Category Archives: RUSSIAN COLLUSION

Benjamin Wittes and witless logic about Trump

The Benjamin Wittes “I believe” tweetstorm about Trump, intended to expose conservative “Doublethink,” instead exposed Leftist irrationality and ignorance.

The anti-Trump blogosphere, both Leftists and #NeverTrumpers, is excited about an endless series of tweets from Benjamin Wittes all intended, in a sarcastic way, to challenge Trump and his supporters. Before I go further, some background on Wittes: He is a Brookings Institution Senior Fellow who graduated from Oberlin and is currently co-director of Harvard Law School’s Brookings Project on Law and Security. In other words, he’s been marinated in Leftism since he hit college (and, given that he went to a non-Orthodox Jewish school in New York City, probably for his entire life).

Okay. Now back to those tweets. It’s apparent from reviewing the tweets that what Wittes is trying to do is show that conservatives have entered the Orwellian world of “doublethink”:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

In fact, what Wittes has managed to do is show that Leftists are incapable of even “singlethink” — that is, the ability to look at two related pieces of information and recognize that they can easily and logically exist simultaneously in the same universe. For example, I can simultaneously believe that cows produce milk to feed their young and that humans consume and benefit from milk. As you can see, these two apparently disparate thoughts — cows milk is cow food but it’s also human food — manage to exist in the same universe without creating a logical black hole that destroys all rational thought.

With that in mind, how about we take a look at the Wittes tweet thread (which I’ve rendered in plain text):

I believe the president. I have always believed him.
‘I believe the president’: GOP stands by Trump on sexual assault allegation
Republicans are dismissing E. Jean Carroll’s accusation and still sticking with Trump.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/25/trump-accuse-gop-1382385

Yeah, I stand by President Trump too on this one. I’m not going to analyze it here, though, because Wittes raises the subject again, below, and that’s where I address more fully the sordid sexual allegations Lefties like to raise against Trump.

I believed him when he said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States. And I believe him now when he says his travel ban has nothing to do with religious discrimination.

In other words, Wittes is saying it’s impossible simultaneously to believe that Trump wants to keep Muslims out of America while not discriminating against Muslims; i.e., it’s doublethink! Except that to anyone who pays attention to facts, there’s nothing “doublethinky” at all about the fact that there is a segment of Islam that is cheerfully dedicated to Western destruction.

As it is, Wittes seems to have sat out the last few decades, when extremist members of the Islamic faith:

  • took over Iran in 1970 and declared war on America;
  • bombed a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 Americans;
  • bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, killing 6 Americans;
  • bombed American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, killing 224 people;
  • bombed the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 Americans;
  • attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, killing 2,996 people, the vast majority of whom were Americans;
  • attacked Fort Hood in 2009, killing 13 Americans;
  • attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012, killing 4 people, among whom was an American ambassador; bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a recruiting station in Chattanooga in 2015, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a Christmas party in San Bernardino in 2015, killing 14 Americans;
  • attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016, killing 49 Americans; and
  • ran over bicyclists in New York in 2017, killing 8 people.

And all of the above are just the bigger attacks aimed directly at Americans since the Iranian Revolution.

In the same time period, some of the better known Islamist attacks around the world targeted London, Manchester, Nice, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Berlin, Madrid…. And of course there was ISIS, which decimated the Christian Yazidis by slaughtering the men and sexually enslaving the women, before turning Islamic wrath on any of the “wrong” types of Muslims unluckily enough to be caught in its path. Those beheadings, crucifixions, and tortures were all internecine Islamic brutality.

Really, when you come right down to it, there’s a pretty long list of Islamist attacks around the world. Religion of Peace, a website dedicated to tracking Islam-inspired murder, notes that, since 9/11, there have been 35,222 Islamic attacks around the world. That’s not the number of dead; that’s the number of attacks. In May 2019 alone, Islamists killed over 800 people in 169 different attacks over 27 countries.

With that in mind, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that, when Muslims seek leave to come to America, a wise government will scrutinize them carefully to make sure that they the particular Muslims at issue don’t belong to that subset of Muslims (roughly 10% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims) who believe it is your religious responsibility to slaughter as many “unbelievers” as possible — and to say that without hating Muslims en masse. Indeed, word just broke today that the U.S. warned Mexico that ISIS members were heading to our southern border, hoping to slip in with all the other illegal aliens Democrats so adore, in order to launch mass murder attacks in America. (Thankfully, they seem to have been caught.)

Moreover, it’s perfectly reasonable, when trying to figure out how best to protect Americans from terrorism to rely upon Obama administration data identifying countries that generate the greatest number of terrorist attacks around the world. It’s not Trump’s fault, nor is it “anti-Muslim” sentiment, that the countries the Obama administration identified as the greatest terrorist supporters were Muslim countries. That’s just reality.

In other words, there’s nothing illogical about seeking to protect Americans from murderous Islamic extremists — a subset of Islam that manifestly exists — without hating all Muslims.

I believed him when he said Mexico is sending us its rapists and criminals, and I believed him when he said he loves Hispanics. [Linking to this post of his.]

Is it possible to respect and admire the Hispanic people and culture without respecting and admiring rapists and criminals? Wittes doesn’t think so. He’s trying to say that Trump was maligning Hispanics as a whole when he said that a disproportionate number of Mexican criminals were heading north to America. Of course, if Trump was not maligning Hispanics as a whole, but was merely noting accurately that too many hardcore criminals are using a porous border to their advantage, then the two statements can simultaneously exist perfectly well in a logical universe.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are rapists and other criminals in Mexico. In January 2018, the Mexican government admitted to its highest murder rate in history, driven by vast criminal activity:

Soaring levels of drug-related violence made 2017 Mexico’s most murderous year on record, according to government statistics released Sunday.

There were 25,339 homicides in Mexico last year, a 23% jump from 2016 and the highest number since at least 1997, the year the government began tracking the data. Overall, murders in Mexico had been declining in recent years, reaching a low of 15,520 in 2014. But officials say a surge in drug-related crime reversed that trend.

Mexican rape statistics are pretty stinky too:

Officials estimate that each year there are 120,000 rapes, one every 4 minutes, making Mexico number one in the world for sexual violence incidents. (México es el primer lugar en violencia sexual: ONU) (Over 14,000 Women Are Raped in Mexico Every Year: Report)

Most of these rapes go unreported.  Of those that are reported, very few are brought to justice.  For example, in 2009, 14,829 rape cases were filed.  Of those, only 3,462 were prosecuted, which led to only 2,795 sentences. (Amnistía Internacional (AI) en 2012)(LA VIOLENCIA SEXUAL EN MÉXICO INICIA EN CASA Y EN SU MAYORÍA QUEDA IMPUNE)

Do you want those rapists and murderers to invite themselves into America? I don’t. I want a border policy that requires people to prove, as best as possible, that they’re non-criminal, well-intentioned human beings before heading into my country.

We also know that the rapists that make Mexico the most dangerous country in the world for sexual violence have been taking advantage of women and children who enter America illegally. Already in 2014, before Trump lambasted the rapists coming to America, HuffPo (!) reported on the scope of the problem:

According to a stunning Fusion investigation, 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico are raped during their journey. That’s up from a previous estimate of 60 percent, according to an Amnesty International report.

What this means is that, when Trump announced that he wanted to stop the flow of criminal illegal aliens, he was also protecting those Hispanic women and girls who are being raped along the way. That sounds like someone who likes Hispanics and wishes them well, rather than the opposite.

By the way, Mexico may not have been deliberately sending us the baddies, but it certainly wasn’t trying to stop them. Already in 2005, the Mexican government was provided instruction manuals for those entering the U.S. illegally. Mexico claimed it was to save lives, but Mexico could have saved lives by (a) stopping people at its border and (b) cleaning up its utterly corrupt government rather than letting the U.S. serve as a source of revenue and a way to lessen population pressure within Mexico.

And there’s one more thing to keep in mind about hating Mexican criminals while loving Hispanics: Those illegal alien rapists and murderers don’t go to Beverly Hills, Marin County, the Hamptons, or D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood (where Obama lives) to find prey. They prey on people in their own communities; namely, fellow Hispanics. If you love Hispanics, you can show that love by protecting them from the drug dealers, rapists, robbers, and murderers who see in America a new source victims for their crimes. There’s no doublethink involved in holding both those thoughts simultaneously.

I believe that Trump Tower makes the best taco bowls.

I don’t like taco bowls, so this one is entirely subjective. If Wittes likes Trump Tower’s taco bowls, that’s very nice.

I believe that Donald Trump will drain the swamp and that his election has delivered us from the corruption of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

I believe that too. With William Barr and his Inspector Generals examining the administrative state’s efforts to subvert the 2016 election, I think there’s a chance that we will return to an era of honest, or at least less partisan, government in D.C. This healthy trend will be helped by the fact that Trump is cutting regulations, shrinking administrative agencies, and attempting to move agency operations from the D.C. swamp out into those regions of America that the agencies are actually supposed to serve.

As for the corruption of Bill and Hillary, all I can say is that, if you want to see collusion with Russia and just look at the Clintons. Look at the Steele dossier, look at the sale of America’s uranium to Russia, and look at the vast amounts of money that flowed from Russia to Hillary via Bill’s speaking engagements. While I don’t think Trump will ever seriously prosecute either of those grifters, I have to believe America is safer without the Clintons willingly selling off American interests to hostile foreign countries in order to enrich themselves and advance their grip on political power.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason for him to disclose his tax returns.

No one should ever have to disclose his or her tax returns. If politicians want to do it voluntarily, fine. If not, fine. Trump’s tax returns are irrelevant to his promises as a candidate and his practices as a president. See? I can hold that logical thought just fine.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason to divest himself of any of his financial holdings.

If you were good with the Clinton Foundation that existed to sell America’s interests to enrich the Clinton clan (and I’m betting Wittes didn’t complain too much or at all), I don’t ever want to hear another word from you about a politician’s financial holdings. In any event, it’s a modern concern. It’s worth remembering that past presidents, men of true greatness such as Washington, would have laughed themselves silly over this idea.

By the way, please remind me how Harry Reid, after decades in government service, became hugely wealthy. And Biden. How’d Biden get so rich? And how did his unsavory son get so rich? In other words, if you’re really worried about financial corruption, clean your own house before casting stones at a man who has been a happy and unabashed billionaire for decades with money made in the real world, rather than through politics.

I believed him when he protested that he wasn’t trying to get a security clearance for his daughter and son-in-law. And I believe him now when says he needs his family installed by his side in the West Wing.

I believe that Jared Kushner’s deserves a security clearance.

