos, David E. Sanger, and Maggie Haberman. I got a kick out of this attempted smear of Kash Patel--the third paragraph is precious:

The Problem Of Prosecutorial Immunity

Commenter Forbes has raised the issue of prosecutorial immunity--which is absolute immunity. Here is the Wikipedia definition:

Prosecutorial immunity is the absolute immunity that prosecutors in the United States have in initiating a prosecution and presenting the state's case. ... Prosecutors have qualified immunity in other activities such as advising police and speaking to the press.

This immunity is not a matter of statutory law--Congress has passed no law that grants prosecutors any such immunity. Rather, it was the SCOTUS that did the deed, in Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976).

I've come across a forum discussion on this topic at The Federalist Society. The discussion features one speaker who advocates abolishing this absolute immunity, while the second speaker favors retaining it. Because it's quite lengthy I've pasted in, below, only the first speaker. Follow the link to find out more--who the speakers are, what the defense of prosecutorial immunity amounts to, and so forth. I've also edited what was an excessively verbatim transcript (as you'll quickly see if you do follow the link).

I think many of you will find the presentation interesting. The first speaker gets into the Ted Stevens case before Judge Sullivan, so you'll be able to see in a very vivid way the direct relevance of this discussion to the Flynn case.

More generally, the speaker also addresses an issue that I've wondered about. The speaker points out that, strictly speaking, prosecutorial immunity only applies to actions undertaken in the course of the prosecutorial function. Not, for example, when the prosecutor was engaged in investigative activity.

Anyone who reads the reporting on the Russia Hoax and Team Mueller carefully will become aware that there were many instances when the FBI agents who were present at interviews seem to have been mere note takers--the actual questioning was done by prosecutors for Team Mueller. That's an investigative function, even though the FBI agent writes up the 302 and anyone who reads it will quite possibly be under the impression that the agent himself conducted the interview or was an active participant in the interview. That means, of course, that the prosecutor is a real witness. I wonder--am I the only person who finds that problematic?

An obvious exception to this was in the Flynn case, in which Flynn was interviewed by two FBI agents. But that interview was done under pretext of being a simple conversation rather than a true investigative action. To have sent a prosecutor along would have given the whole game away.

Also bear in mind, that while prosecutors argue that anything they do should be covered by immunity, that shouldn't stand. For example, submitting FISA applications is a purely investigative step, not a prosecutorial function.

Finally, it's interesting to note that Andrew Weissmann was in fact the subject of disciplinary action. The file on that has been sealed by a federal court. Apparently Weissmann persuaded a judge that no one would be interested in that file. Perhaps what follows will explain to you why he seems not to have learned anything from that experience but has instead become emboldened. The system--aided and abetted by our black robed masters--is massively corrupt.

So, here we go:

Our Broken Criminal Justice System

There have been a variety of articles lately about our broken criminal justice system--how it often doesn't serve justice at all. There's a lot that could be said, and has been said. In recent comments I pointed out the role that the terrible expense of defending oneself can play--not an original thought! K. T. McFarland gave an interview recently that, by recounting her experience with the Team Mueller Witchhunt, encapsulates much of what others have said. Here is a fairly lengthy excerpt--mostly just a transcript--of her remarks on WMAL radio. In the interview McFarland describes her experience with the FBI and the prosecutors, the long hours of questioning without the benefit of access to the documentation that she had herself created. I like this example from another interview she gave to Fox:

... she was questioned about a 90-minute period spent in the president's Mar-a-Lago Club in which she didn't have any recorded correspondence or conversation in her phone records. That's when, McFarland said, they asked her whether that was the time she met with Trump to get marching orders.
"I looked at them and I said, 'No, that was actually when I was having lunch with my husband and I put my cell phone away,' she recalled. "Look, they had absolutely targeted me for a perjury crime or to link Trump and until I got the best lawyer in the country to come along with me, they really thought they had me."

In addition, in the longer interview, she goes into the nature of the Deep State establishment and its attitude toward the subject population of this country.

To set the stage for the rest of this, McFarland was Deputy National Security Adviser from January 20, 2017 to about May 19, 2017--when the Mueller Witchhunt began. She had been brought in by Michael Flynn and then was bounced by Deep State operative McMaster. When she left, she of course left all official documentation and equipment behind--phones, etc. Mueller's thugs had all that, transcripts of emails, texts, etc., etc. She didn't. So:

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Why in America are the rulers able to lie with impunity to the American people about things that really matter greatly, but the subject population is given the Stone treatment if they fib about matters of no importance whatsoever?

