Two-Track Justice

Yesterday The National Review posted an article with the title, “With Liberty and Two-Track Justice for All.” Unless things change quickly, we will officially become a banana republic.

The article notes the contrasts in the way similar charges against Americans were handled:

• President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is doing seven and a half years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa., for his pre-Trump tax and bank fraud. Manafort has endured solitary confinement.

• Former campaign aide George Papadopoulos served twelve days in the slammer for false statements to FBI officers. His steep legal bills and spooked clients drove him back into his parents’ house.

• Former national security adviser Michael Flynn awaits sentencing, and wants his charges dropped, after pleading guilty to false statements. Flynn reportedly took a plea after selling his house to pay his lawyers. DOJ prosecuted Flynn, although no less than Andrew McCabe acknowledged that “the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn’t think he was lying.” Indeed, the G-men who spoke with Flynn later reported: “Throughout the interview, Flynn had a very ‘sure’ demeanor and did not give any indicators of deception. He did not parse his words or hesitate in any of his answers.” Never mind those details; Flynn still could wind up in an orange jump suit.

The article compares the above scenarios with the fate of James Comey:

As the OIG concluded:

Comey violated applicable policies and his Employment Agreement by failing to either surrender his copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the FBI or seek authorization to retain them; by releasing official FBI information and records to third parties without authorization; and by failing to immediately alert the FBI about his disclosures to his personal attorneys once he became aware in June 2017 that Memo 2 contained six words (four of which were names of foreign countries mentioned by the President) that the FBI had determined were classified at the “CONFIDENTIAL” level.

So, Comey did spill state secrets.

“By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action,” the OIG concluded in August, “Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees — and the many thousands more former FBI employees — who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

So, is Comey breaking rocks? Awaiting his prison sentence? Preparing for trial?

The article notes the activities of Hillary Clinton:

Despite 588 security violations that the State Department attributed to Hillary Clinton and her associates in the Emailgate scandal, as well as her role in purchasing the “dirty dossier” that triggered the Russia hoax, the former first lady has suffered zero consequences for an entire career of professional misconduct. Anyone who survived her husband’s presidency recalls Hillary as a latter-day Ma Barker, or Bonnie to Bill’s Clyde. Regardless, Hillary always walks away, Scot-free. And she always gets paid.

Her 2014 book Hard Choices scored her some $14 million. The next year, Business Insider reports, she made $12 million in speaking fees to well-connected organizations and huge corporations. A sample of these for 2015 included:

California Medical Association: $100,000 (via satellite!)

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: $150,000

Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries: $225,000

National Automobile Dealers Association: $225,500

United Fresh Produce Association: $225,000

eBay Inc.: $315,000 (for a 20-minute speech)

Cisco: $325,000 (She reportedly sat onstage with the CEO)

Biotechnology Industry Organization: $335,000

Qualcomm Incorporated: $335,000

GTCR Private Equity: $780,000

Atop this steady cash, Hillary never stops playing presidential-campaign hokey-pokey: She puts her left foot in, she takes her left foot out, she puts her left foot in, and she shakes it all about. Rumors that Michael Bloomberg is considering her as a potential running mate gives this entitled woman yet another opportunity to show some West Wing ankle.

Lois Lerner also made the list of insiders with minimal consequences for breaking the law:

Lois Lerner ran the IRS unit that perpetrated the systematic political profiling of conservative groups that sought tax-exempt designation. IRS’s wingtip-dragging, relentless demands for paperwork, and Orwellian questions (“please provide the percentage of time your organization spends on prayer groups”) all subjected to extra scrutiny 94 percent of center-right and Tea Party groups that sought 501(c)(3) and (c)(4)status, versus 6 percent of analogous liberal outfits, the House Ways and Means Committee found in August 2013. Consequently, rather than educate citizens on limited-government principles before the 2012 election, scores of these organizations either failed to launch or did so, only to run out of fuel and tumble back to earth.

