Sunday, May 24, 2020

UPDATED: Recommended Read: Curiously Odd Decision By Judge Sullivan to Hire Beth Wilkinson

Shipwreckedcrew hereby solidifies his reputation as an experienced prosecutor who is able to explain complex legal matters in everyday language. While I don't fully agree with his conclusion, the whole piece is worth your time to read to get the big picture of what's going on.

Curiously Odd Decision By Judge Sullivan to Hire Beth Wilkinson

The fairly lengthy article summarizes the entire Flynn case, obviously glossing over the earlier parts:

Just when you thought the Gen. Flynn case couldn’t get any more weird.
Let’s briefly recap the madness:

However, I want to urge readers not to skip over the early parts. You may think it's old history, but I want to suggest that it may explain why AG Barr thought it might be a wise move to allow the Flynn case to play out in Sidney Powell's capable ends--that it was already winding down to its logical conclusion quite rapidly, and it would be better to avoid a controversial intervention until the reason for intervening was patently clear.

From that perspective, I think the summary helps to show that that's exactly what was going on--until Sullivan ran totally off all judicial rails, appointing himself prosecutor.

Read it with an open mind. Yes, this is a major case in the Russia Hoax. Nevertheless, Barr has bigger fish to fry--and those fish will be even more controversial. Therefore he needs to proceed methodically to set the groundwork for those coming prosecutions, while avoiding an appearance of stage managing processes that are supposed to be handled at the US Attorney level.

But then by all means move on to the question of Sullivan hiring Beth Wilkinson:

Gen. Flynn’s counsel files a Petition for Writ of Mandamus with the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, asking the Court to “Mandate” that Judge Sullivan dismiss the case based on controlling Circuit precedent, an exercise that almost never produces an Writ such as that sought by the Defendant. 
Giving a “one finger salute” to the filing of the Petition, Judge Sullivan enters an Order setting a briefing schedule for the filing of opposition and reply briefs on the issues before the Court as set forth in the DOJ motion to dismiss, setting a hearing date nearly two months away.
The next morning the Circuit Court of Appeals ORDERS a district judge to personally respond to the Petition for Writ of Mandamus and address the issue of whether he has any discretion on the question of granting the motion to dismiss the case — giving him only 10 days to do so, which includes a federal three-day holiday weekend. 

Judge Flynn doubles down by hiring private legal counsel to assist him in responding to to the Circuit Court’s order. 
You couldn’t ever make this up.
Judge Sullivan has hired the very experienced and very well know Washington DC criminal defense attorney Beth Wilkinson to “represent” him in connection with the Circuit Court order, although it remains an open question whether the Circuit Court will accept or hear anything from her on Judge Sullivan’s behalf.  Their order was specific as to him, he’s not a “party” represented by counsel, and if Judge Sullivan is not capable of answering a question about the application of a Rule of Criminal Procedure, the Appeals Court might want to take up the question of Judge Sullivan’s fitness to serve as a district court judge since understanding and applying the Rules of Procedure is kind of a basic job requirement for the position.
So what is it that Judge Sullivan hopes to accomplish by hiring Attorney Wilkinson? 
Among the relief requested in the Petition filed by Gen. Flynn’s counsel is that the matter be reassigned to another district court judge, setting forth the litany of hostile comments made by Judge Sullivan in writing and in open court about Gen. Flynn and his current counsel.   ... 
It would also be a huge personal humiliation for Judge Sullivan, and could end his career. 
Placing Beth Wilkinson — well known and respected by all the Circuit Court Judges — between Judge Sullivan and the three judge panel of the appeals court seems to me to be an effort to insure that Judge Sullivan’s response is measured and non-antagonistic — ... 
Her reputation is one of insuring that “cooler heads prevail”.  With a week to prepare a response, I think she’ll be successful in making that happen.

Notice one thing implicit in what shipwreckedcrew is stating here--but which I omitted. He openly suggests that

My theory is that this course was urged upon him by supporters ...