Media have rewarded leaky Adam Schiff for his leaks and lies, in which he falsely claimed for years that he had secret evidence that Trump was a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. He did not have such evidence.
Quote Tweet

Maggie Haberman
Trump was furious that briefers gave the House intel committee information, saying Schiff would weaponize it.… 
4:09 PM · Feb 20, 2020

Maybe it has to do with the fact that anyone telling the truth to the American people would have to expose the fact that at the end of the Cold War our rulers realized that America was now an Empire, and could be sold to the world--influence, trade, immigration, technology, military hardware. It was all up for auction. They make the rules, they control the investigations, they control the news flow.

US leaders have sold out America to China
Many of America’s most influential leaders have betrayed their country for pay, Tucker Carlson said in a scathing segment.

No wonder Trump is Public Enemy No. 1. By demanding fair trade with China, by trying to tighten our security against the China threat, Trump is costing the ruling class a LOT of money. Just ask Mini-Mike. Or Biden. Or any number of GOPers too. Elaine Chao could probably explain it, if anyone asked her. As commenter EZ points out, the rulers are getting hysterical, because Trump is looking unstoppable and unbribable:

Coup plotters are going full mass hysteria tonight trying to tie Grennell's appointment to a larger nefarious plot by Trump to aid and abet Russian assistance in the upcoming election. NYT is flailing away in support with a breathtaking fake news story about Russia trying to support Trump's re-election, that has no actual evidence to support that central claim. 
But what has most caught my attnetion is this tweet by brenanan tonight: 
>>John O. Brennan
We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.< 
Got that? A "national security crisis," no less, says the main suspect in the conspiracy to commit coup on a duly elected POTUS. 
This is the most persuasive evidence I have seen to date that suggests the coup plotters think indictments of them and/or their minions must be imminent.
Such nauseating and full-blown hysteria exhibited by Brennan, with coordinated MSM support, is thus a welcome omen that good things are about to happen.

UPDATE: Tucker Carlson offered an excellent commentary on Judge Amy last night. I can't embed it and don't have a transcript, but it's only about five minutes. Watch the video clip here--Tucker Carlson Calls For Roger Stone Judge’s Impeachment: ‘Democratic Activist Wearing Robes’.

UPDATED: Free Roger Stone!

That's the title of a brilliant article by former Clinton pollster and adviser Mark Penn. I've expressed strong misgivings about two of AG Bill Barr's recent statements: 1) That President Trump has made his (Barr's) job "impossible", and 2) that the Roger Stone prosecution was "righteous." Both statements are essentially indefensible--despite what even some conservatives have said about the Stone prosecution. Penn gets right to the heart of both of Barr's statements.

Attorney General William Barr is right that presidential tweets on Department of Justice (DOJ) cases make his job difficult in today’s super-charged political environment. But President Trump is also right that the case of his associate, Roger Stone, is nothing but a political prosecution that, until the president tweeted about it, got little attention or examination.

Ask yourself: Is it part of the Chief Executive's duty to point out to the American people when justice is being perverted by blatantly political prosecutions? I think it is. I think a core responsibility of any president is to speak truth to the American people about matters of great public importance. Why would Bill Barr disagree with a president performing his core responsibilities with integrity? To distance himself from a president who is attacked and smeared by the same media and left wing organizations who support political prosecutions? Such distancing acts will gain Barr no reprieve from those who are after his scalp. The honest and honorable course is to forthrightly agree with the president and explain why the president is right--not try to deflect attention from himself toward the president, which is the effect of complaining of the "impossibility" of working for an honest president.

For all the hullabaloo about Trump’s tweets, which are nothing more than an expression of opinion, remember that in five of the last six special or independent counsel investigations, such interventions were not at all unusual. ...

Again, ask yourself: Does Barr regard President Trump as an exception among presidents? What would be Barr's problem with defending the president's true statements, with which Barr himself agreed, except a clumsy attempt to imply that he's not what he is: a political appointee of that president who serves at that president's pleasure? Barr has the same recourse that every political appointee who disagrees with any president has.

Is Barr's displeasure because he thinks Trump was wrong about the political nature of the Stone prosecution? Well, Penn--a Democrat and recovering Clintonista--has a lot to say about that. Here Penn gets to the heart of the absurd and unjust use of "false statements" (1001) prosecutions:

The Grennell Appointment

No need to spend much time on the appointment of Rick Grennell as Acting DNI. Trump has made a move that appears to be aimed at the heart of the Intel Community (IC).

Grennell will not only have access to top leve intel, he'll also have access to material that was used against Trump and can be declassified. Yes, Trump gave full power to declassify to AG Barr, and we haven't seen much. While I'm willing to wait, I do believe that more can be done in terms of transparency. We the People do deserve to get a look at more of the coup plotting than has been revealed, Trump wants it, and I see no reason to believe that there aren't large amounts that could be revealed without harm to either national security or future prosecutions. Yes, the intel services of "allies" would be unhappy, but Americans deserve to know who our "allies" really are. Beyond that, putting names to documents that will be revealed in court at a later date prejudices no one.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Grennell will have access to pretty much everything to do with Impeachment Theater, and he can declassify that, too. Everything internal to the IC that went through the IC IG office--Michael Atkinson--could be declassified. Could this be a backdoor way to reveal Atkinson's House testimony. Yes. And much else. We may be about to learn much more about everyone who had anything to do with the Impeachment Theater and the Ukraine Hoax. And that will inevitably involve upon the Russia Hoax.

