Category Archives: obstruction

The Inaugural Bookworm Room Podcast — plus the debates, Mueller, and obstruction

Check out the first Bookworm Room Podcast — or read its contents here: Marianne Williamson’s Leftism, Mueller’s picture, and Trump’s non-obstruction.

I finally did it — after literally mulling the matter over (not in the Joe Biden sense, but quite literally) for at least a decade, I finally decided to start a podcast. For years, I’ve said that my dream job is to talk about things that interest me. Here, at my blog, I’ve spent 15 years writing about things that interest me, but talking about them is different. It uses a different part of my brain.

I’ve been waiting a lifetime for someone to pay me to talk. I finally realized that, with podcasts, I can start talking and then see if someone pays me. And even if no one pays me, there’s nothing to stop me from talking.

It wasn’t just the fact that this idea has been in my head for so long that got me started. Instead, I decided that the universe was trying to speak to me.

Last week, I visited with my father’s oldest friend. My father and mother are long gone, but the friend is still around, and I’ve sort of inherited him. He’s 99 now and was fortunate enough to end up with a wonderful caregiver. She’s an L.A. hippie, earth mother type, with Tammy Faye Baker makeup and a heart as big as the world. Everyone Lyra* meets is as a friend and my honorary uncle (for that’s how we treated him when we were children) is in better condition than he’s been in years. At 99, though, my honorary uncle is losing his memory a bit. I therefore spoke with him about stories I remember my dad telling us.

About halfway through the lunch, Lyra suddenly announced, “You know, normally when someone talks as much as you do….”

I froze, blushed hard, and apologized. Lyra was having none of it.

“No, no. What I was going to say is that, usually when someone talks as much as you do, my eyes are just rolling into the back of my head and I tune them out. You’re so interesting, though, I could listen to you forever. You really need to do a YouTube.”

I decided that Lyra was the voice of the universe, nudging me — finally — to act on something I’ve long yearned to do.

I’ve embedded below the link to my first podcast. It’s not too long (about 13 minutes) and, be warned, it is the beginning of the learning curve. I spent about 5 hours working on those 13 minutes, which is why I couldn’t bear to ditch it and decided, instead, to publish it. Next time, it will take less time and be better. I’ll be more fluid, cover more topics, have better audio inserts, etc.

For those who prefer reading, don’t worry: I fully intend to keep blogging. It is, after all, reading has always been my first love. The only thing that got me started listening to podcasts was the fact that, when my joints went and martial arts was no longer do-able, I started to walk for exercise and podcasts were the only things that kept me from going crazy with boredom. Also, on my recent journeys crisscrossing the U.S., podcasts have been a great way to while away 8-10 hour long driving days. There’s only so much Tejano music you can listen to (no matter where I was, my radio seemed to seek out Tejano music).

So, here’s the podcast (or, if your ad-blocker hides it, here’s a link). Scroll down a little, and you can read a full discussion of the topics I covered:

I start by explaining why I decided to do podcasts, along with introducing my dog, “Killer,” who will help provide color commentary. I then point out that Elizabeth Warren has gone off the deep end by insisting that America de-criminalize our borders:

Combine that with her demands for socialized medicine (plus every other pander she offers) and America is suddenly gone: No borders, no money.

But for sheer irritating craziness, there’s nothing like Marianne Williamson. At first glance, she sounds fun and funny, with all her spiritual gobbledy-gook:

There are two things, though, that keep her from being laughable. First, the audience ate it up, which means that she’s red meat for the base. Second, when you look at Williamson’s actual policies and cut away all the spiritual cover, she’s nothing but a garden variety Leftist, advancing the same policies as all the other candidates. For example, here’s the opening paragraph of her issues page on Climate Change, followed by her policy prescriptions, which come a few paragraphs later. The first paragraph is L.A. loon; the prescriptions are Warren-esque or Bernie-esque:

Every problem can be traced to a lack of devotion to things that matter most, and nowhere is this truer than in our relationship to the earth. Humanity’s spiritual disconnection from nature is at the heart of our climate crisis, and reminding ourselves of our moral responsibility to respect and protect the earth will resolve it.