If you were okay with Ben Rhodes’ security clearance, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you were okay about Michelle’s mother moving into the White House, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you didn’t mind Hillary’s recently deceased brother economically raping Haiti, I don’t want to hear from you. If you sat silently while Biden used the VP’s office to enrich his son, you need to stop talking.

So far, aside from snarky complaints about his buttoned down look, the Left doesn’t have much to hang on Jared Kushner. Although I have to say that I’m worried that, before Trump became the great conservative hope, both Kushner and Ivanka were garden-variety elitist Democrats. I hope seeing the bared fangs of the Democrats attacking them has educated Kushner and Ivanka about who their real enemies are.

I believe that only rank partisanship and media bias explain the skepticism about Trump’s finances running rampant in the press.

I’m glad Wittes believes that. I believe it too.

I believe E. Jean Carroll is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I also believe she is not Trump’s type.

I believe Temple Taggart McDowell is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Rachel Crooks is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Natasha Stoynoff is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Mindy McGillivray is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe that all of the other women who have accused the President of sexual assault are also cheap tramps who were asking for it.
In any event, I also believe that the President was merely engaged in “locker room talk” when he boasted of grabbing women by the pussy.

I believe that when you’re a star, they let you do it.

Wittes is clearly incredulous that people could believe that Trump did not rape someone. He believes this despite the fact that Republicans have seen false rape allegations leveled against multiple conservatives who are deemed terrible dangerous to the Leftist cause, conservatives such as Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. These allegations always crumbled in the face of objective facts and credible testimony.

Contrariwise, Democrats never seemed particularly bothered by more substantive claims against prominent Democrats such as Teddy Kennedy or Bill Clinton. Indeed, they’re also remarkably unconcerned about Joe Biden’s disturbing habit of pawing little girls. Democrats will talk about — and usually excuse — his handsiness with adult women (“That’s just Joe being Joe”), but they’re remarkably silent about his weird, creepy behavior around children.

As for me, I’m disgusted that, even in jest, Wittes would say that E. Jean Carroll is a “tramp who was asking for it.” Trump hasn’t said that nor have his supporters. What they have said is that Carroll’s affect is so peculiar it appears she has substance abuse or mental illness problems.

There are a few other reasons to question Carroll’s assertions: She’s a Democrat donor. She has a book to sell. She bizarrely refuses to press charges against Trump because it would insult real rape victims on our borders. Her narrative is hard to believe, for Bergdorf was a busy store with locked fitting rooms that sales clerks had to open for customers, which is hardly the setting for a sexual assault. She thinks rape is sexy. Oh, and she seems to have lifted her narrative right out of an old Law & Order plot.

I’ll add that I suspect that Carroll was promiscuous as a young woman and that her current hostility to men may be a way of distancing herself from the bad feelings she gets looking back upon her own actions. “It wasn’t me; it was them, the men, the rapists, the bullies….” Indeed, if one assumes solely for the sake of argument that Trump did actually have a brief hook-up with her (something I strongly doubt), I wouldn’t put it past Carroll to reframe it as rape so that she wouldn’t see herself as being cheap or for her to reframe it as rape to sell a book and tarnish a Republican.

So yes, in the logical world, one can absolutely believe that a mentally fragile woman has copied a narrative she saw on a TV show in order to sell a book to Leftists, all of whom will believe anything about President Trump, no matter how hackneyed the playbook or surreal the allegations.

As for Carroll’s not being Trump’s type, I’m sure that’s true. I’m going to bet that Trump likes his women willing. If she wasn’t willing, she wasn’t his type.

How about those other allegations?

Other sexual assault charges against Trump came from women who were hardcore Hillary supporters and whose allegations were not only insubstantial, but also vanished quickly. For example, those close to the aptly named Rachel Crooks say that her interaction with Trump more than a decade ago was brief and that her current accusations bear no relationship to her story at the time. In other words, she was either lying then or she’s lying now. Common sense tells us that the latter is more likely.

Interestingly, Wittes doesn’t even mention Jessica Leeds, who asserted that Trump was all over her “like an octopus.” Her statement is either a quotation from a Velvet Underground song (widely known when Leeds was young) or, possibly, a quotation from a well-publicized sexual harassment lawsuit in England. One more thing: Leeds has the same phone number as the Clinton Foundation. Really. What are the odds of that? Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Wittes left her off his list.

And that tired old “grab ’em by the pussy” shtick? Some of us actually watched the entire video giving rise to the claim that Trump grabbed women inappropriately. Watching the video instead of taking the media’s word for the video’s contents reveals that Trump was engaging in hypothetical locker room talk. It was crude, but the only thing he actually admitted to doing was making a move on a woman and immediately backing off when she rejected him. When it came to his grabbing women statement, he did not frame it in the first person but put it out as a hypothetical. I’ve always suspect that, had he said more, he would have added, “At least, that’s what Bill Clinton (or Bill Cosby) told me….”

Finally, I’ll bring up Stormy Daniels here, although Wittes doesn’t. What’s seldom mentioned is that Daniels later admitted she never actually had sex with Trump — meaning Trump paid her off just to make her go away, not because he had anything to hide. Keep in mind that Daniels’ lawyer during the interval when the media couldn’t get enough of her was Michael Avenatti, who’s proven to be a psychopathic criminal who defrauded handicapped people and tried to blackmail Nike.

Mostly, Daniels strikes me as a simultaneously pathetic and sinister figure — a woman who used her body to make a living and, when her body stopped being appealing, a woman who turned to extortion to make money. Creepy and sad.

I believed the President when he said he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare and I believed him when he said it was the Democrats’ fault that he didn’t repeal or replace Obamacare.

President Trump would have repealed Obamacare but for two types of legislators: Democrats and John McCain. So yeah, I believe the President about both his intention and the reason he failed. There is nothing inherently contradictory in those two statements.

I believe the President that he’s a great deal maker, and I look forward to his negotiating new trade deals on my behalf.

I believe that tariffs will bring China to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Mexico to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring the European Union to knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Canada to its knees.

I believe that China is trying to protect its businesses from the tariffs by subsidizing them, something that it can only do for so long. After all, behind the hype is the fact that China needs us more than we need China. As CNBC reported:

“So far, the U.S. has slapped duties on $250 billion in Chinese products, while Beijing has put tariffs on $110 billion in American goods. Trump has threatened to impose separate tariffs on more than $300 billion in currently untaxed Chinese goods, and reiterated that threat in the interview Monday morning.”

That tells you in which direction trade is flowing and who holds the cards — and it ain’t China.

I believe that, in order to prevent Trump’s threatened tariffs, Mexico sent 15,000 troops to its border to help control what even Democrats are now calling a crisis. Pence nailed it when he said, “The truth is, in the last 10 days, Mexico has done more to secure our southern border than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years….”

I believe that past administrations sold out the American worker especially to China, as well as to other countries or economic groups (Canada, Mexico, the EU, etc.) that imposed heavy tariffs on American goods and, worse, used government subsidies to make their goods more attractive to consumers. Arguably, this kind of unfair trade will even out in the long run, since the countries and economic unions engaging in this activity cannot maintain subsidies forever. But the long run can be one or two generations and millions of American lives destroyed.

I therefore believe that Trump’s tough negotiating tactics are forcing the long run to happen now. He’s telling them, “I see your unfair trade practices and I’ll raise you so much more in unfair trade practices that you’ll break soon, not in decades. Then we’ll go back to free trade and everyone will be happy.”

I believe both that separating children from their parents is good policy that will deter desperate people from fleeing Central America and coming to the United States and that the policy of separating children from their parents is President Obama’s fault.

I believe in a big, beautiful. transparent wall.

I believe in steel slats.

I believe that around 30 percent of these allegedly “desperate people” aren’t that worried about the children they drag along with them because those poor, misused, trafficked children aren’t theirs.

I believe that the policy of separating children is indeed Obama’s fault, although to be fair to Obama, it was a prior administration that made it impossible for the government to deal expediently with families:

President Barack Obama separated parents from their children at the border.

Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities.

For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants.

Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family.

But Obama’s policy helped create the road map of enforcement that Trump has been following — and building on.

[snip]

No numbers on children separated from their parents under Obama is available because the Obama administration didn’t keep them, according to Trump DHS officials.

Leon Fresco, a deputy assistant attorney general under Obama, who defended that administration’s use of family detention in court, acknowledged that some fathers were separated from children.

Most fathers and children were released together, often times with an ankle bracelet. Fresco said there were cases where the administration held fathers who were carrying drugs or caught with other contraband who had to be separated from their children.

“ICE could not devise a safe way where men and children could be in detention together in one facility,” Fresco said. “It was deemed too much of a security risk.”

One of the most controversial measures that Obama took was to resurrect the almost-abandoned practice of detaining mothers and children to deter future illegal immigration.

The government had one lightly used 100-bed facility in central Pennsylvania and added three larger facilities in Texas and New Mexico holding thousands.

The New Mexico facility would later close and Obama would face legal challenges that stopped him from detaining mothers and children indefinitely.

[snip]

Obama took other controversial steps as well, including fighting to block efforts to require unaccompanied children to have legal representation and barring detained mothers with their children from being released on bond.

I believe that if you didn’t care when Obama did it but suddenly care now that your new position is phony. You don’t care about immigrants. You care only about is scoring political points.

Finally, I believe that you’ve come down firmly on the side of rejiggering America’s population balance through illegal means in order to create a permanent Democrat Party power base. Kamala Harris, who’s not the brightest bulb on the block, gave the game away in this tweet:

(By the way, is it just me, or does Kamala’s voice remind you of Fran Drescher’s voice, if Drescher were the ex-wife who made your life a living hell with her nagging, prevaricating, and hectoring?)

One more thing . . . about that wall? I believe that you’re either really stupid or pretending to be stupid when you fail to understand that Trump’s reference to slats or invisibility means that he imagines a wall through which light can be seen, as opposed to a solid wall that impairs all visibility. Those are not inconsistent statements; they’re just typical Trump puffery, akin to a manufacturer boasting that it makes “the best facial tissues” or “the lightest weight face cream.”

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Vladimir Putin.

Yeah, about that solicitude to Putin:

President Obama was running for re-election in March 2012, when a live microphone picked up his whispered conversation with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama told Medvedev it was important for incoming President Vladimir Putin to “give me space” on missile defense and other difficult issues and that after the 2012 presidential election he would have “more flexibility.” Medvedev said he would “transmit” the message to Putin.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama told Medvedev at a gathering in Seoul, South Korea.

“Yeah, I understand,” said Medvedev, who was about to replaced by Putin as Russian president. “I understand your message about space. Space for you–”

“This is my last election,” Obama said. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

“I understand,” Medvedev said. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Did Witness complain about Obama then? Or did he complain when Obama said this?