Not by his clerks, or his wife. By "supporters." Is a judge supposed to have "supporters" advising him on how to manage a case? I think not. Yet at the same time I think every judge and lawyer in DC knows who those "supporters" were--former federal judge and lawfare style prosecutor John Gleeson and the other likeminded attorneys who have been publishing strongly partisan op-ed pieces in the WaPo. And now it appears that Sullivan is leaking to the WaPo his intentions.

In such a situation, how possible is it anymore to try to return to normal, without addressing the attempted usurpation by Sullivan of properly executive decisions? If Sullivan isn't reined in in no uncertain terms, is it only a matter of time before more "resistance" judges--"resistance" because there are, we hear on the best authority, no "Obama" judges--begin tying up the courts with similar ploys? Are there even enough "honest liberals" remaining to hold the line somewhere, at some mutually and societally acceptable notion of the proper judicial function? Recent partisan attacks on AG Barr suggest otherwise. It seems that the higher courts need to find a way to step in to restore order.

Funny how these things work:

Charles W - Text TRUMP to 88022 

@GenFlynn supposedly did something wrong and was told he does not need an attorney. 
#JudgeSullivan supposedly did nothing wrong but gets a high powered attorney. 
I see... 

4:36 PM · May 23, 2020

UPDATE: Matt Whitaker gives a sensible 5 minute interview:


  1. OT again (sorry!), but JE Dyer's making her usual excellent points over at LU (, closing with this:

    begin quote//

    As with so much of Spygate/Obamagate, we are left with serious questions as the hard data points start to come out. The story as we thought we knew it doesn’t add up.

    It’s not actually good enough to not be sure if Susan Rice was or wasn’t at the 5 January 2017 meeting she wrote a CYA memo for.

    It’s not good enough to have to wonder why there’s no record of Susan Rice making the one unmasking request she testified to the House on in 2017.

    And it’s not good enough to observe that the narrative woven from the beginning around the FBI’s surveillance of Flynn doesn’t survive the hard edge of fact as it appears to emerge. I could buy that the FBI was performing primary monitoring of Kislyak’s phone calls, and that’s how it picked up Flynn. But the details and context have to make sense. Right now they don’t [snip].

    There are ways to cross-check all these things. Larry C. Johnson, writing at Gateway Pundit, said forcefully that we need to hear from these people under oath, in a witness seat, answering tough questions themselves. He’s right. The time for trying to reconstruct the truth from a narrative conveyed largely through ellipsis and impression in media reporting is long past.

    It is extremely informative, at least, that as actual information is unveiled for us, as it has been over the last couple of weeks, it has served mainly to highlight how many holes there are in the stories we’ve been getting from the Obamagate principals all along.

    //end quote

    Maybe we’ll get lucky here at MIH and you’ll lend us your own thoughts on Dyer’s column. For me, it just serves to highlight that as well as much of the big picture has been pretty well put together, the actors are still holding back as much of the good stuff as they possibly can, especially the little details that are the most incriminating evidence of all - the ones that make all the difference between a case that is hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt and one that is all but airtight.

    Barr/Durham have a helluva job on their hands.

    1. I already did offer some comments on Dyer's article, in a comment somewhere. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't have a search function that covers comments, just the main posts. She's wrong re my account not adding up. As a non-lawyer, like so many, she can't wrap her mind around the possibility that perfectly legal means were used for illegal ends--and that the key is in predication. In other words, the collection was all perfectly legal and the lack of masking was close enough to legal to not really matter for prosecutive purposes. The place to go is the lack of predication for any investigation of Flynn to begin with and following the collection what Barr could paraphrased as describing as the "continuing lack of predication" to investigate Flynn (via the interview) for anything arising from the collected conversation with Kislyak. Focusing on the collection the masking/unmasking is a waste of time.

      Yes, Barr/Durham have a helluva job on their hands--which is why it's taking time. The question is, do we want a real job done or just a slapdash prosecution of bit players?

    2. Thanks, Mark - sorry I hadn’t seen previous remarks.

  2. Time for Judge Sullivan to retire.

    What defendant/litigant would want to appear before Judge Sullivan given the litany of hostile comments made in writing and in open court about Gen. Flynn and his current counsel?

    The record in this case seems to reflect a lack of urgency to seeing justice done--setting a hearing date for two months regarding the govt's motion to dismiss?? Two weeks would've been ample.