Lerner supervised this virtual gag-the-Right scheme. When GOP congressional overseers sought Lerner’s laptop hard drive, they learned that it was shipped to a Federal Bureau of Prisons recycling facility in Florida. As the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration testified in 2015, “this shipment of hard drives was destroyed using an AMERI-SHRED AMS-750HD shredder.” The industrial-strength machine chopped the drives into quarter-sized pieces. The Feds then sold this material as scrap.

Was Lerner punished? Reprimanded? Ordered to stand in the corner for 20 minutes?

Lerner was placed on administrative leave. This is Potomac for “paid vacation.” She received her $177,000 annual salary while she stayed home and relaxed. (If she were U.S. senator Lois Lerner, she would have earned $3,000 less.) According to the Washington Post, “Lerner has received a $100,000 annual pension since retiring from the IRS in September 2013, and she and her husband, an attorney with a national law firm, live in a $2.5 million home in Bethesda,” Maryland, where she walks her dogs and gardens outside her 6,500-square-foot house.

The article concludes:

America needs equal justice, but neither undue leniency nor undeserved cruelty toward Stone.

Given Stone’s sentence, McCabe, Comey, Clinton, and Lerner should be locked up.

But since those four got zero prison time, plus book deals, TV contracts, and a hefty pension, then Roger Stone deserves to walk into a green room at Fox News Channel. I would expect to congratulate him there on his new contributor agreement and hear all about his upcoming memoir.

Fair is fair.

I agree.

How Do You Undo The Damage Done By Dishonest People And A Dishonest Media?

There is a new website in town. It is called “Just The News.” One of its contributors will be investigative reporter John Solomon. Recently they posted a preview of what is to come.

Just The News recently posted an article titled, “Key witness told Team Mueller that Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine was fabricated” written by John Solomon.

The article reports:

One of Robert Mueller’s pivotal trial witnesses told the special prosecutor’s team in spring 2018 that a key piece of Russia collusion evidence found in Ukraine known as the “black ledger” was fabricated, according to interviews and testimony.

The ledger document, which suddenly appeared in Kiev during the 2016 U.S. election, showed alleged cash payments from Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine to ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“The ledger was completely made up,” cooperating witness and Manafort business partner Rick Gates told prosecutors and FBI agents, according to a written summary of an April 2018 special counsel’s interview.

In a brief interview with Just the News, Gates confirmed the information in the summary. “The black ledger was a fabrication,” Gates said. “It was never real, and this fact has since been proven true.”

Gates’ account is backed by several Ukrainian officials who stated in interviews dating to 2018 that the ledger was of suspicious origins and could not be corroborated.

If true, Gates’ account means the two key pieces of documentary evidence used by the media and FBI to drive the now-debunked Russia collusion narrative — the Steele dossier and the black ledger — were at best uncorroborated and at worst disinformation. His account also raises the possibility that someone fabricated the document in Ukraine in an effort to restart investigative efforts on Manafort’s consulting work or to meddle in the U.S. presidential election.

Much mystery has surrounded the black ledger, which was publicized by the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets in the summer of 2016 and forced Manafort out as one of Trump’s top campaign officials.

I suspect that Paul Manafort is not necessarily a saint, but there is no excuse for the way out ‘justice’ system has treated him–particularly when we know that the evidence used to start the ball rolling against him was fake. Once he knew the evidence was fake, why did Robert Mueller continue the investigation?

The article concludes:

In an interview last summer, Leschenko said he first received part of the black ledger when it was sent to him anonymously in February 2016, but it made no mention of Manafort. Months later, in August 2016, more of the ledger became public, including the alleged Manafort payments.

Leschenko said he decided to publicize the information after confirming a few of the transactions likely occurred or matched known payments.

But Leschenko told me he never believed the black ledger could be used as court evidence because it couldn’t be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was authentic, given its mysterious appearance during the 2016 election.

“The black ledger is an unofficial document,” Leschenko told me. “And the black ledger was not used as official evidence in criminal investigations because you know in criminal investigations all proof has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. And the black ledger is not a sample of such proof because we don’t know the nature of such document.”