Gov. Romney, I’m glad you recognize al-Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaida. You said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.

And speaking of al Qaeda, did Wittes say anything bad about Obama when Obama essentially handed Syria over to Putin? That certainly made Putin a happy camper.

As for Trump’s solicitude for Putin. While Trump is careful not to alienate a man with whom he has to do business, whether he likes doing so or not, this is the type of solicitude Trump had displayed as of last year:

  • The Trump Administration has implemented a wide array of sanctions and other punitive actions against Russia for their destabilizing actions and provocations against the U.S. and its allies.
    • In response to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other malfeasance, the Trump Administration has sanctioned Russian oligarchs and intelligence entities.
    • Throughout 2017 and 2018, the U.S. sanctioned numerous Russian actors for violating non-proliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran and Syria, and supporting North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction.
    • The Trump Administration has issued sanctions against more than one hundred Russian actors and firms for Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine and its ongoing occupation of Crimea.
    • In March 2017, in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, the Trump Administration ordered multiple Russian consulates in the United States closed and expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers.
  • Due to sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, the Russian economy and Russian geo-economic projects have been severely constrained.
    • In 2018, as Russian investors reacted to new sanctions, the Russian Ruble made its biggest fall in over three years, and, as of July 2018, is down nearly nine percent against the dollar.
    • As a part of its sanctions against Russia, the United States has prevented numerous companies from partnering with Russian offshore oil projects, denying these projects access to capital and key resources.
    • The Trump Administration has also opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s largest geo-economic project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Russia.
  • In the wake of Russian provocations, President Trump has exercised U.S. military power and worked to bolster U.S. allies in Europe.
    • In 2017, President Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine addressing the country’s vulnerability to Russian-backed separatists in its eastern provinces.
    • Under the Trump Administration, Russian mercenaries and other pro-Syrian regime forces attacking U.S. troops in Syria were killed.
    • The U.S. has increased troops and its military capability in Eastern Europe and dramatically increased training and drills with its NATO partners.
    • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense increased its spending as part of the European Deterrence Initiative by $1.4 billion dollars.
    • Due to pressure from President Trump, U.S.’ NATO allies have increased defense expenditures by five percent.

Moreover, none of the above even mentions the fact that America’s increased oil production has been disastrous for the Russian economy.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Kim Jong Un.

Trump is being incredibly canny about his relationship with Kim Jong-un. He looked back at decades of America’s dealing with North Korea and saw a pattern: America told North Korea “be careful or we’ll destroy you.” North Korea responded by amping up its nuclear power. America, instead of responding with the promised military force, instead said, “We’ll pay you to stop being naughty.” North Korea took the money to help prop up its regime and lay dormant until the next time it needed money.

This was a dreadful, completely dead-end pattern that saw North Korea creep ever closer to being a full nuclear power, using American protection money to meet that goal.

Trump tried a different tactic: Trump told Kim Jong-un that North Korea had two choices: Develop nuclear power and be an outcast nation that America would inevitably destroy, with Kim being the first person to be killed, or give up nuclear power and tyranny to become as free and prosperous a nation as South Korea. The verdict is still out on how far Kim Jong-un will go, but he hasn’t done anything naughty of late, there are no more nuclear tests, we haven’t paid them millions in protection money, and Trump gave Kim an ultimatum with that offered a good, face-saving way out. Just as we see with the Clintons, corrupt, evil people don’t always get the punishment they deserve. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply to remove them from power.

To summarize, the old America/North Korea paradigm was, “We’ll destroy you. No, wait. We won’t. We’ll pay you off.” The new paradigm is “We’ll destroy you, Kim Jong-un personally, or welcome you and your nation into the fold if you repent and change your ways.”

The old paradigm consistently failed. I’ve never forgotten that it was Hillary Clinton who liked to go around repeating a quotation attributed variously to Einstein, Mark Twain, and Chinese sages: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s what we were doing. The new paradigm, on the other hand, might well work.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Regep Tayip Erdogan.

Was Wittes also complaining back when Obama buddied up to Erdogan (emphasis mine):

[Fareed Zakaria] But have you been able to forge similar [good] relationships with foreign leaders? Because one of the criticisms people make about your style of diplomacy is that it’s very cool, it’s aloof, that you don’t pal around with these guys.

[Obama]I wasn’t in other Administrations, so I didn’t see the interactions between U.S. Presidents and various world leaders. But the friendships and the bonds of trust that I’ve been able to forge with a whole range of leaders is precisely, or is a big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy.

I think that if you ask them, Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Singh or President Lee or Prime Minister Erdogan or David Cameron would say, We have a lot of trust and confidence in the President. We believe what he says. We believe that he’ll follow through on his commitments. We think he’s paying attention to our concerns and our interests. And that’s part of the reason we’ve been able to forge these close working relationships and gotten a whole bunch of stuff done.

Incidentally, it’s been on Trump’s watch that Erdogan’s party just suffered a stunning election defeat in Istanbul. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe people around the world are seeing that they can vote to change the paradigm.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Mohammed Bin Salman.

I believe that too. The Muslim world has a huge schism: Shiite versus Sunni Islam. Iran, which has been in a constant state of deadly war against us for 40 years represents the Shiite influence around the world. Saudi Arabia is the center of Sunni Islam, especially because it controls Mecca. Both are nasty places. Both subordinate women, kill gays, kill Christians, and kill Jews.

Sometimes, though, in the world of geopolitics, you end up making common cause with nations that aren’t very nice. As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s why Israel, which Iran has threatened to destroy, has good working relationships with Saudi Arabia. And that’s why we have to have a good working relationship with Saudi Arabia.

More than that, Mohammed bin Salman is a reformer. He’s still a Saudi, which helps explain why he may have been behind the bungled assassination of the completely awful, anti-American, pro-radical Islami Kashoggi dude. I’m not giving him a pass for the killing, but it was a very Middle Eastern way of dealing with someone viewed as an existential threat.

But again, MBS is a reformer. I wrote about him a year and a half ago:

If Prince Mohammed bin Salman can avoid assassination (and I devoutly hope he can), he is a true reformer. He is trying to upgrade women’s status, he is purging the most corrupt members of the royal family and, most importantly, he is behind the outreach to Israel. There have been rumors that a member of the House of Saud made a secret trip to Israel and, assuming that rumor is true, Prince Salman is the best bet.

If you’re interested in more details about Salman’s reforms, you can read more of what I wrote here.

Also, for a little perspective, don’t forget that Obama gave nasty Iran pallets of cash and permission to go nuclear, even though Iran never backed off from its cruel practices within its borders or its avowed war on America (a war that has played out through terrorist attacks as well as the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq).

I believe that it makes a great deal of sense to tweet belligerently about Iran and also tweet one’s doubts and hestitancy about military action.

Once again, Wittes and I find ourselves in agreement. Trump’s strategy is brilliant. I did a short version in a tweet:

I wrote about Trump’s smart strategy at greater length here:

Trump cultivates a different, albeit equally unpredictable and dangerous, image: He’s the attack dog, constantly barking ferociously, anxious to charge his enemies and rip out their jugulars. The only thing holding him back is the leash that his more mature advisers are able to tug on, just barely, in order to restrain his killer, otherwise-unmanageable instincts.

[snip]

With the events of the past 24 hours, Trump just sent a clear message to the Mullahs: “If it were entirely up to me, the mad dog, any time you cross me in any way, you will die. This time, you got lucky because my advisers were just barely able to hold on to my leash; next time, I guarantee you, you won’t be so lucky.” If that is indeed the message Trump sent and the Mullahs received, it’s a good disincentive for calculating killers who, like so many of the men on death row, are happy meting out death to others but are incredible cowards when they are called to face the Grim Reaper.

[snip]

Meanwhile, Scott Adams saw an even more brilliant spin to Trump’s conduct over the last 24 hours. (You can hear what he has to say here.) My potted summary is that (a) the U.S. was probing Iran’s defenses and a single drone, no matter how expensive, was a small price to pay for that information; (b) Trump forced the Mullahs to imagine their own deaths (which is kind of the same point I was making); and (c) by saying that the deaths of 150 civilians was what dissuaded Trump from acting this time, Trump sent the message to ordinary Iranians that he cares more about their lives than their own rulers do. Combine that with the crushing economic pressure Trump has placed on Iran since he jettisoned Obama’s awful agreement, and you’ve got the Mullahs thinking very carefully about what to do next.

You can read more of what I wrote here.

Wittes wrapped up his tweet storm by sarcastically stating the opposite of everything he believes about Russiagate. It’s hard even to know where to begin addressing his statements, because so much of what he says is inane, disproven, irrelevant, or (I believe) about to be disproven big time. I’ll just throw out a few Russiagate points to emphasize how Wittes fails to prove that Republicans and conservatives live in a world of Orwellian Doublethink. Instead, it is Wittes who lives in a world in which Leftism has deprived him of even the ability to engage in the most basic, functional “singlethink.”

I believe that the whole Russia connection story is “fake news” designed to cover up an embarrassing electoral loss on the part of the Democrats.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Carter Page’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Paul Manafort’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about George Papadopoulos’s dealings with a cutout for the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Russia’s setting up a secret line of communication to the Trump administration through Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of a cabinet secretary.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Jared Kushner’s meeting with a sanctioned Russian bank while working for his father-in-law’s transition. I believe that kind of thing happens all the time in all transitions.

I also believe there was nothing unusual about having a member of a Hungarian extremist party working in your White House while he was resolving a pending gun charge for trying to bring a handgun onto an airplane. I think his wife should be press secretary for a federal agency.

I believe there was no collusion.

I believe there was no obstruction.

I believe Robert Mueller has conflicts of interests because he used to be a member of the president’s golf club.

I also believe he absolutely cleared the president of any whiff of a suggestion of wrongdoing.

I also believe you can’t trust a word of his report because he ran a WITCH HUNT!

I believe Jim Comey is a treasonous liar.

I believe John Brennan is a treasonous liar.

I believe Jim Clapper is a treasonous liar.

I also believe Don McGahn is a liar—and a bad lawyer.

I believe real lawyers don’t take notes.

I believe Jeff Sessions left the president on an island.

I believe in insurance policies.

And yes, I believe that Barack Hussein Obama wire tapped Trump Tower.

I believe Devin Nunes was merely conducting an impartial investigation when he came across information the President needed to know about and that he therefore raced over to the White House to inform him of his discovery.

I believe any patriot would have done the same.

And I believe that stopping briefly before going in and before coming out of the White House to tell the press all about it is perfectly consistent with complaining about leaks.