[snip]

Beginning with the appointment of a world-class environmentalist rather than a fossil fuel or chemical company executive (as is now the case) to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, I would fundamentally reverse the current misuse of the EPA, whereby it serves mainly the cause of profit maximization for fossil fuel and chemical companies, and return it to its original mission of protection and advocacy on behalf of our natural environment. The full powers of the executive branch of the US government would be put in service to this effort.

As president, I would immediately re-enter the Paris Climate Accords — while simultaneously working to expand talks to push for even more meaningful and enforceable agreements. In 2015, we were one of 195 countries to support this important agreement on Climate Change. We should not only re-enter, but also lead a new push for the global transition to reduce and even sequester existing carbon from the atmosphere. Our urgent goal is not just to hold temperature increases as close as possible to where they are now, but instead to reverse global warming back to more long-term sustainable levels. The current Paris Accords don’t go far enough, they may help stem off the worst of the worst consequences, but what we need to be aiming for is to restore health. We must put our full efforts behind continuing a global push to come into alignment on more robust goals and make the agreements enforceable, which they are currently not.

[snip]

Furthermore, fossil fuel companies not only pollute our air and water, damage our health and accelerate global warming, they have also polluted our political system for far too long. As the result of energy industry lobbying and campaign contributions, the federal government supports the use of fossil fuels and hands out massive tax breaks and subsidies to companies that are already among the most profitable in the world. U.S. fossil fuel producing companies rake in hundreds of billions in revenue every year, with huge profit margins, yet the U.S. ranks the worst of all G7 countries by subsidizing fossil fuels the most—over $26-billion a year.

[snip]

When it comes to energy, we must:

Expand investments in clean, green energy.

Reduce CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Mirror ambitious, but realistic, efforts in the State of California. This Nation needs to set a goal to transition to cleaner energy as quickly as possible. This will send a message to the US market, large businesses, and utilities.

Reinstate and expand energy and mileage efficiency investments. Conserving energy and making the most of our resources should not be a partisan issue. It is good for everyone. Our scientists and businesses are ready to help lead these efforts, but strong national leadership is essential.

Extend federal incentives and rebates for renewable energy.

Transition away from fossil fuel energy and halt all new fossil fuel projects. We must eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies and instead make massive investments in, and provide subsidies for, clean green solutions.

[snip]

When it comes to transportation:

Fossil Fuel Vehicles: By 2035 we will phase out the sales of new fossil-fuel vehicles. By 2050 we will remove fossil fuel burning vehicles from our roads. We may consider an exception for historical vehicles, schools and museums for educational purposes.

Electric Vehicles: We will accelerate the production of Electric Vehicles, invest in charging infrastructure, and continue efforts to maximize fuel efficiency until we can move away from internal combustion engines. All parking spaces on either private or public land would have to have access to electric charging stations by 2035.

Heavy-duty trucks: Will either use electricity or more sustainable bio-fuels by 2035. All diesel vehicles will be retired by 2050.

Railways: We will require electrification of all railways by 2030, both passenger and freight.

Public Transportation: We will also deploy federal transportation funds to fully empower our cities’ public mass transit systems and walkable and bikeable communities.

Airplanes: All new airplanes would have to use either hydrogen or bio-fuels by 2035.

Williamson is like a communist Wizard of Oz: Pay no attention to the communist woman behind the curtain and just gaze in awe on the wacky spiritualist spouting anodyne New Age wackiness. I consider her quite frightening precisely because too many people find her amusing. (You can see the same hard Leftism when you look at her other issues.)

From Williamson, I transitioned to Robert Mueller. Yeah, yeah, I know that was so last week, but I spent last week in a car and, by day’s end, was too tired to write. I did listen to podcasts and news shows, though, so I know that a lot of people, including conservatives, found Mueller to be rather pathetic. They felt sorry for him as he stumbled for answers and appeared befuddled at times. Even assuming that Mueller was just a rubber stamp without first hand knowledge about the investigation, he still seemed lost.

I did not feel at all sorry for him. To me, Robert Mueller is Dorian Gray. As you may recall from high school or college English class, the eponymous character in Oscar Wilde’s famous novel was a debauched creature who never aged, but always looked fresh, young, and handsome. It turned out that, hidden away in his attic, he had a portrait that faithfully recorded what age and debauchery were doing to him, creating a face that was a repulsive image of a morally damaged human being.

