The Real Question

Legend has it that Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi would begin every spring practice with the words, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Those words were said to newcomers who had never played pro football and seasoned veterans, but they were uttered every year. He always took the time to remind his players of the basics of the game.

There is an article posted at The National Review today written by Andrew McCarthy that also seeks to remind us of some basic principles of law. The title of the article is “Mr. Rosenstein, What Is the Crime?” That is the question.

The article reports:

For precisely what federal crimes is the president of the United States under investigation by a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department?

It is intolerable that, after more than two years of digging — the 16-month Mueller probe having been preceded by the blatantly suspect labors of the Obama Justice Department and FBI — we still do not have an answer to that simple question.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein owes us an answer.

To my mind, he has owed us an answer from the beginning, meaning when he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller on May 17, 2017. The regulations under which he made the appointment require (a) a factual basis for believing that a federal crime worthy of investigation or prosecution has been committed; (b) a conflict of interest so significant that the Justice Department is unable to investigate this suspected crime in the normal course; and (c) an articulation of the factual basis for the criminal investigation — i.e., the investigation of specified federal crimes — which shapes the boundaries of the special counsel’s jurisdiction.

This last provision is designed to prevent a special counsel’s investigation from becoming a fishing expedition — or what President Trump calls a “witch hunt,” what DAG Rosenstein more diplomatically disclaims as an “unguided missile,” and what Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, invoking Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s secret-police chief, pans as the warped dictum, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” In our country, the crime triggers the assignment of a prosecutor, not the other way around.

I would strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. Andrew McCarthy presents a very strong legal argument as to why the Mueller investigation is not in compliance with the statute for a special prosecutor. Unfortunately the Mueller investigation has become a vehicle to ruin anyone financially that might have had even a tangential relationship with either the Trump campaign or the Trump presidency. Notice that nothing anyone has been charged with has any relationship with a conspiracy with Russia or election tampering. The only things that have been uncovered show the use of government agencies to spy on a political opponent in order to sway an election, and those things have been ignored by Mueller.

The article concludes:

So what are the suspected crimes committed by Donald Trump that Mueller has been authorized to investigate, and what was the factual basis for Rosenstein’s authorization of this investigation?

We still haven’t been told.

The anti-Trump Left decries all criticism as an effort to “delegitimize” and “obstruct” the Mueller investigation. But no one is questioning the investigation of Russia’s interference in the election. We are questioning why a special counsel was appointed to investigate the president of the United States. It is the Justice Department’s obligation to establish the legitimacy of the appointment by explaining the factual basis for believing a crime was committed. If there is no such basis, then it is Mueller’s investigation that is delegitimizing the presidency and obstructing its ability to carry out its constitutional mission — a mission that is far more significant than any prosecutor’s case.

We’re not asking for much. After 16 months, we are just asking why there is a criminal investigation of the president. If Rod Rosenstein would just explain what the regs call for him to explain — namely, the basis to believe that Donald Trump conspired with the Kremlin to violate a specific federal criminal law, or is somehow criminally complicit in the Kremlin’s election sabotage — then we can all get behind Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But what is the explanation? And why isn’t the Republican-controlled Congress demanding it?

The Mueller investigation is an example of the deep state trying to protect itself. That is what Bob Woodward’s book is about and that is what The New York Times editorial is about. Unfortunately there are both Republicans and Democrats in the deep state. Until we elect people who love America more than they love money and prestige, the deep state will remain.

Sunshine Is The Best Disinfectant

Today The American Greatness website posted an article by Victor Davis Hanson about the Mueller investigation. The article is a refreshing bit of common sense in a world of spin.

Mr. Hanson observes:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was star-crossed from the start. His friend and successor as FBI director, James Comey, by his own admission prompted the investigation—with the deliberate leaking of classified memos about his conversations with President Donald Trump to the press.

Mueller then unnecessarily stocked his team with what the press called his “dream team” of mostly Democratic partisans. One had defended a Hillary Clinton employee. Another had defended the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Hanson notes that the investigation has been less than transparent, noting that “Mueller at first did not announce to the press why he had dismissed Trump-hating FBI operatives Lisa Page and Peter Strzok from his investigative team. Instead, he staggered their departures to leave the impression they were routine reassignments.”