I believe it makes all the sense in the world to rush over to the White House to inform the President of material you learned from the White House.

I believe that leaks are the real story.

I believe the president has fully cooperated with investigators.

I also believe in investigating the investigators.

Regarding the Mueller report, there’s no doubt that he staffed his team with hardcore Democrats. They worked for Dems, donated to Dems, partied with Dems, and wept when Hillary lost. I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as indicative of bias.

There’s also no doubt that, try as they might, that Dem affiliated team was unable to find any evidence tying Trump or his family to Russian efforts to affect the outcome. There’s also no doubt that the report missed a few Russia-relevant points. Thus, (a) the report did not challenge then-President Obama’s peculiar disinclination to block known Russian interference in the 2016 election and (b) the report sidestepped entirely that Hillary commissioned and paid for the Steele Dossier, which was predicated almost entirely information that Hillary’s agent avidly sought out from . . . Russia!

And of course, we know that, although Mueller couldn’t find evidence that Trump or his team colluded with Russia, there was good evidence that Hillary and the Dems colluded, and that people in the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and NSA violated protocol and laws to spy on Trump. It was this failure to bring down Trump on collusion that led Mueller to try to imply that Trump was guilty of criminal obstruction. (I’ve detailed here how Mueller perverted the statutory language to try to weasel his way into this one.)

Moreover, at a very basic level, it’s ethically improper and morally wrong for a prosecutor to smear someone for wrongdoing when the prosecutor admits he doesn’t even know if there’s enough evidence for a basic wrongdoing case. In America, people are not required to prove their innocence to the public. Instead, if the prosecutor believes he has the goods on someone, the prosecutor is required, using due process, to prove that person’s guilt.

On a more interesting level, remember that Trump knew all along that he was innocent of colluding with Russian and understood that he was being investigated and harassed by the same people who engaged in illegal spying. Seen in this light, it’s pretty hard to accuse Trump of obstruction of justice when he fired a corrupt FBI head (who lied to Trump’s face) and fulminated about the abuse he’s receiving, even as he produced millions of documents and hundreds of witnesses.

Regarding the Trump Tower eavesdropping, there’s no longer any question that, through mass unmasking and FISA applications that were predicated upon the Steele dossier (a document even the FBI admitted was not credible and was entirely unsourced), the Obama administration was listening in on Trump Tower.

There’s no question that Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for only a few months, was a sleazy lobbyist who, like his fellow sleazy lobbyists, the Democrat-supporting Podesta brothers, didn’t properly registered his dealings with Ukraine. He also cheated on his taxes. He also didn’t do anything with Russia.

Jim Clapper is indeed a liar. He’s been caught in several blatant lies. These are documented here and here, for example. Brennan lied too, both during the Obama administration and during Russiagate.

In any event, the known facts about Russiagate are what they are. What I’m looking forward to is hearing from Barr and the Inspector Generals. I happen to believe that we’ll have more than enough evidence to show that the Obama administration spied on an opposing political party’s presidential campaign. What’s going to come out in the future is the dirty details about what people did, what they knew, and when they knew it. For me, the next year is going to be all popcorn all the time.

Finallyl, when it comes to Witess’s last two tweets, I agree with him wholeheartedly:

I believe that no president has ever been treated more unfairly than Trump has.

And yet, I still believe that Donald J. Trump will Make America Great Again.
Don’t you?

The post Benjamin Wittes and witless logic about Trump appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Part II of the Mueller Report is a singularly dishonest political document

This post offers you five reasons to view Part II of the Mueller Report as a purely political document without any supporting legal rationales.

Part I of the Mueller Report conclusively found no evidence that President Trump or anyone close to him ever conspired with, or attempted to conspire with, the Russian government to affect the outcome of the 2016 election. That should put the matter to bed.

Those who say that the Mueller report also doesn’t find affirmative proof that President Trump did not conspire with the Russians need to go back and study their basic American jurisprudence. In America, individuals do not have to prove their innocence; it is the prosecution that bears the high burden of proving their guilt. Case closed.

With Russian Collusion a dead-in-the-water talking point, the President’s critics have swung to Part II, which implies that the president of obstructed justice, whether it came about in the form of fulminating against what he knew was a witch hunt, debating with his attorney whether it was possible to fire the chief witch hunter, issuing orders to keep quiet about those discussions, or refusing to appear for an oral deposition.

See that, say President Trump’s critics. President Trump clearly had bad motives, which makes him unfit for the office he holds.

But for presidents, just as for everyone else, having bad motives doesn’t matter unless they’re followed by conduct. The fact that I put myself to sleep at night, not by counting sheep but by figuring out different ways to poison my enemies is irrelevant if I never poison my enemies or inflict any other criminal harm on them. My motives also do not make it a crime if someone later catches me sneering at one of those enemies, because sneering, while rude, is not a criminal act.

The record shows that Trump did not fire anyone and that his subordinates spoke freely to investigators. As for refusing to appear for a deposition, Mueller acceded to Trump’s request that he be subject only to written questions. That was a bargain, not an obstruction.

I’ve also noted before that it’s questionable whether one can claim “obstruction of justice” when there was no actual justice going on. The laws about obstruction of justice posit a known, actual crime; a prosecutor honestly investigating who did that crime; and a person, even an innocent one, deliberately engaging in affirmative acts (destruction of evidence, silencing of witnesses, etc.) to block that investigation.

In this case, however, the facts we know argue against “justice” having any part in this farce. Instead, a continuously emerging stream of new information tells us that government investigative agencies under Obama used illegal means to spy on the Republican presidential candidate. Then, when Trump won, he was accused of doing something bad with the Russians, although no one could quite finger what the precise illegality was. Trump’s FBI director then illegally leaked classified material to the media to trigger a special prosecutor. Although Mueller lacked evidence of an actual crime, he zealously spent two years and $35 million hunting for a crime, any crime, that he could pin on Trump.

That’s not justice. That’s Soviet-style political persecution.

So, is it “obstruction of justice” to fulminate against political persecution (because Trump knew at all times that he had done nothing wrong) and to explore avenues to make it stop, but then, at the end of the day, to cooperate completely with the farce? I say no, but I’ll freely admit my bias on this one.

But there’s more wrong with Part II than just the fact that Trump fulminated about but did not block investigators or that there was no justice present here. The public recently got to see a letter from Emmet T. Flood, Trump’s new White House counsel. (In addition to embedding the actual letter at the bottom of this post via Scribd, I’ve included the full text in this post, as I find Scribd documents hard to read.)

I highly recommend reading Flood’s every word. He details how Mueller’s office deviated from the special prosecutor’s mandate in order to write a blatantly political document intended to give Democrats an impeachment road map. It also explains how Mueller & Co. violated the special prosecutor’s law when they refused either to recommend indicting Trump for obstruction of justice or to state that he should not be indicted. Instead, they spelled out all sorts of things that prosecutors are never supposed to make public . . . only to punt.

By the way, what Mueller did is the fun house mirror of how James Comey screwed Hillary in July 2016 — only instead of punting after telling all the illegal things she did, Comey shoved aside AG Lynch and unilaterally and improperly decided that she should not be prosecuted. That is, Mueller detailed that Trump did nothing criminal (see below) he nevertheless refused to say Trump should not be prosecuted, while Comey detailed textbook criminality but refused to say Hillary should be prosecuted. Both Comey and Mueller are political hacks of the highest order.

Before you read the Flood letter, though, I want to direct your attention to one more thing, which was Bill Barr’s recently revealed quarrel with Mueller about the applicable federal statute for determining whether someone obstructed justice. The part I want to focus on is something that Scott Adams, a very astute observer, misunderstood because he’s not a lawyer. I realized then that a lot of people might not understand it.

The whole matter came out thanks to an excellent post that Will Chamberlain wrote for Human Events, entitled Checkmate. How President Trump’s Legal Team Outfoxed Mueller. A large part of that outfoxing boils down to a statutory quarrel that’s central to Part II of the Mueller Report, the part regarding obstruction:

At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material.

There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.”  These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).

Before Mueller issued his report, way back in June 2018, the White House got wind of the peculiar interpretation Mueller and his team intended to put on the statute. William Barr got wind too and, in his capacity as a private citizen he wrote an entire letter to Rod Rosenstein expressing his concerns about what he was hearing. You can read the whole debate in Chamberlain’s article, but I just want to focus on the core issue, which is the language in 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2):

(c) Whoever corruptly—
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Read literally, the above statute says that whoever intentionally messes with records, documents, or other objects so as to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. In addition, whoever intentionally does anything else to interfere with an investigation is subject to a fine and a long prison sentence. This is how Scott Adams understood the statute. It is not the law’s way of understanding it and, moreover, had Adams drilled down, with his fine mind he would have realized that his instincts are completely illogically.

Re-read the statute and ask yourself this: Why would subjection (1) focus tightly on a very specific type of interference if subsection (2) says any type of interference is criminal?

Let me simplify things by giving a more relate-able example. Imagine reading the following two-part statute:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Again, you find yourself asking why subsection (1) goes to the effort of singling out three types of dogs when subsection (2) fines owners for any and all types of dog. Given that subsection (1) is obviously a subset of subsection (2), subsection (1) is redundant, pointless, meaningless, and confusing.

The same goes for the Mueller team’s preferred reading of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Mueller desperately wanted to say that, in addition to criminal penalties for destroying documents or other tangible objects in a way that interferes with an investigation, a personal is also subject to criminal penalties for anything and everything else that interferes with an investigation.

But here is where the rules of statutory interpretation come to our aid. (And this is what Barr argued, although I’m doing so in more user-friendly and less lawyerly fashion.)

There is a very old doctrine (we know it’s old because it’s a Latin-named doctrine) called ejusdem generis. Per the Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition of ejusdem generis:

Of the same kind, class, or nature.  In statutory construction, the “ejusdem generis rule” is that where general words follow an enumeration of persons or things, by words of a particular and specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to be held as applying only to persons or things of the same general kind or class as those specifically mentioned. Black, Interp. Laws, 141 ; Cutshaw v. Denver, 19 Colo. App.341, 75 Pac. 22; Ex parte Le- land, 1 Nott & McC. (S. C.) 462; Spalding v. People, 172111. 40, 49 N. E. 993.

To go back to our canine example, let me show you how ejusdem generis works:

(1) Any person who owns a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, or a Toy Poodle shall be fined $100 a day.

(2) Any person who owns any other dog shall be fined $100 a day.

Logic tells us that subsection (1) delineates a very specific class of dogs: toy or miniature dogs. Under the doctrine of ejusdem generis, subsection (2) must mean “any other dog that falls within the class of toy or miniature dogs.” That means those who own Labbies and and German Shepherds can breathe a sigh of relief, but people owning Miniature Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, etc., had better decide whether to start paying or give up their doggies.