Mueller has managed to maintain an image for rectitude that is inconsistent with a man whose career has been highlighted by crude, brutal efforts to use his prosecutorial power to destroy those people he thought were guilty, regardless of the merits of his case against them, or to destroy people he believed were not sufficiently helping his case. He’s overseen wrongful imprisonments and tattered reputations, and bankrupted more people than I can count. He has an ugly soul and it — his portrait — was on display before the nation last week.

The last point I made also concerned the hearings. Deprived of “Russian collusion,” the Democrats harped endlessly on “obstruction.” Putting aside the fact that it’s not a prosecutor’s job to announce that someone is not not-guilty, there’s the little fact that the investigators in this case were manifestly part of the coup aimed at bringing down a duly elected president of the United States. While innocent people can obstruct justice by interfering with a valid criminal investigation — because we want to encourage people to help honest cops — no one should have to assist with his own destruction at the hands of a coup. Moreover, Mueller at least had the decency to admit that, despite his fulminations, Trump in fact obstructed nothing:

And that was my podcast.

Please check it out and let me know if you’d be willing to listen to it again or if you think others, those less inclined to read than you are, might listen to it. Also, provided that you’re not mean about it, I’d love any constructive criticism you have to offer . . . or maybe you should hold off on the criticism until I’ve got a few more podcasts under my belt and have ironed out the worst of the amateur glitches.
_________________________
* Not her real name.

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The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump

Officially, Mueller investigated Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction. We now know that there was collusion and obstruction — but not by Trump.

The investigation into Trump’s campaign began with the ludicrous hearsay (in some cases, multiple levels of hearsay) allegations compiled by Michael Steele, paid for by the DNC, provided to the FBI before the 2016 election, and briefed to every major media outlet as part of an “October surprise” that failed to derail Trump.  It is worth quickly reviewing what those allegations were.  To summarize the charges in the original Buzzfeed “report”:

  1.  Trump was a Russian intelligence asset who had been working for Russian intelligence for at least seven years.
  2. Trump, who had no business interests in Russia, was being paid in Russian prostitutes for his services.
  3. Russian intelligence has a tape of Trump inviting prostitutes to his hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow and so they could perform a “golden shower” on the bed.
  4. Trump was handling the payment of Russian assets in New York through a complicated money laundering scheme.
  5. Trump coordinated with Russian intelligence through Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and his private attorney, Michael Cohen.
  6. Carter Page’s business trip to Russia in 2016 was cover for a meeting with Russian intelligence.
  7. The Trump campaign coordinated with Russia for the release of DNC emails hacked by Russian intelligence.  Papadopoulos admitted to knowing this information in near real time, before it was made public by the DNC.
  8. Michael Cohen was subject to Russian influence through his Russian wife (she is not Russian, by the way).  Cohen traveled to Prague to coordinate with Russian intel on behalf of Trump once Russian involvement in the campaign became public knowledge.

All involved denied those allegations. Moreover, Mueller’s $30 million-plus, two year-plus investigation either affirmatively disproved them or was unable to find any facts that might prove them.  None are supported in the Mueller Report.  And indeed, Mueller makes only passing reference to the Steele Dossier.

Now recall that, once it became apparent that the Steele Dossier did not provide probable cause for anything, because all of its wild allegations were affirmatively false or incapable of proof, a story appeared in the NYT  on Dec. 30, 2017, based on a leak, that the investigation was warranted because Papadopoulos in fact knew of the theft of DNC emails before that theft was made public.

There’s only one problem with the NYT’s “bombshell of the moment”: Reviewing the FBI affidavit that supports charging Papadopoulos with the crime of lying to investigators, it is readily apparent that Papadopoulos had said nothing at all that tied the hacked DNC emails to Russia. As I wrote at the time, anyone paying attention to the Hillary email scandal suspected that Hillary’s emails had long before been hacked by foreign intelligence from her time as Secretary of State.

Yet, “even in the FBI’s indictment against Papadopoulos for lying, the “FBI” seems to go the extra mile not to clarify precisely which emails Papadopoulos was talking about.”  In other words, the FBI was assuming without reasonable justification, that Papadopoulos was talking about the Wikileaks emails, not her emails from Secretary of State. The implication then, is that Papadopoulos was in on the Russian hack into the DNC, which he knew about before it went public, rather than his referring to Hillary’s own unsecured server.”