In the end, the black ledger did prompt the discovery of real financial transactions and real crimes by Manafort, which ultimately led to his conviction.

But its uncertain origins raise troubling questions about election meddling and what constitutes real evidence worthy of starting an American investigation.

How may people charged with financial misdeeds have been put in solitary confinement for long periods of time? His treatment was not equal justice under the law.

More Questions Than Answers

On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein, an inmate at Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. There are a lot of questions surrounding these events. There are very few answers available.

The New York Post reported yesterday:

The following account is from a former inmate of the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, where Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive Saturday, and declared dead at a hospital of an apparent suicide. The ex-convict, who spoke to The Post’s Brad Hamilton and Bruce Golding on the condition of anonymity, spent several months in the 9 South special housing unit for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial — like Epstein.

There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.

Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.

You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen.

When you’re on suicide watch, they put you in this white smock, a straight jacket. They know a person cannot be injurious to themselves.

…But it’s my firm belief that Jeffrey Epstein did not commit suicide. It just didn’t happen.

Breitbart reported yesterday:

Rudy Giuliani reacted to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide Saturday morning, asking a series of questions about his death and stating, “Committing suicide on suicide watch doesn’t happen.”

Authorities found the convicted pedophile dead in his cell early Saturday morning, according to several reports.

Epstein committed suicide via hanging, according to reports from the New York Times and ABC News. The Associated Press reported that the “medical examiner’s office in Manhattan confirmed Epstein’s death.”

Many, including Giuliani, have questions.

“What does the word suicide mean in the phrase suicide WATCH? Who was watching? Did they fall asleep? Did the camera malfunction? Was there camera surveillance? Who was he about to implicate?” Giuliani tweeted Saturday.

Yesterday Bernie Kerik, former first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections and former commissioner of the New York (City) Police Department, posted an article at The Hill about the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Commissioner Kerik notes:

The crime here — in my mind, with what is known at this point — is that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement at all. The government often uses every tool in its power to ensure you never have a fair day’s fight in court, including the use of psychological tools to force you to plead guilty or to force you to cooperate with the government.

Solitary confinement is one of those tools. It is a mechanism to demean, degrade and demoralize a prisoner. The mind-altering seclusion of “solitary” will force a prisoner into a deep depression from which, for some, there is no return.

Only time will tell if that’s what happened with Epstein or if something more sinister occurred.

But one thing already is crystal clear: There are flaws and failures in the U.S. criminal justice system that should disturb all of us. And in Jeffrey Epstein’s case, none of it makes any sense.

Right now we have questions, not answers. Hopefully in the future we will get some answers.

A Book I Plan To Read

Sidney Powell’s Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice is a book I plan to read. The American Thinker posted an article today about the book.

The book lists a number of examples where the Justice Department was anything but just:

False charges brought by overzealous prosecutor Andrew Weissmann (Robert Mueller’s right-hand man) in the case against leading accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Although the conviction was subsequently reversed unanimously by the Supreme Court, Andersen was completely destroyed, its 85,000 employees lost their jobs, and the assets of untold investors were wiped out. Weissmann was promoted by the DoJ.

Destruction of the lives of four Merrill Lynch executives. Before they could appeal their fake convictions, they were sent to prison with the toughest criminals in the country. “They did the worst things they could possibly do to these men,” says Powell. The defendants were eventually exonerated on appeal, but it was only after one of them served eight months in solitary confinement.

Frequent failure by the DoJ to disclose evidence favorable to defendants as required by law.

Using the phony Steele dossier, the DoJ and FBI unlawfully obtained FISA warrants for the surveillance of the Trump election campaign. The dossier was then used to justify creation of a special counsel to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion. After two years, that investigation is nothing more than a witch-hunt against Trump supporters.

Leaking at the top levels of the FBI and DoJ in the midst of criminal investigations.

Unwillingness of federal judges to discipline the DoJ for its transgressions.