    1. His actions have truly been so egregious that I think Wilkerson can't really just smooth it over. Some disciplinary steps will need to be taken--if for no other reason than to serve as an example for other judges. The judiciary is spinning out of control, and the rule of law will go with it. The question remains, are there enough "honest liberals" left to realize where this is leading and apply the brakes (we dare not hope at this point for true reform).

    2. If Shipwreckedcrew is on the mark, Wilkinson has been brought in by Sullivan to smooth his rough edges so that he doesn’t dig himself in deeper. But if he is that kind of a guy - someone who tends to be an arrogant antagonizer, what kind of insight would have gotten him into agreeing to “supporters’ suggestions” that he bring her in? Was it some kind of intervention? Is it plausible that someone with that personality would ever allow himself to be steered to this action? Especially when it is legally off the rails?

    3. Now that it's clear that Sullivan is Resistance, what if Wilkinson will have Sullivan drench his reply with legalese, so that the MSM follows none of it?
      Then, have her "explain" it to the cameras, so as to guide the MSM to interpret it, as implying that those Circuit judges who vote vs. her client are so Rayciss, that the MSM can then go full agitProp, for antiFa/ BLM to deploy "civil disobedience" (e.g. sit-ins etc., by the Circuit courthouse doors).

  3. I liked these two passages particularly:

    "[I]f Judge Sullivan is not capable of answering a question about the application of a Rule of Criminal Procedure, the Appeals Court might want to take up the question of Judge Sullivan’s fitness to serve as a district court judge since understanding and applying the Rules of Procedure is kind of a basic job requirement for the position."


    "My theory is that [hiring a 3rd party to respond] was urged upon him by supporters who recognize that if left to his own devices Judge Sullivan was quite capable of responding to the Circuit Court’s order with a caustic, derisive and thereby self-defeating screed challenging the DOJ motion.

    Placing Beth Wilkinson — well known and respected by all the Circuit Court Judges — between Judge Sullivan and the three judge panel of the appeals court seems to me to be an effort to insure that Judge Sullivan’s response is measured and non-antagonistic — even though he’s likely steaming that the Circuit Court has embarrassed him publicly by issuing the Order the way they did."

    I'll only add that since Judge Sullivan most definitely did not reason himself into this situation, he would have a very rough time reasoning himself out of it. He can only admit the ugly truth of how he came to his current position, or lie his way out of it. The former is untenable, and those around him seem to feel he's not good enough to expertly pull off the latter, so Attorney Wilkinson it will be.

  4. What if his own clerks objected to participating in Sullivan's response or alternatively told him they see no good argument for his rulings?

    1. Excellent point. Why would these clerks with full careers ahead of them want to be tarred with the Sullivan brush? Only the most ideologically driven, such as a Clinesmith, would risk their career in the legal profession on such a foolish errand.


    2. 1) Remember that clerks generally share the ideology of their judge - they were recommended by people whom the judge knows; 2) Having clerked for a federal judge (with DC connections)their careers are pretty much assured. No stigma here.

    3. Do clerks have a vote in how their judge behaves?

  5. Appeals Panel wisely put the burden on Judge Sullivan with their decision. Notice how the coverage / focus has stayed mostly on Judge Sullivan. Smart politics, and has made their decision seen as non political. Since how can anyone argue with Just asking Judge Sullivan to justify his decisions?

    Agree on AG Barr being very careful with his actions to be non political as a neutral party, allowing Sidney Powell to take all the heat. Even with this, Barr was accused of being political. And interesting coincidence, of Senator Burr being investigated and cell phone seized (this is major).

    Hiring of Beth Wilkinson I see as a way to save face for Judge Sullivan. I don’t think Is a way to extend this circus. And I doubt with the chumminess of Federal Judges any further action will be taken Against Judge Sullivan. I expect him to be treated with kids gloves, especially due to his race and being nominated by President Clinton got his current post in DC.

    1. Seems probable, and if so a big win for Trump, Barr/Durham.

    2. The Democrats and #NeverTrumpers wanted Sullivan to prevail so that a Trump pardon would be forthcoming. A pardon would not have been appropriate when there has been so much prosecutorial misconduct, and the optics would be bad for both Trump and Flynn. Dismissal is a the only legally correct outcome.