And that factually unsupported indictment was the basis for three years of investigating Trump and placing a millstone around his ability to execute his duties as president?

I wrote the above quoted paragraph when the NYT published its December 30, 2017 report. Since then, the Mueller Report did nothing at all to challenge my conclusions. And today retired DOJ attorney Andrew McCarthy sums up what was really going on — The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses:

There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer, whom he famously met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London on May 6, 2016.

The claim that Papadopoulos made such a statement is a fabrication, initially founded on what, at best, was a deeply flawed assumption by Downer, the Australian diplomat.

On July 22, 2016, the eve of the Democratic National Convention and two months after Downer met with Papadopoulos, WikiLeaks began disseminating to the press the hacked DNC emails. From this fact, Downer drew the unfounded inference that the hacked emails must have been what Papadopoulos was talking about when he said Russia had damaging information about Clinton.

Downer’s assumption was specious, for at least four reasons.

1) In speaking with Downer, Papadopoulos never mentioned emails. Neither Downer nor Papadopoulos has ever claimed that Papadopoulos spoke of emails.

2) Papadopoulos did not tell Downer that Russia was planning to publish damaging information about Clinton through an intermediary. There is no allegation in the Mueller report that Mifsud ever told Papadopoulos any such thing, much less that Papadopoulos relayed it to Downer. Mueller’s report says:

Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with high-level Russian government officials during his recent trip to Moscow. Mifsud also said that, on the trip, he learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton. As Papadopoulos later stated to the FBI, Mifsud said that the “dirt” was in the form of “emails of Clinton,” and that they “have thousands of emails.”

(Vol. I, p. 89 & n. 464). In neither the Mueller report nor the “Statement of the Offense” that Mueller filed in connection with Papadopoulos’s plea (pp. 6–7) have prosecutors claimed that Mifsud told Papadopoulos what Russia was planning to do with the “dirt,” much less why. And, to repeat, Mifsud denied telling Papadopoulos anything about emails; Mueller never alleged that Mifsud’s denial was false.

3) Papadopoulos says the emails he claims Mifsud referred to were not the DNC emails; they were Clinton’s own emails. That is, when Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud told him that Russia had “dirt” in the form of “thousands” of “emails of Clinton,” he understood Mifsud to be alluding to the thousands of State Department and Clinton Foundation emails that Clinton had stored on a private server. These, of course, were the emails that were being intensively covered in the media (including speculation that they might have been hacked by hostile foreign intelligence services) at the time Mifsud and Papadopoulos spoke – i.e., April 2016, when neither Mifsud nor Papadopoulos had any basis to know anything about hacked DNC emails. . . .

The State Department and the FBI Distort What Papadopoulos ‘Suggested’

Downer’s flawed assumption that Papadopoulos must have been referring to the hacked DNC emails was then inflated into a Trump-Russia conspiracy theory by Clinton partisans in the Obama administration — first at the State Department, and then in the Justice Department, the FBI, and the broader intelligence community — all agencies in which animus against Donald Trump ran deep.

There is much more, so I would suggest that you read McCarthy’s entire article.  The main takeaway is that the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause before law enforcement can conduct the type of investigation launched against Trump and his associates. In the absence of probable cause, the Trump investigation was unlawful — a political dirty trick that broke the law, involved misuse of the police power of government on a scale not seen outside a police state, and resulted in a scandal that dwarfs the facts of Watergate.  It also makes the push to punish Trump for “obstructing” this investigation utterly surreal.

If you want to see obstruction in action, look today at what the Left is doing to try and savage Barr and Trump.  Rep. Jerry Nadler has scheduled a vote of contempt against AG Barr for failing to appear before the House Judicial Committee.  Virtually every Democrat is screaming to the rafters that AG Barr lied to Congress and now needs to resign.

Then there is Jim Comey, who is also criticizing Barr.  Let’s not forget him because, if the facts are as I suspect they may be, he is dirty as the day is long.  This from Victor Davis Hanson today:

Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future—if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.

Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.

Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed. . . .

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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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President Trump is the “dayenu” president

No matter how imperfect Trump is, looking at his record of accomplishments, as to each one I say the Passover word “dayenu” — it would have been enough.