Mr. Hanson then points out that there is at least an appearance of collusion by the Clinton campaign that Mueller has chosen to ignore:

It is likely that during the 2016 campaign, officials at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Agency broke laws to ensure that the outsider Trump lost to Hillary Clinton. FBI and Justice Department officials misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to obtain warrants to surveil Trump associates. National security officials unmasked the names of those being monitored and likely leaked them to the press with the intent to spread unverified rumors detrimental to the Trump campaign.

A spy on the federal payroll was implanted into the Trump campaign. Hillary Clinton’s campaign team paid for research done by a former British intelligence officer working with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump. Clinton hid her investment in Christopher Steele’s dossier by using intermediaries such as the Perkins Coie law firm and Fusion GPS to wipe away her fingerprints.

As a result of wrongful conduct, more than a dozen officials at the FBI and the Justice Department have resigned or retired, or were fired or reassigned. Yet so far none of these miscreants has been indicted or has faced the same legal scrutiny that Mueller applies to Trump associates.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence when she was being investigated for her private email server, but somehow no one in the Justice Department seems concerned about that. Can you imagine what would happen if you or I destroyed subpoenaed evidence?

Mr. Hanson concludes:

The only way to clear up this messy saga is for Trump to immediately declassify all documents—without redactions—relating to the Mueller investigation, the FISA court warrants, the Clinton email investigation, and CIA and FBI involvement with the dossier, and the use of informants.

Second, there needs to be another special counsel to investigate wrongdoing on the part of senior officials in these now nearly discredited agencies. The mandate should be to discover whether there was serial conflict of interest, chronic lying to federal officials, obstruction of justice, improper unmasking and leaking, misleading of federal courts, and violation of campaign finance laws.

It is past time to stop the stonewalling, the redacting, the suppression, the leaking to the press and the media hysteria. The government must turn over all relevant documents to two special counsels and free each to discover who did what in 2016.

Americans need the whole truth to ensure equality under the law and to thereby set us free from this nearly two-year nightmare.

Let the truth come out.

One Rule For Me And One Rule For Thee

Mark Penn, a former pollster and advisor to President Clinton, posted an op-ed piece at The Hill today. I suspect he is no longer being invited to the Clinton’s dinner parties. The article explains how the plea deal with Michael Cohen is an attempt to set up President Trump. I am amazed at how vicious some of our politicians are when it comes to President Trump. Robert Mueller is a prime example of that, and it is sad.

The op-ed notes:

Why was Michael Cohen investigated? Because the “Steele dossier” had him making secret trips to meet with Russians that never happened, so his business dealings got a thorough scrubbing and, in the process, he fell into the special counsel’s Manafort bin — the bin reserved for squeezing until the juice comes out. And now we are back to 1998 all over again, with presidents and presidential candidates covering up their alleged marital misdeeds and prosecutors trying to turn legal acts into illegal ones by inventing new crimes.

The plot to get President Trump out of office thickens, as Cohen obviously was his own mini-crime syndicate and decided that his betrayals of Trump meant he would be better served turning on his old boss to cut the best deal with prosecutors he could rather than holding out and getting the full Manafort treatment. That was clear the minute he hired attorney Lanny Davis, who doesn’t try cases and did past work for Hillary Clinton. Cohen had recorded his client, trying to entrap him, sold information about Trump (while acting as his lawyer) to corporations for millions of dollars, and didn’t pay taxes on millions.

This is the problem with this case:

The sweetener for the prosecutors, of course, was getting Cohen to plead guilty to campaign finance violations that were not campaign finance violations. Money paid to people who come out of the woodwork and shake down people under threat of revealing bad sexual stories are not legitimate campaign expenditures. They are personal expenditures. That is true for both candidates we like and candidates we don’t. Just imagine if candidates used campaign funds instead of their own money to pay folks like Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about affairs; they would get indicted for misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes and for tax evasion.

There appear to be two payments involved in this unusual plea — Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation for having “coordinated” the American Media Inc. payment to Karen McDougal for her story, not for actually making the payment. So he is pleading guilty over a corporate contribution he did not make.