The same holds true for interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). Subsection (1) manifestly describes someone deliberately destroying or manipulating tangible evidence, since as documents or records or other “objects.” It does not refer to talking to people or engaging in behavior other than destroying or manipulating tangible evidence.

Once we have classified the type of wrongdoing described in subsection (1) we know that subsection (2) is a catch-all to describe any deliberate destruction of similar types of evidence. For example, when 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) was originally enacted in 1982, there was no such thing as being able to wipe out a hard drive using BleachBit. By using the catch-all, the legislators didn’t have to amend the statute every time new technology for storing or erasing data came along. Subsection (2) effectively sweeps in newer technology that’s clearly within the same class of tangible evidence as old-fashioned paper documents.

Finally, please read Andrew McCarthy’s latest post, Mueller’s Preposterous Rationale for Tainting the President with ‘Obstruction’ Allegations. Here’s just a snippet, but you must read the whole thing:

In gross violation of Justice Department policy and constitutional norms, a prosecutor neither charges nor recommends charges against a suspect, but proceeds to smear him by publishing 200 pages of obstruction allegations. Asked to explain why he did it, the prosecutor says he was just trying to protect the suspect from being smeared.

This is the upshot of the Mueller report’s Volume II. It might be thought campy if the suspect weren’t the president of the United States and the stakes weren’t so high.

The smear-but-don’t-charge outcome is the result of two wrongs: (1) Mueller’s dizzying application of Justice Department guidance, written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), holding that a president may not be indicted while he is in office; and (2) the media-Democrat complex’s demand that only laws they like — those that serve their anti-Trump political purposes — be enforced.

The rest of this post is Emmet T. Flood’s letter. I hope that all these things give you a new way of thinking about Part II of the Mueller Report.

*****************************************

The White House
Washington

April 19, 2019

Via Hand Delivery

The Honorable William P. Barr
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I write on behalf of the Office of the President to memorialize concerns relating to the form of the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”) Report (“SCO Report” or “Report”) and to address executive privilege issues associated with its release.

The SCO Report suffers from an extraordinary legal defect: It quite deliberately fails to comply with the requirements of governing law. Lest the Report’s release be taken as a “precedent” or perceived as somehow legitimating the defect, I write with both the President and future Presidents in mind to make the following points clear.

I begin with the SCO’s stated conclusion on the obstruction question: The SCO concluded that the evidence “prevent[ed] [it] from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” SCO Report v.2, p.2. But “conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred” was not the SCO’s assigned task, because making conclusive determinations of innocence is never the task of the federal prosecutor.

What prosecutors are supposed to do is complete an investigation and then either ask the grand jury to return an indictment or decline to charge the case. When prosecutors decline to charge, they make that decision not because they have “conclusively determin[ed] that no criminal conduct occurred,” but rather because they do not believe that the investigated conduct constitutes a crime for which all the elements can be proven to the satisfaction of a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors simply are not in the business of establishing innocence. any more than they are in the business of “exonerating” investigated persons. In the American justice system, innocence is presumed; there is never any need for prosecutors to “conclusively determine” it. Nor is there any place for such a determination. Our country would be a very different (and very dangerous) place if prosecutors applied the SCO standard and citizens were obliged to prove “conclusively . . . that no criminal conduct occurred.”

Because they do not belong to our criminal justice vocabulary. the SCO’s inverted-proof-standard and “exoneration” statements can be understood only as political statements, issuing from persons (federal prosecutors) who in our system of government are rightly expected never to be political in the performance of their duties. The inverted burden of proof knowingly embedded in the SCO’s conclusion shows that the Special Counsel and his staff failed in their duty to act as prosecutors and only as prosecutors.

Second, and equally importantly: In closing its investigation. the SCQ had only one job — to “provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c). Yet the one thing the SCO was obligated to do is the very thing the SCO — intentionally and unapologetically — refused to do. The SCO made neither a prosecution decision nor a declination decision on the obstruction question. Instead, it transmitted a 182-page discussion of raw evidentiary material combined with its own inconclusive observations on the arguable legal significance of the gathered content. As a result, none of the Report’s Volume II complied with the obligation imposed by the governing regulation to “explain[] the prosecution or declination decisions reached.” Id.

The SCO instead produced a prosecutorial curiosity — part “truth commission” report and part law school exam paper. Far more detailed than the text of any known criminal indictment or declination memorandum, the Report is laden with factual information that has never been subjected to adversarial testing or independent analysis. That information is accompanied by a series of inexplicably inconclusive observations (inexplicable, that is, coming from a prosecutor) concerning possible applications of law to fact. This species of public report has no basis in the relevant regulation and no precedent in the history of special/independent counsel investigations.

An investigation of the President under a regulation that clearly specifies a very particular form of closing documentation is not the place for indulging creative departures from governing law. Under general prosecutorial principles, and under the Special Counsel regulation’s specific language, prosecutors are to speak publicly through indictments or confidentially in declination memoranda. By way of justifying this departure. it has been suggested that the Report was written with the intent of providing Congress some kind of ” road map” for congressional action. See, e.g., Remarks of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, 4/18/19 (Press Conference).[Fn 1] If that was in fact the SCO’s intention, it too serves as additional evidence of the SCO’s refusal to follow applicable law. Both the language of the regulation and its ” legislative” history make plain that the “[c]losing documentation” language was promulgated for the specific purpose of preventing the creation of this sort of final report.[Fn 2] Under a constitution of separated powers, inferior Article II officers should not be in the business of creating “road maps” for the purpose of transmitting them to Article I committees.

[Fn 1] Some commentators have pointed to the so-called Watergate “Road Map” as precedent for giving Congress a prosecutor’s report containing no legal conclusions. That “Road Map” is shrouded in a bodyguard of myths, and the many separation of powers problems presented by its transmission remain largely unexplored. But the idea that it was a straightforward. just-the-facts type summary is easily dispelled. As two top Watergate prosecutors wrote years after the events of 1973-74, the Watergate Task Force created the “road map [to] serve as a do-it-yourself kit for the Judiciary Committee, helping it reassemble the individual pieces of grand-jury testimony and other evidence into a coherent theory of a criminal case as we and the [grand] jury saw it.” Ben-Veniste & Frampton. Stonewall: The Real Story of the Watergate Prosecution 242-43 (1977) (emphasis added).

[Fn 2] At the time of the Special Counsel regulations’ creation in 1999. it was widely understood that Section 600.8(c) was not intended to provide for “a report which discusses the evidence at length,” much less its public dissemination. The Future of the Independent Counsel Act: Hearings before the S. Comm. On Governmental Affairs, 106th Cong. 236 (1999) (letter from Robert B. Fiske, Jr.); see also id. at 252 (prepared statement of Janet Reno, Att’y Gen. of the United States); Reauthorization of the Independent Counsel Statute, Part I: Hearings Before the Subcomm. On Commercial and Admin. Law of the H. Comm. On the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 36 (1999) prepared statement of Eric H. Holder, Jr., Deputy Att’y Gen.).

With the release of the SCO Report and despite all of the foregoing, the President has followed through on his consistent promise of transparency. He encouraged every White House staffer to cooperate fully with the sea and, so far as we are aware, all have done so. Voluntary interviewees included the Counsel to the President, two Chiefs of Staff, the Press Secretary and numerous others. In addition, approximately 1.4 million pages of documents were provided to the SCO. This voluntary cooperation was given on the understanding (reached with the SCO) that information (i) gathered directly from the White House or White House staffers and (ii) having to do with Presidential communications, White House deliberations, law enforcement information, and perhaps other matter may be subject to a potential claim of executive privilege and, for that reason, would be treated by the SCO as presumptively privileged. Volume II of the report contains a great deal of presumptively privileged information, largely in the form of references to, and descriptions of, White House staff interviews with the SCO. It also includes reference to presumptively privileged documentary materials.

The President is aware that, had he chosen to do so, he could have withheld such information on executive privilege grounds, basing such an assertion on the established principle that to permit release of such information might have a chilling effect on a President’s advisors, causing them to be less than fully frank in providing advice to a President. Notwithstanding his right to assert such a privilege, and with a measure of reluctance born of concern for future Presidents and their advisors, the President has in this instance elected not to assert executive privilege over any of the presumptively privileged portions of the report. As a consequence, not a single redaction in the Report was done on the advice of or at the direction of the White House.

The President therefore wants the following features of his decision to be known and understood:

(1) His decision not to assert privilege is not a waiver of executive privilege for any other material or for any other purpose;

(2) His decision to permit disclosure of executive-privileged portions of the report does not waive any privileges or protections for the SCO’s underlying investigative materials such as, for example, FBI Form 302 witness interview summaries and presumptively privileged documents made available to the SCO by the White House.

(3) His decision does not affect his ability as President to instruct his advisors to decline to appear before congressional committees to answer questions on these same subjects. It is one thing for a President to encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation conducted largely within the Executive Branch; it is something else entirely to allow his advisors to appear before Congress, a coordinate branch of government, and answer questions relating to their communications with the President and with each other. The former course reflected the President’s recognition of the importance of promoting cooperation with a criminal investigation. The latter course creates profound separation of powers concerns and — if not defended aggressively — threatens to undermine the integrity of Executive Branch deliberations. The President is determined to protect from congressional scrutiny not only the advice rendered by his own advisors, but also by advisors to future Presidents.

A great deal is said these days about the rule of law and the importance of legal norms. In that spirit, and mindful of the frenzied atmosphere accompanying the Report’s release, the following should not be forgotten. Government officials, with access to classified information derived from a counterintelligence investigation and from classified intelligence intercepts, engaged in a campaign of illegal leaks against the President. Many of those leaks were felonies. They disclosed the identity of a U.S. person in violation of his civil rights; they misused intelligence for partisan political purposes; and they eroded public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of our intelligence services. The criminal investigation began with a breach of confidentiality executed by a very senior administration official who was himself an intelligence service chief. This leak of confidential information, personally directed by the former Director of the FBI, triggered the creation of the SCO itself – precisely as he intended it to do.

Not so long ago, the idea that a law enforcement official might provide the press with confidential governmental information for the proclaimed purpose of prompting a criminal investigation of an identified individual would have troubled Americans of all political persuasions. That the head of our country’s top law enforcement agency has actually done so to the President of the United States should frighten every friend of individual liberty. Under our system of government, unelected Executive Branch officers and intelligence agency personnel are supposed to answer to the person elected by the people — the President — and not the other way around. This is not a Democratic or a Republican issue; it is a matter of having a government responsible to the people — and, again, not the other way around. In the partisan commotion surrounding the released Report, it would be well to remember that what can be done to a President can be done to any of us.