During the Passover dinner, one of the songs Jewish families sing is Dayenu. It is in the nature of a “count your blessings song,” with the song reciting each of God’s miracles during the Exodus and, after every verse reciting “dayenu,” which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” Growing up,  I considered this song one of the best parts of the proceedings. I was in good company, for Jews have been singing Dayenu for around one thousand years.

The song consists of three groups of praise for God’s miracles. The first group recites the miracles that challenged Pharaoh, the second recites the miracles that were the Exodus itself, and the third recites the miracles of being with God and getting the Ten Commandants during the forty years in the wilderness. Chabad provides a nice version of the lyrics in  both English and Hebrew:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the ShabbatDayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash) Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ

So you can get a sense of the melody, here is the Maccabeats’ charming version of the song (although when we were kids we perked up rather than collapsing during the song):

The point of the song, obviously, is not to get greedy, but to be grateful for whatever gifts or miracles come your way. God doesn’t need cumulative miracles to prove His greatness and the debt Jews owe Him. Each little thing He did, standing alone, would have been enough.

So what’s this got to do with Trump? Well, let me first assure you that I am not likening Trump to God. He is no God. He is, instead, a very imperfect man, but one who nevertheless has taken a series of steps that, even if each stands alone, is a reminder why a Trump presidency is so much better than the Hillary alternative.

The genesis for this thought came about because I got an email from a very dear friend, one whom I respect more than you can imagine, who is baffled by my fondness for Trump. Before the Mueller report, he saw Trump as a crude buffoon. Since the Mueller report, he sees him as a dangerously corrupt individual. Worse, he sees Trump as way less successful than a good Republican president should be. As readers of this blog know, I’ve come to hold Trump in quite high esteem. Thinking about how to explain my esteem to my friend, I came up with the “dayenu” meter.

To begin with, remember that America’s choice in November 2016 was completely binary: Hillary or Trump. So we’re not measuring Trump against some perfect Republican candidate; we’re measuring Trump against Hillary, who was committed to continuing the Obama administration, although with the addition of the Clintons’ unique brand of financial corruption. It is in that context that I look at what Trump has done. (As an aside, I would argue, as Wolf Howling already has, that Trump is proving to be an extraordinary conservative president who, only halfway through his first term, can measure up even to Ronaldus Magnus.)

Also, regarding what Trump has not done, or not yet done, I never lose track of the fact that, for two-and-a-half years, Trump has been contending with the weight of an entirely false accusation that he entered into a conspiracy with Russia to keep Hillary from the White House. (Incidentally, that’s why Trump said he was “f**ked* when he realized the immensity of this whole Russia collusion hoax. He wasn’t saying, “Oh, my God, the jig is up! I’m going to jail.” He was saying, “Oh, my God, this will paralyze my effectiveness as a president.”)

So here’s my dayenu recital for Trump:

If Trump had merely presided over a booming economy, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that it wasn’t his policies that made the change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely lowered taxes, even if one accepts Leftists talking points that lower taxes didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely massively cut regulations, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that lessening the government’s stranglehold over businesses didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over minorities seeing the best economic years of their lives, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that Trump didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely appointed two conservative Supreme Court justices, even though the remaining Leftists Supreme Court justices show no sign of vacating their seats — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely put dozens of strict constructionists in federal appellate and district courts, even though enough Leftist judges remain to thwart many of his policies — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely taken seriously and worked hard to address American’s concerns about illegal aliens flooding our southern border security, even though the Democrats’ have successfully hamstrung Trump through Leftists activist judges — Dayenu. (Don’t get me started on Congress’s failure to act on the southern border when Republicans controlled both houses. Just don’t get me started.)

If Trump had merely shifted the long-standing, failed paradigm that saw the US sending no-strings (or almost no-strings) money to North Korea and, instead, offered Kim Jong-un a carrot and stick approach to abandoning North Korea’s nuclear program, even though Kim recently conducted a rocket test and talked to Putin — Dayenu. (I’m not worried about Kim allying with Putin, because he’s always been allied with communist regimes; I think his recent posturing, including that rocket test, is just that — posturing intended to keep his own worst enemies, the ones inside his regime, at bay.)

If Trump had merely defeated ISIS on the battlefield, even though radical Islamism remains a worldwide scourge — Dayenu. (You have to start defeating radical Islamists somewhere, especially because it’s the nature of Islam to respect a strong horse and want to gut and devour a weak one.)