No one connected in any way with President Trump is treated in the usual way:

The usual procedures here would be for the FEC to investigate complaints and sort through these murky laws to determine if these kinds of payments are personal in nature or more properly classified as campaign expenditures. And, on the Daniels payment that was made and reimbursed by Trump, it is again a question of whether that was made for personal reasons (especially since they have been trying since 2011 to obtain agreement). Just because it would be helpful to the campaign does not convert it to a campaign expenditure. Think of a candidate with bad teeth who had dental work done to look better for the campaign; his campaign still could not pay for it because it’s a personal expenditure.

Meanwhile, Robert Mueller is totally ignoring campaign irregularities from Hillary’s campaign:

Contrast what is going on here with the treatment of the millions of dollars paid to a Democratic law firm which, in turn, paid out money to political research firm Fusion GPS and British ex-spy Christopher Steele without listing them on any campaign expenditure form — despite crystal-clear laws and regulations that the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds must be listed. This rule was even tightened recently. There is no question that hiring spies to do opposition research in Russia is a campaign expenditure, and yet, no prosecutorial raids have been sprung on the law firm, Fusion GPS or Steele. Reason: It does not “get” Trump.

Any investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election that does not include money laundered through Perkins Coie to pay for the Russian dossier does not have credibility. I suspect that will be the point made in the coming months in an attempt to shut down this travesty. The foundation of appointing a Special Prosecutor was totally flawed and the investigation is even more flawed. It is time to let people associated with Donald Trump live in peace. To do otherwise is to criminalize political opinions.

This Is Odd

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse reported that Robert Mueller has asked for yet another delay in the sentencing of former National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn.

The article reports:

The Friday filing indicates the Special Counsel requests the court to begin preparation of a pre-sentencing report. Lawyers for both sides proposed a status update of Aug. 24th.

However, later, in a minute-order, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the parties to explain by noon Monday July 2nd, the reason why the Court should depart from the normal practice of getting all the sentencing issues/dates done at the same time.

There was a joint status report filed on June 29. That status report said that Mueller did not believe that the matter was ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing.

Follow the link above to read the Joint Status Report filed June 29.

A comments on the article from Doppler explains one possible scenario:

The plea deal between Flynn and Mueller obligates Flynn to assist the ongoing investigation, which would include testifying against other defendants, which could take years. There’s nothing unusual about postponing sentencing repeatedly in such cases. Expect it to continue till Mueller is almost through.

What WAS unusual in this case is that the plea was promptly followed by release of the Strzok texts, Contreras’s recusal, then new Judge Sullivan’s sua sponte order to Mueller to turn over all exculpatory evidence, which should’ve been done before. Depending on what is in that exculpatory evidence, which could include ANY AND ALL of misdeeds by Srzok, Yates, Comey, McCabe, Lynch relating to the Russia collusion story, FISA application irregularities, spygate, 302 tampering, there may be reason to allow Flynn to withdraw his plea, and for disciplinary actions against the prosecutorial team.

What was also unusual about this latest request was the untimely request for a presentencing report, as if Mueller is about done with Flynn, while also citing the investigation as requiring further delay. That’s an inconsistency that the Judge wants explained before ordering the report by a different office. I can imagine he wants to know, and wants the Probation Office to know, what value Flynn’s bargained for cooperation had, before it recommends a sentence.

It’s just weird, and suggests disarray in the SC’s office, as does the typo.

Flynn was reported to have taken the plea to hold onto his savings, since to fight would quickly leave him broke. And to protect his son. He may be telling his lawyer: don’t spend any time on this at all, I can’t afford it.

Now if Huber was running a sting, and cut a separate, secret deal with Flynn to take the plea based on incomplete or falsified Brady production, with the promise that Flynn could later withdraw it, and be exonerated, then Huber may have somebody’s ass in his briefcase, somebody who is part of the Special Counsel’s team, knew of the falsifying, yet participated in the plea deal. If so, and I hope that is the case, it’s still just a small detail in the Big Ugly, and won’t come out until the bigger pieces are ready for prime time.

It is very sad to see people who have honorably served their country targeted by an out-of-control Special Counsel.

There Are Definitely A Lot Of Alligators In The Swamp

Yesterday Sara Carter posted an article on her website about the long-awaited (and we are still waiting) Inspector General’s report of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation.

The article reports:

The Department of Justice and the FBI are deliberately attempting to slow roll and redact significant portions of DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz’s report on the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, according to numerous congressional officials and investigators.