I won't say that Grennell and Barr will be in competition, exactly, but I can see no reason whatsoever for Grennell to try to ingratiate himself with anyone in DC except Trump. DNI is a cabinet level post, which places Grennell on a level with Barr. Grennell is in a position to be a powerful ally to the Barr/Durham investigation in terms of breaking through bureaucratic logjams and delaying tactics. Barr should go for it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Federal Judges Association Wimps Out

H/T TGP which links to CNN, reporting that the Federal Judges Association that had scheduled an "emergency meeting" to discuss the interventions of Trump and Barr in the Roger Stone case has "postponed" their emergency meeting. Tuesday morning Trump had tweeted:

“I hope the Federal Judges Association will discuss the tremendous FISA Court abuse that has taken place with respect to the Mueller Investigation Scam, including the forging of documents and knowingly using the fake and totally discredited Dossier before the Court. Thank you!”

From the CNN report:

A group of federal judges hastily postponed an emergency meeting that was scheduled to take place Wednesday to discuss concerns about President Donald Trump and the Justice Department’s intervention in politically charged cases. 
Megan Cruz, the executive director of the Federal Judges Association, said the meeting was set to occur Wednesday afternoon and the group was considering whether to issue a statement afterwards. But later in the day, Cruz said that the conference call between the 14 judges who serve as officers on the Executive Committee had been postponed. 
Cruz offered no further details and did not respond to questions asking whether the group had been asked to reschedule the meeting …

1. Federal judges--wimps. Just like other bureaucrats. It's easy to be brave and speak to power when everybody scrapes and bows and calls you 'Your honor.' Not so much when you realize that you could end up on the receiving end from someone with a bully pulpit who never backs down.

2. Perhaps Barr will reflect that there's something to be said for a President who uses Twitter and who has his back. Barr would have been taking this flack even if Trump hadn't said/tweeted a word about the Stone sentencing.

3. I'd also bet that many judges gave the officers of the association an earful.

UPDATED: Reflecting On The Trump - Barr Conflict

Quick Notice: I'm dental work done today, so I'll be in and out.

Now ...

I've been trying to fish around for some way of expressing why I tend to sympathize with Trump's tweeting over Barr's prosecutorial concerns. Riffing off a comment by Cassander, here's another try: Barr, for all his many excellent qualities, seems to lack a feel for the natural 'running out of patience' that we see among some conservatives.

In the world of politics--which Barr, also, inhabits, whether he acknowledges the fact or not--that natural 'running out of patience' is something that must be taken into account.  The Big Mo that patience based in understanding can generate will ultimately work in favor of Barr's prosecutorial effort to drain the coup Swamp. Granted, Barr has thrown us a few tidbits in his interviews. His intent and the direction of the various investigations can be read from leaks of Durhams actions, but it's clearly not enough to fully satisfy some not insignificant number of Trump's staunchest supporters.

What has been going on is a coup attempt, albeit a distinctively American lawfare and institutional coup, that would utterly transform our constitutional order. There's no getting around that reality--and that means that the very existence of our constitutional republic is at stake. Because of the disguised nature of this rolling coup, the struggle against this lawfare styled coup needs to be addressed in terms that the country understands.

That's where Trump excels, and his tweeting--unconventional as it may appear in historical terms--serves that purpose very well. We don't live in an age that much appreciates nuance--twitter is perhaps a bit like a 21st century fireside chat. As the ultimate guardian of our constitutional order and of the faithful execution of law--justice--Trump has an important role to play. Barr needs to be more appreciative of that, just as much as Trump may need to be more understanding of prosecutorial realities.

What's needed is better understanding of these realities and more communication. In that give and take, Barr must be willing to learn, not just presume that Trump is the one making things 'impossible.' Barr needs to reflect on the undoubted effectiveness of Trump's mode of communication in the context of current cultural realities. He needs to be innovative in adapting the rule of law to our current situation. That doesn't mean cutting corners, but we're beyond the age of pamphlateering, of stump speeches to live audiences only, of fireside chats, of stilted debates.

Yes, Trump may yet need to tailor his own behavior somewhat, but a silent Trump, IMO, is not in the best interests of our constitutional order nor the rule of law. To remain silent in the face of these continuing coup attempts would be an abdication of his constitutional oath of office.