These leaks and this investigation also caused immense and continuing interference with the functioning of the Executive Branch. Our constitution makes the President the sole constitutional officer “for whom the entire Nation votes. and [who] represent[s] the entire Nation both domestically and abroad.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 711 (1997) (Breyer, J., concurring). As a result, “[i]nterference with a President’s ability to carry out his public responsibilities is constitutionally equivalent to interference with the ability of the entirety of Congress, or the Judicial Branch, to carry out its public obligations.” Id. at 713. It is inarguable that the now-resolved allegation of “Russian collusion” placed a cloud over the Presidency that has only begun to lift in recent weeks. The pendency of the SCO investigation plainly interfered with the President’s ability to carry out his public responsibility to serve the American people and to govern effectively. These very public and widely felt consequences flowed from, and were fueled by, improper disclosures by senior government officials with access to classified information. That this continues to go largely unremarked should worry all civil libertarians, all supporters of investigative due process, and all believers in limited and effective government under the Constitution.

I respectfully ask you to include a copy of this letter in the Department’s records relating to the SCO investigation.

Sincerely,

Emmet T. Flood
Special Counsel to the President

*****************************************

Flood letter to Barr by on Scribd

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Avenatti, Hillary, and Trump: thoughts about character and sociopaths

Avenatti and Clinton are self-serving criminals, while Trump is just a boaster and brawler — and he uses those traits constitutionally to serve America.

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding completely fascinating the lengthening laundry list of malfeasance associated with Michael Avenatti. It turns out he’s not just a garden-variety crooked attorney with a gift for self-promotion who padded his bills or missed filing deadlines, only to lie about these things later. Instead, assuming the allegations against him to be true, Avenatti is a criminal of epic proportions. He embezzled millions of dollars from clients, one of whom was brain-damaged, in order to fund his other businesses enterprises as well as his high-end, race car-driving lifestyle.

Speaking only for myself, If I ever started engaging in crime, even minor crime, my instinct would be to keep a low profile. My crime motto, if I had one, would be “If you’re going to speed, do it in a boring car, not in a bright red sports car.” Thankfully, I am not criminally inclined, so this is not an issue.

Avenatti, however, who is apparently a true criminal, went in an entirely different direction. He did everything he could to make himself visible. Even more importantly for purposes of this post, he made himself visible at the national level by sitting in judgment — moral judgment — on the President of the United States. He spent months on Leftist TV speaking endlessly about what a corrupt person President Trump is. Then, when that fame started diminishing, Avenatti ratcheted up the fame factor again by thrusting himself into the heart of the baseless attack on Justice Kavanaugh.

To go back to my car metaphor, Avenatti wasn’t just speeding in a red sports car. He was speeding and running red lights, all while driving a red car with the top down, playing rap music at full blast on the top-end sound system, boasting a flag on the antenna reading “Hey, look at me” and, below that, another flag saying, “No, really, look at me!”

If I had to guess, I would say Avenatti is a sociopath. Or perhaps I should say he has an “antisocial personality disorder” (ASP), which is the modern DSM-5 classification for those people whom we once called sociopaths and/or psychopaths. I’m a little soured on the DSM, which seems more concerned with politics than clinical accuracy, but this laundry list of signs that someone has an ASP is remarkably accurate in describing not only Avenatti’s crimes, but his lust for fame, a lust entirely at odds with someone who actually wants to get away with criminal activity:

  • Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others
  • Lack of stability in job and home life
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Lack of remorse
  • Consistent irresponsibility
  • Recklessness, impulsivity
  • Deceitfulness
  • A childhood diagnosis (or symptoms consistent with) conduct disorder

Except for the last item in the list, about which we have no information, Avenatti ticks off all the other items. Nor is this a case of trying to massage a vaguely dishonest or insensitive person into the laundry list, even if that person really doesn’t belong there. Avenatti fits like a well-oiled key in a custom-made lock: His blatant attacks on others; his divorces and refusal to pay child care; his aggression; his manifest lack of remorse for his crimes (were he remorseful, he might be more low key); his carelessness with his clients and, indeed, with his own welfare as a criminal; the recklessness that drove him to the spotlight; and his blatant dishonesty — it’s all there.

Before I go further, let me say that, just because I’m a lay person willing to give Avenatti a diagnosis, doesn’t mean I’m going to go the next step and say something like, “Poor guy. He’s mentally ill. He can’t help himself. He deserves a pass.” Avenatti is a very competent man to have gone as far as he did with his corrupt behavior. He knew objectively that what he was doing was wrong because the law went directly opposite him. Even lacking a normal conscience, he understood that he was violating both the law and societal norms. He has therefore earned every bit of punishment that comes his way, and I hope he gets it good and hard. But back to my main point….

Should the transgender crowd every fully get its way and lead us into co-ed prisons, I do feel that Hillary ought to get the cell next to Avenatti’s. Even if we put aside the accusations against her from the 1990s on the ground that they were politically motivated hatchet jobs, there’s still no way around the fact that between 2008 and 2012 she grossly violated national security by conducting her business as Secretary of State over a home-brewed server. She then lied about it, spoliated evidence, and destroyed government documents. Her malfeasance is breathtaking. She’s right up there in the front seat of that over-the-top red car Avenatti is driving.

But what really shows that Hillary is every bit as sociopathic or personality disordered as Avenatti is the fact that, just today, after America had learned with absolute finality that Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with the Russians during his run for the White House, Hillary argued that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday argued that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed President Donald Trump would’ve been indicted for obstruction of justice if not for the fact he’s president and protected by Justice Department guidelines.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted. But because of the rule in the Justice Department that you can’t indict a sitting president, the whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress,” Clinton said at the Time 100 summit in New York City.

Obstruction, Hillary? Do you really want to go there. I know I said I wouldn’t rehash her wrongdoing in the 1990s, but it is worth mentioning a couple of incontrovertible facts. For example, there’s the fact that Hillary deliberately hid her billing records from the Rose Law Firm. And there’s the fact that for Bill’s entire political life, she was out there, front and center, squashing Bill’s endless “bimbo eruptions,” including the rape accusation Juanita Broaddrick brought against him. I also mentioned above, didn’t I, her whole “hiding her server, erasing her hard drive, deleting her emails” activities. And please, don’t even get me started on the lies she told about Benghazi, where four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, were brutally slaughtered.

Just like Avenatti, not only is Hillary a criminal, she’s a moralizing criminal who presumes to sit in judgment on those who have done nothing wrong or, at the very least, have committed inconsequential wrongdoing compared to Hillary’s grotesque legal and moral sins. There’s that recklessness and sense of superiority that marks the sociopath or disordered personality. Not only do they feel above the law, they feel above everyone and everything. Ordinary laws apply only to the little people and these sociopaths are big, big, BIG — at least in their own mirrors. Indeed, that disordered and undeserved sense of bigness often propels them quite far into fame and fortune before their misdeeds finally catch up with them.

People like Avenatti and Hillary are very frightening because they have no brakes. Moreover, they don’t even have the decency to hide in the dark corners with the other rats. Instead, they sit there brazenly, their throne propped up by ill-gotten gains, and presume to sit in judgment on others.

So where does Trump fit in all this? Trump is certainly a larger than life person, but is he a criminal? Is he a sociopath?

Leftists love to point to all of his endless factual misstatements, but I honestly don’t believe he’s the same kind of liar Avenatti and Hillary are. As I’ve often said, Trump is a “puffer.”

In advertising, puffery allows you to make claims that every sensible person recognizes as boasting, indeed, sometimes humorous boasting. “Ours is the softest toilet paper ever.” “You’ll think you’re drinking a fresh peach with our fruit juice.” “Ours will be the best economy ever!” Only pedants or humorless scolds would take this type of thing seriously. (Speaking of which, less than year ago, the Times was still claiming that, when Trump on the stump said “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he wasn’t jokingly referring to the fact that, owing to Hillary’s national security violations, Russia already had every bit of her correspondence, but was, instead openly colluding with Russia.)

If you’re opposed to or incapable of understanding puffery then yes, Trump lies. If you don’t mind exaggeration, he’s good. Salena Zito nailed it perfectly when she wrote about Trump’s often cavalier approach to data, such as unemployment statistics or inauguration attendees: “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

The way I see it is that Trump exaggerates inconsequential details (although he seldom veers too far from the gist of things), but he never lies about core, consequential matters. By contrast, Hillary and Avenatti routinely tell huge, fraudulent, consequential lies that change people’s lives for the worse. Obama’s in that same class. Unlike Trump, he may have recited statistics accurately, but it was Obama who repeatedly promised the American people that their doctors and hospitals wouldn’t change — something of incredible importance to Americans — and not only was this wrong, it was a deliberate lie intended to sell the people on a deal they wouldn’t otherwise buy.

We have a family friend, someone I’ve known since I was three. She is the most delightful conversationalist because in her world everything is larger than life. The handsome man is “a God;” the luxury resort is “like a palace, you wouldn’t believe;” the former boyfriend “has turned into a fat old man. He’s so fat he’d take up three seats in an airplane;” and on and on. Everything is dramatic. Everything is exciting. And everything is taken with a grain of salt at the margins. What I know with certainty after talking with this lovely lady is that the man is handsome, the resort is great, and that the old boyfriend has filled out. Believe me, though, that I’m not disappointed, nor do I feel betrayed, when I learn that there is no Adonis, there is no palace, and there is no Jabba the Hutt.

Trump has never lied about the consequential stuff. Indeed, unlike every candidate in my lifetime, he’s kept his campaign promises. We all expect presidential candidates to lie about those things, but Trump didn’t. Some things didn’t happen as he promised (such as ending Obamacare) but that wasn’t for want of trying on his part. Instead, members of his own party blocked him.

And then there’s the whole obstruction thing, the thing for which Hillary, one of the most felonious people in American political history, had the temerity to rise in judgment against Trump. A few points as to that, all of which you’ve seen elsewhere, so I won’t belabor them too much:

It’s very hard to get excited about Trump doing anything to block an investigation that he knew at all times with absolute certainty was undertaken in bad faith. Even if Mueller went in thinking there might be something wrong, he would have learned within months that Trump was innocent of wrongdoing vis-a-vis the Russians. Continuing the investigations for two years could only have been meant to stymie Trump’s presidency, destroy the people in his orbit and, through that destruction, warn other people away from working with the Trump administration.

What I’m trying to say is that, from Trump’s perspective, this wasn’t just a case in which there was a known crime, but he was wrongly fingered as a suspect. If you’re wondering, that scenario was what happened with Richard Jewell, whom Mueller practically hounded into the grave with a wrongful investigation related to the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta.