The 400-page report, which was completed several weeks ago and addresses Clinton’s use of her private server for government business, is currently being reviewed by the DOJ and FBI. According to sources, individuals mentioned in the reports are also allowed to review the document. It is expected to be “long and thorough” and will criticize the handling of the investigation by former FBI Director James Comey, who has spent the better part of the past several months promoting his book A Higher Loyalty.

Hillary Clinton is said to have stated in an email to Donna Brazile, “If that f***ing bastard wins, we’re all going to hang from nooses!!!!” I think we are beginning to see what she was talking about. The swamp is fighting the release of information related to what went on during the 2016 election campaign. I honestly don’t know if there are enough honest people left in our government to be able to expose the use of the Justice Department and FBI for political purposes that obviously occurred.

The article concludes:

In a turn of events, Democrats later changed their position on Comey after President Trump fired him at the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who stated that he failed in leading the investigation into Clinton.

“The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution,” Rosenstein wrote in his May 9, 2017 letter.

The letter continued:

It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. However, the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.

Now, however, it is Rod Rosenstein who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as obstruction for firing Comey.

Get out the popcorn, there is going to be a show.

The Dangers Of The Mueller Investigation

Yesterday Mark Penn posted an article at The Hill stating that it is time to end Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The article reminds us:

At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton “matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac.

With this report on the way and congressional investigators beginning to zero in on the lack of hard, verified evidence for starting the Trump probe, current and former intelligence and Justice Department officials are dumping everything they can think of to save their reputations.

The article states:

This process must now be stopped, preferably long before a vote in the Senate. Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again.

The tactics in this investigation are designed to make people think twice before they participate in a Republican campaign. Michael Flynn and Michael Caputo have both been essentially bankrupted because of their connection with the Trump administration and the Trump campaign. (articles here and here)

The article concludes:

The president’s lawyers need to extend their new aggressiveness from words to action, filing complaints with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility on the failure of Mueller and Rosenstein to recuse themselves and going into court to question the tactics of the special counsel, from selective prosecutions on unrelated matters, illegally seizing Government Services Administration emails, covering up the phone texts of FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and operating without a scope approved by the attorney general. (The regulations call for the attorney general to recuse himself from the investigation but appear to still leave him responsible for the scope.)

The final stopper may be the president himself, offering two hours of testimony, perhaps even televised live from the White House. The last time America became obsessed with Russian influence in America was the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Those ended only when Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) attacked an associate of the U.S. Army counsel, Joseph Welch, and Welch famously responded: “Sir, have you no decency?” In this case, virtually every associate and family member of the president has been subject to smears conveniently leaked to the press.

Stopping Mueller isn’t about one president or one party. It’s about all presidents and all parties. It’s about cleaning out and reforming the deep state so that our intelligence operations are never used against opposing campaigns without the firmest of evidence. It’s about letting people work for campaigns and administrations without needing legal defense funds. It’s about relying on our elections to decide our differences.

In 2016 (and beyond) the leadership of the FBI and Department of Justice were much more of a danger to our Republic than the Russians were.

The Pieces Are Beginning To Fit Together

Townhall posted an article today that explains a lot of the pieces in the Special Prosecutor story and how those who supported Hillary Clinton for President worked together inside the government to create problems for President Trump.

The article reminds us:

On December 29, 2016, the Obama Administration – with three weeks remaining in its term – issued harsh sanctions against Russia over supposed election interference. Two compounds in the United States were closed and 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the country.

In the two years since that was done, it has become obvious that the basis for the sanctions was questionable at best. So what was this all about?

The story begins with the emails showing that the Democratic primary election was rigged for Hillary Clinton. There are still questions as to whether those emails were ‘phished’ or hacked. The scandal was significant enough to cause the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the eve of the Democratic convention.

The article points out:

The FBI never bothered to test the computers for a hack.  That task was left to CrowdStrike, a private contractor whose CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian ex-patriot and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with an anti-Russian agenda.

The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation.  The fix was in.  CrowdStrike dutifully reported that the Russians were behind the hack.

Lat year The Nation, a progressive publication, got a group of unaffiliated computer experts to test CrowdStrike’s hypothesis and they concluded that the email files were removed from the computer at a speed that makes an off-site download from Russia impossible.  