We have seen this sort of questionable behavior by Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann in the investigation of Trump-Russia collusion. Paul Manafort is in solitary confinement for no apparent reason, and Roger Stone was arrested in a scenario that would have been appropriate for El Chapo, but not for a sixty-something man with no guns and a deaf wife.

The article at The American Thinker concluldes:

The civil rights of innocent individuals are being violated for no reason other than their political views. Do you think William Barr, our new attorney general, will do something to stop it? Let’s hope he is more effective than his predecessor. Unless the Mueller investigation is terminated and we address the real scandal in our government — corruption at the top levels of the DoJ and FBI — we can kiss the American system of justice goodbye.

Regardless of which side of the political aisle you reside, this should frighten you. If a group of people with a common political philosophy can pervert justice in America, then the tables could turn at any time and another group of people with a different political philosophy could do the same thing.

Grasping At Straws

The focus on the Mueller investigation seems to be Paul Manafort. Manafort is currently being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail because of alleged witness tampering. Does anyone doubt that this is an attempt to get him to make something up that Mueller can use against President Trump? Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Mueller has now revealed the relationship between the Trump campaign and Manafort.

Most of the 32 counts against Manafort in the Virginia case concern alleged crimes that took place long before there was a Trump campaign. Some go back as far as 2006. But four of the counts involve a pair of loans Manafort took out between April 2016 and January 2017. For a few months during that time period, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign.

The loans totaled $16 million and came from a financial institution Mueller refers to as Lender D. According to Mueller, Manafort lied to get the loans, overstating his income and understating his debts.

Mueller says that some workers at Lender D knew there was a problem with Manafort’s application, but that one top executive there, a man who wanted a place in the Trump campaign, granted the loan anyway. From the Mueller filing:

“The government intends to present evidence that although various Lender D employees identified serious issues with the defendant’s loan application, the senior executive at Lender D interceded in the process and approved the loan. During the loan application process, the senior executive expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told the defendant about his interest, and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign. The senior executive later expressed an interest in serving in the administration of President Trump, but did not secure such a position.”

The lending company and the senior executive are not identified in the indictment, but the loans appear to fit an episode reported in the New York Times involving a small bank in Chicago, the Federal Savings Bank, and its chief executive, Stephen Calk, who was named an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016 but did not join the administration.

The article concludes:

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller is investigating whether the loans were “made as part of a quid pro quo arrangement to secure Mr. Calk a job in Mr. Trump’s administration.” Calk has denied any such arrangement.

In any event, Mueller has not suggested that Donald Trump was involved in any of the actions outlined in the Manafort charges. The two Lender D loans are, apparently, the only connection between the Trump campaign and the broad array of criminal activity, some of it more than a decade old, alleged in the Manafort indictments. And Trump himself played no role in it.

Was a special counsel needed for that?

If Mueller investigated every horse trade that took place in Washington, I am sure he would find an awful lot to keep him busy and nothing noteworthy!

 

When You Begin To Peel An Onion, It Smells

As Congress and some of the press begin to peel back the layers of scandal surrounding the government surveillance and investigation into the Trump campaign, it is truly starting to smell like corrupt government agencies. The more we know, the worse it smells.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about some events that occurred before the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. There was definitely a strategy among those who wanted to undo the 2016 presidential election.

The article reports:

Justice Department documents released on Friday confirm that the DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” arranged a meeting with journalists in April 2017 to discuss an investigation into Paul Manafort.

The documents show that Andrew Weissmann arranged a meeting with DOJ and FBI officials and four Associated Press reporters on April 11, 2017, just over a month before Mueller was appointed special counsel.

Manafort’s lawyers obtained the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a briefing filed in federal court in Virginia. The attorneys are pushing for a hearing into what they say are possible leaks of secret grand jury information, false information and potentially classified materials from the meeting.

“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” a lawyer for Manafort, Kevin Downing, wrote in a motion requesting a hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”

The article continues:

The existence of meeting between AP reporters and DOJ officials was first reported in January. The government confirmed it for the first time in a pre-trial hearing held on June 29.