When Mueller’s investigation began, there was no known crime. Instead, this was a Lavrentiy “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” Beria investigation, in which Trump was the target and Mueller was trying to find a crime to attach to him. Even assuming Trump was obstructionist, obstructing an investigation that violates the 4th Amendment doesn’t get my dander up.

Another thing to keep in mind, again consistent with the American judicial system, is that Mueller, when talking about obstruction, essentially said, “Trump hasn’t really satisfied me as to his innocence.” But that’s not how our judicial system works. It’s Mueller’s job first to have a crime, and then to finger the perpetrator. It’s not Trump’s job to prove he was innocent of a non-crime and then prove again that he was innocent of not cooperating 100% with investigating a witch hunt against him.

I have no problem with the fact that Trump refused to be interviewed in person. Even after Mueller must have known there was no collusion, he was determined to destroy people with process crimes, bizarre imprisonments, and over-the-top night time arrests. Especially for someone like Trump, who’s not tight on details, a live interview with Mueller would have seen him sent to Club Fed for the rest of his life for lying about what he had for breakfast on June 15, 2016.

I’m also unimpressed with the Don McGahn testimony. I don’t care that Trump asked if he could fire Mueller. It was a perfectly reasonable question for a White House lawyer given that Trump knew at all times that he was innocent. I don’t care that he tried to bully McGahn into firing Mueller, because pushy clients do that all the time with their lawyers until the lawyers give them a super firm no. I don’t even care that Trump said, “Hey, don’t tell anyone about this conversation” — First off, McGahn ignored that direction and freely talked about the conversation; second, the conversation was meaningless because Trump didn’t act upon it. And of course, who knows whether Trump was joking when he made that request and who knows whether McGahn retrofitted his memory or his notes given that he must have noticed that Mueller systematically destroyed anyone who didn’t feed something to his investigation.

Finally, I refuse to accept that Twitter outbursts unaccompanied by action constitute obstruction.

I’m perfectly willing to admit that Trump probably has some sort of personality disorder. He is an odd man with his peculiar look, his verbal twitches, his puffery, and his Twitter outbursts, which I find both effective and amusing but will agree are not necessarily presidential. He’s a brawler and a manipulator. He lived a debauched lifestyle before settling down in the last few years. All that’s true.

But since Trump entered the White House, he’s been a model president in constitutional terms. Everything he’s achieved, he’s achieved within constitutional parameters. That’s a lot more than can be said for Obama, with his illegal Kyoto Accords and Iran Agreements.

Larger than life people are often difficult and sometimes crazy. Put I’ll take Trump’s pro-American, constitutional craziness any day over Avenatti’s and Hillary’s selfish, amoral, immoral, and criminal sociopathy, especially when their particular brand of crazy is overlaid with self-righteous, completely unfounded moralizing about President Trump and others whom these sociopaths have targeted.

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No, Mr. Rove, There Needs To Be A Reckoning On Russian Collusion

Contrary to Rove’s advice that Trump “move on” from Russian collusion, Trump needs to use his bully pulpit to expose Deep State crimes for Americans to see.
by Wolf Howling

Karl Rove appears in the WSJ this morning with some advice: Move On From Mueller, Mr. President.  Mr. Rove is dangerously clueless. His is not advice President Trump needs nor is it advice that would serve the country.

Rove rightly observes that “William Barr’s letter summarizing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report lifted an enormous political weight off President Trump and his team.”  But then Rove advises that Trump leave all the unanswered questions about what was in essence an attempted coup to those below him in the executive office hierarchy.  Trump, he opines, should float above it all and ignore it.

These questions should be answered, but Mr. Trump need not devote much time to pressing them. He can count on Mr. Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to continue cleaning up the FBI and Justice Department. Mr. Horowitz is already investigating possible FISA abuses.

There’s also Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who promises to get to the bottom of “disturbing” aspects of the FBI and Justice Department’s 2016 and 2017 activities. As House manager of the 1998 Clinton impeachment effort, he learned the importance of not overplaying your hand.

Further, Mr. Rove advises:

Mr. Trump now has an unusual chance to fashion something like the presidential honeymoon that media bitterness over Hillary Clinton’s loss denied him when he took office. Team Trump should use the Mueller report to pivot to issues, like the economy and the opioid crisis, that matter to swing voters who will decide the 2020 presidential election.

Where has Rove been?  Despite this ongoing, slow motion coup aimed at President Trump, our President has been addressing the economy, the opioid crisis, and most other of the serious issues effecting our country.  He does not have to “pivot” to those issues.  They have to make it into the press.  But the media has been focused like a laser on Mueller and Russian collusion.  They won’t start reporting in any meaningful way on other issues until Trump goes on the offensive and things start to look very bad for the left.  Then their focus will change.

It is amazing just how out of touch Rove is with this country.  This is decidedly not the America of 2000 when Rove partnered with George Bush to craft a successful run for the Presidency.   The Democrat Party of 2000 was dominated by Clinton centrists with at least some remnants of intellectual honesty.  The Left of today is a different beast, given over wholly to identity politics, post modern subjectivity, autocracy, and socialism.  Leftists are spoon feeding that toxin to every person coming out of higher education and, increasingly, K-12.  The Left in America started fast transitioning to this ideological “end stage” of hard core neo-Marxism, during the Bush Presidency.  No one more than Mr. Rove should recognize that, at least in hindsight.

To take a walk back down memory lane, in the wake of the 2000 election, you had the 60’s radicals completing their take-over of academia, the rise of far Left politically savvy groups like that led by Kos, and a massive infusion of money into far Left causes from George Soros and his mid-90’s creation, the Open Society Foundation.   The Democrats’ Overton window went from Bismarck’s welfare state to Marx’s socialism.  And with it came a whole host of toxins, including post-modernism, lawlessness, unequal application of the rule of law, disdain for the Constitution, and contempt for any American who does not wholly agree with the neo-Marxist dogma.

The first serious manifestation of this was the claim that Bush lied about WMD.  I am sure you all remember that.  It started out with Barbara Boxer on the Senate Floor in 2003, if I remember correctly, and then “Bush lied, people died” became both a mantra and a mythical dogma, endlessly repeated by the left and their increasingly corrupt media partners.  Rove advised Bush to ignore it and let those below him respond, much as he is advising Trump now to ignore this attempted coup and let others handle it.  That worked out well,

While Bush, at Rove’s urging, maintained dignified silence, the left and their number in the media succeeded in rewriting history into dark fiction and moving this nation hard to the left.  Indeed, at one time, at least as late as 2010, recognized this reality.  That was when he penned an op-ed in the WSJ admitting My Biggest Mistake in the White House, Failing to refute charges that Bush lied us into war has hurt our country.

In the end, Rove’s strategy gave us Obama, ISIS, Obamacare, a wildly triumphal class of neo-Marxists intent on seizing power by any means, and a series of constitutional crises — from DACA (presidential assumption of legislative powers), to the Iran Deal, to the Paris Accords, to using the regulatory bureaucracy to replace Congress, and to the Supreme Court assuming power to rewrite the Constitution — that threatened and, because there have been no systemic fixes, still threaten the fabric of our nation.

And yet Mr. Rove opines that:

Mr. Trump needs to understand that despite months of relentlessly railing against a “witch hunt,” his supporters are not as revved up as his detractors. That’s the conclusion of the March 20 Fox News poll, which surveyed voters before the Mueller probe ended. While it found Mr. Trump’s approval rating to be 46%—approaching his February 2017 high of 48%—only 27% strongly approve of the president while 42% strongly disapprove.

Has Rove had his head in the sand?  The fact that Trump has an approval rating anywhere in the double digits is simply amazing, given the relentless attacks on him every single day from virtually every single media outlet over a period of years.  There are a huge number of Americans who have no clue that this “Russia collusion” scam was an attempted coup.  Might that not be impacting the poll numbers.  This attempted coup could not have been more serious a direct attack on our nation, one designed first to throw an election and then, in the aftermath, to overthrow a validly elected President or, failing that, to utterly hamstring his administration and render him ineffective.  If this gets swept under the rug without the wrongdoers exposed and punished, our nation will not long survive.  It will only further embolden those who would destroy our nation in the future.

Trump needs to do the opposite of what Rove has suggested.  He needs to stand before the American people and lay out what is publicly known:

  • That the DNC paid for Fusion GPS to generate opposition research, generating a series of what is now known to be wildly false allegations. Moreover, if those allegations were knowingly false when presented to the FBI to start an investigation that constitutes a crime.
  • That it appears that certain members in the leadership of the FBI and DOJ, in an effort to spy on his campaign and to investigate himself and his administration in the hopes of finding a crime, themselves broke laws regarding FISA.
  • That it appears that several people involved may have committed the crime of lying to Congress.
  • That a whole host of leaks of false information seemingly came out of the FBI and DOJ in an effort to undermine and bring down the lawful government of the United States.
  • That a number of innocent people were unlawfully unmasked as part and parcel thereof, in violation of the law and their rights under the 4th Amendment.

Once the president loudly identifies those grievous alleged criminal acts, the President should say that he is joining with Congress to request that the AG appoint a special counsel to investigate what happened and to punish any who in fact have broken the law.  This is well beyond the powers of the Senate to fully investigate, however much I look forward to the entertainment of watching Lindsey Graham 2.0 unleashed.

Then, and only then, can Trump pivot, Mr. Rove.  Though actually, it won’t be Trump pivoting.  It will be the media pivoting, both to avoid showing the inner workings of the attempted coup that just played out and their own duplicity.

Two final notes.  One, Lee Smith at Tablet has an exceptional article up today, System Fail, excoriating the press for being nothing more than partisan mouthpieces for their favored ideology.  He concludes:

American democracy is premised on a free press that does its best to provide the public with information. Misinforming the public is like dumping toxic waste in the rivers. It poisoned our democracy—and it continues to do so. In fact, the most important thing for the public to understand is that Russiagate is not unique. It’s the way that the expert class opines on everything now, from immigration to foreign policy.

Take for instance last week’s big news that President Trump had decided to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The decision was universally praised in Israel, by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by opponents like Yair Lapid. Yet Obama’s former ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, insisted that the decision was politically motivated, telling the Washington Post that “the timing seems pretty transparent.” Surely, like his ambassadorial colleague, McFaul, Shapiro knew exactly what he’s talking about when he tweeted that the decision was made without “any policy planning process to consider potential reactions by Russia, Assad regime, Hezbollah, Arab states, Europe, etc., some of which may not be immediate. A decision like this should factor in such questions. No evidence it has.”