    3. Sullivan’s conduct flies in the face of the Code of Conduct for Judges - especially Canon 3,

      Canon 3: A Judge Should Perform the Duties of the Office Fairly, Impartially and Diligently

    4. It flies in the face of all sorts of things, like the US Constitution. Not that that's much of a consideration for liberals.

  6. Off Topic, but extremely interesting:

    Undercover Huber's thread on the outrageous stuff they did to PapaD, much of which I never hear before.

    >> <<

    NB: the offer of burner phone to PapaD by the FBI CHS, which PapaD declined. Also initially charged him with Obstruction, even though they must have known they could not prove intent.

    Van Grack involved. Initital Court hearing after arrest took place without counsel for PapaD present.

    1. Yeah, thanks. The details re the lawyer are to me very much the most important parts, although the other misrepresentations are bad, too.

      I have to believe GP's conviction is gonna play out big time against Team Mueller.

    2. Looks like Weissmann was betting the ranch that, aided and abetted by the ever compliant media, he could use his personal brand of 'lawfare' tactics to turn abusive and/or extraneous charges, pleas and convictions against "Russians" and Trump associates, as well as legally bogus claims of Trump's obstruction of justice, into an overwhelming public rejection of Trump capped off by a quick impeachment and removal.

      Keys to the ranch, please, Andrew.

    3. All roads lead to Weissmann and Mueller. Through others like Van Grack, Clinesmith, Rhee, and so on. Mueller may have seemed like a dodderer, but I don't think he was so out of it as not to get the big picture of what was going on. And he had a lot of skin in the whole Obama game. Obama was elected in 2008 and Mueller didn't step down until 2013.

    4. No, Mueller was playing a game. During questioning by R’s, he was doddering, by D’s he was on game.

      Doddering? An odd word that is not in much use. It is being used now to make Mueller appear sympathetic, in my opinion. Senile or feeble are synonyms, but import more meaning than what they really want Mueller to be perceived as.

      - TexasDude

    5. You know, Cassander, I bet that was true in a hopeful kind of way. As this has progressed spanning 4-5 years, I feel that it is rather than hat he, they, do not care about public opinion save for those of like mind. I further believe that law is just a tool for the them to get whatever they want and it does not matter if they twist, bend, or break it and who they destroy.


    6. @TexasDude

      "I further believe that law is just a tool for the them to get whatever they want and it does not matter if they twist, bend, or break it and who they destroy."

      I agree. When they tried to destroy Kavanaugh that was all I needed to know for the duration. That was despicable.

      My point, what I guess I've been saying in a number of different ways today, is only that so far they have failed to twist, bend, or break Trump.

    7. Here's a terrific analysis of Robert Mueller's bizarre testimony confirming his non-responsiveness to Rep questions, with the exact opposite response when questioned by Dems.

    8. "Mueller didn't step down until 2013."

      Yes, why was it so critically important that Mueller remain at FBI through the 2012 election, exceeding the 10-year term for directors?

  7. The FBI and DOJ took out Stevens with no repercussions, so I doubt they thought anything would happen to them for Obamagate.

    I’m surprised we have learned as much as we have. The results speak highly of Barr.

    1. @ Ray
      "The FBI and DOJ took out Stevens with no repercussions, so I doubt they thought anything would happen to them for Obamagate."

      Trump is the difference.

      They miscalculated. But understandably so. If its anybody in the world but Trump, then Comey, Weissmann and Schiff win. Trump is 1 in 7.5 billion.

  8. From Sharyl Atkisson interview, relevant to Trump's 1st 2.5 years playing defense exclusively, and his mental energy:

    Below I insert a number, e.g. "(6)", as the number of words in the transcript I skip (because there is too much. I must sum up.)

    Sharyl: But why did it take Richard Grenell? You had other people who work, serve this administration.