If Trump had merely walked out of the illegal Kyoto Accord, which was set to deplete the American economy while propping up the hyper-polluting Chinese economy, even though his administration is still paying some lip service to the cult of climate change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely supported a reinvigorated American oil, gas, and coal sector, which will bring employment to vast numbers of people and lower product prices for everyone, even though the climatistas are up in arms — Dayenu. (I have long believed that “renewables” cannot provide First World energy needs. Forcing America onto renewables will return us to a pre-industrial time which, while pastoral, was deadly and uncomfortable. The answer is to use our technology to make cleaner-burning fossil fuels and, if Scott Adams is correct, to turn to Generation IV nuclear reactors, which are completely safe and will burn up existing nuclear waste.)

If Trump had merely withdrawn from the illegal Iran Deal — which propped up the mullahs and funded world-wide terrorism — and instead reimposed economic sanctions on Iran, even though the mullahs are still rattling sabers and making trouble — Dayenu. (Nobody expected the mullahs to collapse the instant Trump undid that vile deal; it’s enough that he undid it and is starting to reapply pressure on a very shaky regime.)

If Trump had merely reinvigorated the American military by pouring more funds into it and by ending the habit of treating it as a social justice experiment, even though doing so hurts the feelings of transgender people — Dayenu. (The military exists to protect our nation, not to make people feel good about themselves.)

If Trump had merely put the screws to China’s predatory trade practices, which have been depleting the American economy for decades, in such a way that China appears to be backing down, even though people on the Left and the Right are now saying all tariffs are bad — Dayenu. (I believe in free trade, but free trade works only if there isn’t cheating. Moreover, while many claim that things will eventually right themselves if left alone, that’s a fine thing to say to one or two generations of Americans who are economically destroyed by China’s unfair trade practices, which include intellectual piracy, slave labor, and government underwriting in the marketplace. This “dayenu,” incidentally, also goes to the new trade deals Trump negotiated with other nations.)

If Trump had merely managed to de-fang most of Obamacare, which was a drag on the economy and which destroyed people’s relationships with their physicians while doing nothing to improve the delivery of medical care in America, even thought the vicious, unprincipled John McCain did everything he could to block Trump’s efforts — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely proved to be the staunchest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, or certainly the staunchest friend since Reagan, and implemented policies that are putting a stop to the Palestinians’ non-stop, bad faith demands, even as the whole Democrat Party is turning increasingly anti-Semitic — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over a Department of Education that withdrew the “Dear Colleague” letter that turned already Leftist campus administrations into fanatically man-hating entities that destroyed young men without due process and on the merest threads of accusations, even though . . . I don’t know what “even though” clause could be used here — DAYENU!

If Trump had merely threatened to withdraw federal funds from institutions of (ostensibly) higher education that squash free speech, even though . . . heck! There is no “even though” here either.  DAYENU!

If Trump had merely shown fearlessness in the face of stifling, Leftist political correctness, thereby freeing other Americans to speak honestly, even though . . . what’s the downside here? None. DAYENU!

I could go on all day with this. Trump is rude, crude, bumptious, impulsive, cold-blooded, combative, etc. I see that. I also see that he’s incredibly funny, that he has a wonderful knack for making Leftists reveal their true colors, and that his initiatives, even if imperfect or ultimately ineffective, nevertheless have shifted paradigms at home and abroad in ways that are important to and beneficial for America.

As far as I can tell, the worst thing that Trump has left completely unfixed and unaddressed — and something that is a dangerous time bomb that could destroy America — is the $21 trillion national debt, which skyrocketed under Obama and has continued to rise under Trump. This is unsustainable and we need to work hard and fast to bring government spending down even as we hope that the soaring economy will help increase tax revenues to pay off that debt.

Also, while I’m on the subject, I want to address the Mueller report’s statement that Trump refused to let Mueller interview him and the allegation that Trump played with the idea of dismissing Mueller and, while he eventually did not do so, asked White House counsel to lie about the fact that he even contemplated that dismissal.