Shapiro was dead wrong. As the Atlantic noted in a detailed reported piece posted hours after Shapiro’s tweet, “the push for Trump to make such a move has been going on for more than a year, due to parallel efforts by Israeli officials and members of Congress.”

But whatever. Experts can say anything they like—the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos’ emails and photos of him and his girlfriend; Jamal Khashoggi was an American journalist; Jussie Smollett was nearly lynched by Trump supporters; Brett Kavanaugh was part of a rape gang, etc., etc. And reporters will print it, and editors will shrug, because that’s what the press is now—a pass-through mechanism mostly used for manipulative, ill-informed and often nonsensical propaganda.

Americans still want and need accurate information on which to base their decisions about their own lives and the path that the country should take. But neither the legacy media nor the expert class it sustains is likely to survive the post-dossier era in any recognizable form. For them, Russiagate is an extinction level event.

I couldn’t agree more.  But again, this goes to my point about Rove, that it is not enough for Trump now to float above this mess, but rather to set in motion the processes that will expose all of this to the public.  Otherwise, Russiagate will not be an extinction level event for a press full of partisan hacks, it will be an extinction level event for this nation.

Lastly, from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, there is this:

RAND PAUL: Former Obama CIA chief promoted ‘dossier,’ demands investigation of Obama team.

Sen. Rand Paul escalated his demand for an investigation into former Obama officials who “concocted” the anti-Trump Russia scandal, revealing that former CIA Director John Brennan was the key figure who legitimized the charges and discredited “dossier” against the president.

In an interview, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate Judiciary Committee should immediately ask Brennan about his involvement in the document that helped to kick off the Russia collusion investigation of President Trump.

“I think we need to find the truth,” he told Washington Secrets. He said the goal would be to stop similar faulty investigations into future administrations, “Democratic or Republican.”

I think we need a special prosecutor to investigate this, not just Senate hearings.

Amen.

Rove Russian Collusion

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The end of Russian collusion reveals entrenched Leftist delusions

Reading unhinged Leftist delusions about Trump’s criminality — despite the Mueller report’s exoneration — reminds me strongly of people with dementia.

When she was already in her high 80s, my mother had to go to the hospital for heart surgery. The surgery went very well and gave my mother another five good years. What didn’t go well, though, was the hospital stay.

Those of you with elderly parents may already be familiar with something called “sundowning,” which is a form of dementia that worsens at night. Although it’s technically a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s also very common in elderly people who do not have dementia, but who are thrown into an unfamiliar setting — especially a hospital setting that sees them woken up at all hours of the night and living in a sort of perpetual twilight. (As you may have guessed from its name, sundowning is associated with disrupted Circadian rhythms.)

On my mother’s first night after surgery, the nurses telephoned me at 3 a.m. because Mom had been hysterically calling out for me to rescue her. They hoped that I could talk her down. I couldn’t, though, because although she recognized my voice on the phone, she was convinced that I was an alien being who had kidnapped her daughter and taken the daughter’s (that is, my) place.

Because the phone call didn’t help, I threw my clothes on and headed to the hospital. I shouldn’t have bothered. My mother was in the grip of a deep hallucination and didn’t recognize me. It was very strange having her desperately calling me to rescue her even as I stood there in front of her. I went back home.

When I returned to the hospital the next day, Mom filled me in on exactly what had happened to her that night. The nurses, she told me, were using the mobile computer carts that they brought to the bedside to run an illegal retail business selling designer clothes. They had kidnapped her and brought her down to a cellar beneath the hospital, put her at a sewing machine, and brutally forced her to sew clothes for ten hours to make products for their illegal business. She’d demanded that they bring her daughter to her (that would be me), because she knew I would rescue her. I never came, though. Instead, they sent an impostor to trick her. Later, when they returned her to her bed, the patient in the next bed was dying, and they forced mom to nurse the patient.

As my Mom was otherwise lucid that morning, I tried to show her that the patient in the next bed was alive and well and that the computer in her room was limited to patient data. I told her that I had talked to her on the phone and come to the hospital. I also pointed out that Mom wasn’t any good at sewing now that her vision was diminished. None of that mattered. Even while she acknowledged as true every single fact I told her, she nevertheless clung steadfastly to her narrative. It had happened and nothing could persuade her otherwise. She believed in that delusion until the day she died.

The next night, Mom called for me again and again I spoke to her on the phone without her recognizing me. This time, though, I didn’t go to the hospital because doing so would be pointless.

When I visited her the next morning, she had a new night-time adventure to report. She told me that she had been sleeping in her bed when she saw three Germans arrive from “there” (pointing to the window). The Germans came to her bed and stood around her as they discussed using her body in strange and torturous ways for scientific research. She was frightened and called for me, but I didn’t come, which was a tremendous betrayal of my alleged love for her.

This morning, Mom was able to walk, so I took her to the window — the same window through which, she assured me, the Germans had arrived. When we reached the window, I pointed out that (a) it could not open and (b) her room was on the third floor of the hospital. Because that evidence was before her eyes, she readily agreed that my facts were correct. But again, she refused to deny her hallucination. It was another one she clung to until her dying day.

Although my mother was an intelligent woman, had a lot of common sense, and was closely tied to reality when she wasn’t in the hospital, those visions were all-encompassing. They felt completely real to her. It was apparent that they had interwoven themselves so completely into her synapses that she could not accept that they were anything other than the truth — even if they conflicted with common sense, physics, trusted sources, whatever. They had happened.

You all know where I’m going, of course. People suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome invested themselves so completely and thoroughly in the Russian Collusion theory that nothing will shake their belief that it happened. That mass delusion, that collective hallucination, has become as real to them as the chair on which they sit, the food they eat, or the face they see in the mirror. And because it has profound emotional resonance, playing as it does on their fears and their fantasies, their hates and their hopes, they cannot let it go.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you two posts I saw on my real-me Facebook page. One is from a die-hard Proggie and the other from a #NeverTrumper. Both are people whom I’ve known for decades, so I can attest to the fact that they have jobs (one of them, indeed, is a leader in his field), they have families, they have friends, and they manage their lives with reasonable skill.

They’re also completely delusional. Here’s the Proggie’s take on what we know to date about the Mueller report:

Just remember that the report says there was not enough PROOF to prove collusion at this time.

He is still a criminal.
He is still a liar, cheat and fraud.
He is still a horrible person.

Not enough proof? At this time?! Let’s talk about what 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, and all their support staff did for two years (and here I’m quoting from the Barr letter): They “issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.”

And after all that effort, here’s what Barr summarizes as the Special Counsel’s findings on collusion:

The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Do you see any language there about “not enough proof at this time,” because I sure don’t. Or how about in this paragraph about Russian efforts at sowing disinformation:

As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.

Again, I’m not seeing any hedging statement saying, “The Special Counsel thought there was something there, but damned if he could find any proof after those 2,800 plus subpoenas, after reviewing God alone knows how many documents, and after talking to approximately 500 people.”

That’s just disinformation, though. What about the computer hacking? Surely that’s where my Proggie friend saw language about “not enough proof at this time.” Hmmm, not so much:

But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.

This wasn’t a case of “not enough proof.” As Barr summarizes it, this was a case of NO PROOF. NADA. ZILCH. NOTHING.

There was no proof whatsoever that anyone in the Trump campaign, from Trump on down, did anything wrong with regard to the Russians. Indeed, reading between the lines, blame can only go to one place for Russian behavior vis-a-vis the 2016 election: The Obama administration, which failed to (did it even try to?) stop the Russians.

But facts are irrelevant. My Proggie friend is in the Stygian depths of Trump Derangement Syndrome. He’s in the political equivalent of that hospital basement with my Mom, sewing clothes for nurses to sell through their hospital computers. He can no longer distinguish reality from his fantasy. The fact that the Special Counsel’s efforts, aided by a team of die-hard Hillary supporting Democrat attorneys, couldn’t find diddly-squat to tie Trump to collusion is meaningless. He has hardwired himself to a fantasy and cannot let it go.

And then there’s the #NeverTrumper. . . . He was absolutely horrified that Trump said that the people in government who pushed the collusion story had done a very bad thing — indeed, a treasonous thing — and that he intended to look into their conduct. Here’s what the Proggie had to say:

He should be thankful for possibly dodging a bullet but instead he seems to want to demonstrate he is unfit for office (as the National Review once wrote – any office, even Travis County dog catcher…)

Huh? Did I just understand this man to say that someone who has just been exonerated entirely (go back to the Barr quotes) should be grateful that he “dodg[ed] a bullet”? What bullet? Is the #NeverTrumper saying Trump should be grateful that he survived a treasonous cabal of political operatives anxious to hang onto power, aided by a Special Counsel staff composed entirely of his political enemies, all trying to stage a coup that successfully wiped out the 2016 election? That bullet?

I don’t think that’s what my #NeverTrump buddy is arguing. I think he’s arguing that, despite the most thorough exoneration in American political history, Trump’s lucky he didn’t get caught . . . doing whatever nefarious hallucination is winding around like some tapeworm in the #NeverTrumper’s delirious imaginings. No wonder, then, that this #NeverTrumper thinks that Trump, an innocent man, is “unfit for office” because he stated that he intends to bring justice to those who almost succeeded in carrying out the first true political coup in American history.

My mother’s excuse was that she had an aged brain. All of us who are aging can look at her and think “there but for the grace of God go I.”

It’s different when it comes to the people who wrote those ludicrous statements, both of which are untethered to explicit and undisputed facts. These permanently sundowning Proggies and #NeverTrumpers who proudly display their hallucinations for all to see on Twitter and Facebook, and in MSM articles and TV shows, can’t claim age-related dementia. They’re in the primes of their lives.

Instead, like drug addicts, they did this to themselves. They’ve wallowed for years in unwholesome, destructive, dishonest, and deranged fantasies, and now they’re trapped in a state of permanent sundowning, completely unable to distinguish their sick fantasies from reality.

And if that analogy doesn’t work for you, I’ve got one more, from the late, great C.S. Lewis. If you’re a C.S. Lewis fan, you may remember a scene from The Last Battle, his parable about the Apocalypse. In that scene, although the dwarfs have survived Aslan’s judgment which allows some eternal life while consigning others to perdition, they are unable to appreciate their good fortune. Even though the dwarfs are sitting in a glorious sunlit field, they are convinced that they are in a dark and dirty shed. And when Aslan places a feast before them, they perceive it as disgusting refuse that they trample into the dirt as they fight each other.

Do I need to say more? It’s enough to know that, like my mother in the hospital cellar, those in the grips of Trump Derangement Syndrome are forever mired in a dark, smelly stable, eating dirt.

The post The end of Russian collusion reveals entrenched Leftist delusions appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.