In the hearing, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer said that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid of a storage locker that Manafort was renting based on a tip from AP reporters. He also said that the purpose of the meeting was for the DOJ and FBI to obtain information from The AP.

Manafort is set to go to trial on July 25 for a slew of money laundering and bank fraud charges related to his consulting work for a Ukrainian politician years before joining the Trump campaign.

Friday’s court filing includes two reports about the April 11, 2017 meeting: one written by Pfeiffer and another written by Supervisory Special Agent Karen Greenaway.

“The meeting was arranged by Andrew Weissmann,” Greenaway wrote in her report, for the first time establishing that Weissmann took part in the meeting.

Greenaway also said that Weissmann provided guidance to the reporters for their investigation. According to Greenaway, Weissmann suggested that the reporters ask the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority, a Cypriot government agency, if it had provided the Department of Treasury with all of the documents they were legally authorized to provide regarding Manafort.

The AP journalists, Chad Day, Ted Bridis, Jack Gillum and Eric Tucker, were conducting an extensive investigation of Manafort, including payments he received through various shell companies set up in Cyprus.

There are a few things to remember here. Paul Manafort may or may not have committed crimes, but the accusations have to do with events years before he joined the Trump campaign. This is totally out of the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor. Meanwhile, Paul Manafort is being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia prison cell for 23 hours a day because correctional officials “cannot otherwise guarantee his safety.” Does anyone actually believe this is in accordance with Mr. Manafort’s constitutional rights?

The article also reports:

DOJ officials provided other guidance to the reporters, according to Greenaway’s report. She noted that when the journalists asked DOJ officials to tell them if they were off base in their findings about Manafort, “government attendees confirmed that the AP reporters appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine.”

Downing said that the special counsel’s office has previously confirmed that at the time of the meeting with the AP reporters, “there was an ongoing grand jury investigation of Mr. Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia.”

In addition to Weissmann, Pfeiffer and Greenaway, Justice Department officials George Mceachern, Ann Brickley and Ariel Shreve attended the meeting.

It is time for Congress to put a stop to this charade. The only solution to this corruption is to change all the documents related to this investigation that were previously classified to unclassified and let the American people see what has gone on. That is the only way the credibility of the FBI and DOJ will recover.

 

When America Does Not Project Strength Bad Things Happen

Today American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen, was placed in solitary confinement in Evin Prison in Iran. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is reporting that Pastor Abedini and nine other prisoners have been moved to solitary.

The article reports the statement released by Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh:

“Saeed has internal bleeding and now issues with his kidneys because of the beatings,” said Naghmeh. “We believe that he is being beaten in solitary confinement. We have no way of finding out about his health. There will be no more visitations allowed and we will have no way of knowing how Saeed is doing. Saeed had previously told his family that when he was in solitary confinement in the past, that was the hardest time in his life. That every hour was like one year and that he was losing his memory and his health was deteriorating quickly. Please pray for his health and healing. Pray for his release. Pray that the Lord would use this for His Glory and salvation of many.”

Pastor Saeed is an American citizen. Today is his 215th day of imprisonment.

The article reports:

The latest developments underscore the brutality of Iran’s continued violation of human rights – imprisoning, torturing, and refusing medical care for Pastor Saeed merely because of his faith. This treatment not only violates international law, but is abhorrent. We know that a tactic used by the Iranians is to place prisoners in solitary confinement in an effort to get them to give into the demands of prison officials – in Pastor Saeed’s case, to recant his Christian faith. He continues to refuse to do so, and the only thing sustaining Pastor Saeed at this time is his Christian faith. We know that continues to provide him with strength and comfort during this most challenging time.

Where are the usual human rights groups on this–Amnesty International, the Red Cross, the United Nations? Where is the American government? Have we reached a time when Americans overseas will not be protected in any way by their government? Do we as Americans have the national character to do something to save this man’s life?

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