    Trump: I did. Because they didn't do their job. They didn’t do their job. Dan Coats (6). Dan Coats (38) Dan Coats didn't do his job. Jeff Sessions was a disaster (28) Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster. They took over. They've always had the Department of Justice, but they kept it under Jeff Sessions. (136), but I didn't know people in Washington (316). I would like to see it move much faster. (88) hopefully Bill Barr is going to do something about it. And you know what? Other things are going to come out too. And a lot of other things are going to come out, (42).

    Sharyl: How important do you think it is to pursue allegations about Joe Biden and improper things happening in Ukraine without making it look like you're doing the very same thing they did to you?

    Trump: No, I'm not doing. All I'm doing is exposing corruption. In their case, there was no corruption. (57) General Flynn, (12) he went through hell. (3) They ruined other people, good people. And we're going to be helping a lot of good people. (97).

    1. @dfp

      I wish he prepared exactly what he's going to say a little better and I wish he were more crisp and articulate. He's got such a strong case and he dilutes it with his imprecise choice of words and the terrible repetitions.

      But then I remind myself he wouldn't be Trump if he were or did all these other things. And, as I just posted above, I don't think anybody but Trump could have withstood the onslaught and exposed so many problems in our national life that desperately need to be addressed.

    2. I was telling a friend the other day...

      Ironically, some of this is only happening because of Trump. He's a lightning rod. But at the same time, he's also like a magnet drawing out and concentrating all the worst proclivities and possibilities of the left.


      I agree. I wish he didn't sound like a used car salesman. I re-registered as a Republican for the primaries in order to vote against him. I wanted Walker (a fighter) or Cruz (a thinker). I was appalled when he won the nomination, determined to write in my dead cat. But then I decided I had to vote against Clinton.

      Literally no one could have done what Trump has done. Certainly none of the other candidates. They would have crumbled in the first 6 weeks.

      Even though I think some of this is only happening because of Trump, I still think he has done a vitally important service to this nation. I knew we were in bad shape, but I had no idea how bad it was.

      He drew the Leviathan out of the deep.

      And now we know that the fight is not generational. It is civilizational.

  9. Here’s the interview ... It’s not a disjointed as portrayed ...

    Sharyl: A lot of alleged wrongdoing has been uncovered by FBI and intelligence officials, particularly lately. Until Richard Grenell was made the Acting Director of National Intelligence by you, reporters, members of Congress, members of the public had asked to see a lot of this information really for three years, but it was kept hidden. What do you make of that? Because it was kept hidden by people working for your administration.

    President Trump: Richard Grenell is a superstar. He had guts, he had courage to do what he did. We have another superstar going in as you know, John Ratcliffe. He just got approved yesterday and he'll be taken over as of Tuesday. Richard Grenell has done one of the best jobs I've ever seen. I mean, in a short period of time, he exposed them as being corrupt. Look, they were trying to do a takedown of the president of the United States illegally. It's all illegal. Now, I don't know what happens. We hope Bill Barr is going to be as good as we think because Bill, he's a great gentleman, a great man. He's got to hopefully use that information and do what's right. And he'll do what's right. Bill Barr will do what's right, but what Richard Grenell has done for this country is incredible.


    - TexasDude

  10. Continued ...

    Sharyl: But why did it take Richard Grenell? You had other people who work, serve this administration.

    President Trump: I did. Because they didn't do their job. They didn’t do their job. Dan Coats should have never let that happen. Dan Coats sat there for two years, didn't do his job. He then had a replacement. There was a nice gentleman from the military, but he was only there for a short period of time. But I'm so disappointed that Dan Coats didn't do his job. Jeff Sessions was a disaster as attorney general. Should have never been attorney general, was not qualified. He's not mentally qualified to be attorney general. He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster. They took over. They've always had the Department of Justice, but they kept it under Jeff Sessions. And the whole thing, the Russian thing is a total hoax. Think of it. They spent 40, 45 million dollars investigating. We took two and a half years. They found nothing. No collusion. Friend of mine called a very smart, great businessman. He said, you must be the most honest person in the world. You went through years and years. They interviewed people that I haven't seen in many years, millions of phone calls, not one to Russia. Look, some of the people. And I say this, I say it proudly. I came to Washington. I was only here 17 times in my whole life. I came, the 18th time, I was President of the United States. I had a great life. I did really well. A lot of good things that happened. Now what's happened, but I didn't know people in Washington and whether it's Sessions, which was a mistake or Dan Coats was a big mistake, but Sessions was a big one. Coats, he sat there. He didn't do anything. When you look at what Richard Grenell has done in eight weeks, these people didn't do anything for two and a half years. They should have been exposing this. So I'm very disappointed in certain people. And some people have done a phenomenal job, but what am I doing? I'm fighting the deep state. I'm fighting the swamp. And I said I was doing it. And I'm exposing the swamp. I think if it keeps going the way I'm going, and Ratcliffe is fantastic. If it keeps going the way it's going, I have a chance to break the deep state. It's a vicious group of people. It's very bad for our country.