The saga continued:

Trump protested by stating the obvious: the federal government has “no idea” who was behind the hacks.

The FBI and CIA called him a liar, issuing a “Joint Statement” that suggested 17 intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russians. Hillary Clinton took advantage of this “intelligence assessment” in the October debate to portray Trump as Putin’s stooge.

She said, “We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.”

The media’s fact checkers excoriated Trump for lying. It was the ultimate campaign dirty trick: a joint operation by the intelligence agencies and the media against a political candidate.

The article concludes:

The machinations that followed, the secret memos and special counsel, the prosecution of Flynn anyway for what happened in his conversation, the whole sordid mess, is a cover-up.

In the inverse logic of Russian collusion, the investigation itself supplies credibility to the collusion narrative. Any attempt to end the investigation is obstruction of justice.

One person has the constitutional responsibility end this nonsense. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself was duped into recusing himself by since discredited intelligence, should bow to recent disclosures of impropriety and say enough is enough.

His Inspector General will be issuing a report to him sometime soon. Maybe then he will lift his recusal and start the prosecutions. People should go to jail for this.

This is a scenario generally reserved for third-world countries. It is distressing to know that we have people in government who are so unpatriotic as to engage in this sort of shenanigans. Hopefully there will be an influx of politicians into our jail cells in the near future.

Common Sense From Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz is a civil liberties attorney whose politics are generally left of center. He loves America, he loves the U.S. Constitution, and he is concerned about the direction in which the country is headed–not because of President Trump, but because of the intensity of the attacks on President Trump.

Attorney Dershowitz was recently interviewed by CBS News. Please follow the link and read the entire interview. It is very insightful.

Here are some highlights from that interview.

Dershowitz spoke to CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

“I think the investigation should end and I think the Congress should appoint a special non-partisan commission,” said Dershowitz. He said he thinks a Congressional committee would be too partisan.

“That’s the way it’s done in other western democracies,” he continued. “They don’t appoint a special counsel and tell them to ‘Get that guy…’ that’s what they did in the Soviet Union. Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the KGB said to Stalin, ‘Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime!’” That’s what special counsel does.”

Dershowitz was quick to point out that he was not making a direct correlation between the United States and the former Soviet Union. “I’m not comparing obviously the Soviet Union and the United States. We have structural protections in our Bill Of Rights but it’s going down the wrong direction.”

“The issue of criminalization [of political differences] has not been subject to rational discourse,” said Dershowitz. “Democrats hate when they politicize and criminalize political differences against Democrats… when they did it with Bill Clinton. Republicans hate when they do it against their people… President Trump. But each one supports it when they’re against their enemies and partisanship prevails over principle. It’s very hard to have a reasonable discussion.”

Until politicians on both sides of the aisle begin to put the interests of the country above their political interests and the interests of their particular political party, I don’t think any reasonable discussion will be possible.

Attorney Dershowitz added:

Dershowitz said that citizens should fear the direction of this investigation for their own sake. He warned that today criminalization of political differences appears – now – to only affect presidents and political leaders. “Tomorrow it can affect you and me. If you give the prosecutor the ability to stretch the criminal law to fit a target, it’s very dangerous.”

Dershowitz said that special counsels are not the right way to approach criminal justice. “When you appoint a special counsel you give them targets and you say, ‘You better get that guy or the people around him…and we’re going to give you tens of millions of dollars. And if you come up empty handed you’re a failure.’”

Dershowitz said that if an ordinary prosecutor goes months without finding a crime then “that’s great, no… there have been no crimes committed.” He says not so with a special counsel. “Special Counsel always has the goal of ‘getting the people.’ They’re going to find crimes, or they’re going to manufacture crimes or they’re going to stretch the criminal law to fit the ‘crimes’ because they’re not going to come away empty handed.”

Dershowitz was asked what he thinks should happen now. Should Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein curtail the investigation? “I think Rod Rosenstein needs to say to the special counsel, ‘Do not investigate the private finances of the president before he became president; do not investigate his relatives; do not investigate his sex life.’ Don’t do – to President Trump – what Ken Starr did to President Clinton,” said Dershowitz . “It started with Whitewater and ended up with a blue dress. That’s not the appropriate way a special counsel should operate.”

I don’t agree with Alan Dershowitz on much, but in this case he is totally right.