    (More in interview)

    My point is, Trump is not as portrayed above. His flow of speaking is not not of a polished politician, but is more coherent than the cherry picked in excepts above.

    Honestly, at this point, I am truly astonished anyone still knocks him on style.

    - TexasDude

    1. @Texas

      I will knock him on style because he loses a lot of support in various quarters because of his style. But, as I said earlier, clearly I hope, I think his style is part and parcel of who he is, and who he is, is the best thing that has happened to us in nearly forever.

    2. Cassander, I understand.

      However, I give Trump wide latitude due to what he and we are experiencing.

      Moreover, and more importantly, his style resonates and sticks. Maybe it turns off some, but not enough and not in such a way to really matter.

      It’s like W’s West Texas malapropisms even though his heritage is rich blue blooded North East. My family personally knew Ann Richards and even her famous quip about W being born with a silver spoon in his mouth could not make up for how W resonated.

      It should be noted for anyone that thinks that the South magically went Republican with LBJ, W was the very first consistent Republican Texas governor since Reconstruction. That occurred in the 1990s. The Texas legislator did not flip till the 21st Century. This can be found in one degree or another all across the South.

      I digress, I understand your critique and note it, but, as you observed, it is Trump and it is part of what makes him ... him ... and makes his message go up and over the tall Democrat berm called unbiased media.

      - TexasDude

    3. @Texas

      I've come to admire Trump enormously and he's got my vote come hell or high water.

      My hope is that when we get into the heavy campaign season the President finds a way to express himself that resonates with enough swing voters in MI, PA, WI, OH, NC and FL to give the President a decisive victory with coattails sufficient to bring with him decisive majorities in both Houses of Congress.

      I'm concerned that a Dem majority in either the House or the Senate would doom us to a replay of the divided last 4 years and would squander the opportunity to make Trump's platform the law of the land.

    4. Ultimately, in my view, Trump does 2 things when speaking extemporaneously that may be off putting.

      The major one is a lack of dramatic pause, especially in between repeating. Trump tends to repeat in effort to give more effect, but is lost because it all appears to flow together due to a slight pause or no pause at all in the same breath.

      The other is to divert into a separate thought even though he will round back if given the time as he does at his rallies.

      Rush Limbaugh describes it as his flow of his unfiltered consciousness. A way, in my view, that most people tend to operate on when not on the spotlight.

      Another, I suppose, is to use inaccurate words that conveys the gist.

      - TexasDude

  11. This is hardly a novel point on this site, but the myth of Flynn being guilty and a bad guy is almost as important to the whole hoax edifice as the phony ICA saying Russia preferred and helped elect Trump.

    This is one spot where Obama is clearly implicated (i.e., the Jan 5 meeting), so they simply can't lose the issue without a no holds barred fight. That leaked phone call where Obama says that DOJ dropping the charges against Flynn is an attack on the rule of law is just one sign of many how desperate an issue this really is for them, and these Sullivan antics make perfect sense in that light.

    1. Totally agree with this.

    2. I don’t think he is bad. He parlayed his status and position into a lucrative career. It is what you do.

      He got $$ from Turkey for lobbying? Uhhh ... ok. They are a problem, but a NATO ally and, until recently, fairly secular and Western.

      Oh, he didn’t fill out the right forms? Yeah, that’s, by practice, what ... 50-60 years till ... yep ... Trump.

      The Newneo has a good piece on this.

      As she stated, it’s complex, but really is simple. Flynn was framed.

      - TexasDude