First, the undoubted fact that Trump refused to allow Mueller to interview him: No sane attorney would have allowed Mueller anywhere near his client. We saw with General Flynn that the Mueller approach was to trip people up on small, inconsequential details, and then use those trip-ups to prosecute them for perjury in the hope of squeezing more out of them. It was Mueller’s version of the torture Torquemada used during the Spanish inquisition.T

Just think for a moment about the fact that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he was trying to tell the truth, but that he didn’t remember something they knew only because of their spying. Despite Flynn’s manifestly honest intentions, and the fact that he did not committed any of the crimes for which he was being investigated, Mueller destroyed Flynn professionally and financially, and finally brought Flynn to heel by threatening Flynn’s family.

Imagine what would have happened if Mueller, with all the information available to him through Obama-era spying, had gotten his talons into Trump. The only way to protect Trump was (a) to demand that Trump respond only to written interrogatories that could be carefully reviewed with an attorney and (b) to have Trump in those interrogatory responses denying remembering anything as to which he did not have absolutely perfect recall. To do otherwise would have thrown Trump into the maw of the new American Stasi.

I’m equally unimpressed with the allegation that, according to White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump wanted to fire Mueller, backed down on that desire, and then instructed his attorney to lie. It’s meant to show that Trump had evil in his heart, even though he didn’t fire Mueller, and then he tried to make his attorney complicit in that evil. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, we only have Don McGahn’s word for this. Trump was never asked about his side. The due process protections of examination and cross-examination are missing, making this pure hearsay from an attorney who had witnessed how Mueller destroyed the lives of those who didn’t cooperate with him. In that way, his testimony was probably as honest as any testimony coming from one of Torquemada’s victims.

Second, I can tell you as an attorney with decades under my belt that clients, when talking to their attorneys, often ask, “Can we do X?” or “Can we do Y?” with X and Y being either stupid or against the law. By the way, please remember that things can be against the law even if they’re not morally wrong. One of the scary things about today’s over-legislated and over-regulated world is that it’s impossible for us to know what the law is, making us sitting ducks for zealous or biased prosecutors. The fact that Trump didn’t know his suggestion couldn’t fly means nothing.

Once client asks such a question (“can we do X?”), the attorney’s role is to be extra cautious to protect the client. This may mean drawing lines that the attorney recommends the client not cross. When you have a bulldog client such as Trump, you, as the attorney, may have to take a strong stand to show that you’re not joking about the fact that something that seems logical and moral is still illegal: “No, you can’t do that, and if you insist on doing it, I’ll have to quit as your counsel.”

If that thread is indeed what McGahn had to make, Trump then did what 99% of clients do: He backed down and McGahn remained as his attorney. But Trump is in a unique class. Rather than this back-and-forth staying confidential, so that no one knows what ideas a client had before behaving perfectly legally, his attorney spilled the beans, making Trump look uniquely evil rather than completely ordinary.

One more thing about Trump’s query about firing Mueller, if he indeed did make that query: To the extent Trump knew he was being framed, it was quite reasonable for him to wonder if he could stop a baseless witch hunt intended to invalidate an American election.

Third, keep in mind that we’re dealing with exceptionally humorless people here. I sure you remember how, on the campaign trail, Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Sane people immediately recognized that Trump was making a humorous riff about the fact that Hillary’s blatant, grossly illegal security violations meant that the Russians had almost certainly been in possession of her emails for years.

Insane people — and that means the entire Left — insisted that Trump had the brazen effrontery to demand in public that Putin collude with him to hack Hillary’s already hacked emails. When you remember that Mueller’s attack dogs were all die-hard Democrat establishment members, you start to wonder, as I do, it’s entirely possible that Trump made an obvious joke to McGahn (“Hey, remember not to tell Mueller I wanted to fire his humorless little ass”).

So, yeah, I’m totally unimpressed by Mueller’s obstruction drama. And if you’d like more reasons to be unimpressed, I recommend watching this Mark Levin video on the subject:

Finally, if you’re interested in a stellar analysis of Trump — warts and all — as well as an explanation for why every American should find appalling the behavior of the bureaucratic caste arrayed against him, I highly recommend this Victor Davis Hanson interview, every minute of which is entertaining and informative (hat tip: Maggie’s Farm):

The post President Trump is the “dayenu” president appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one

Jim Comey is now claiming his firing was obstruction of justice.  Apparently, Comey must hear those “walls [that were supposed to be] closing in” on Trump.
By Wolf Howling

Jim Comey was part and parcel of several events that could end up with him in prison.  One was the DOJ / FBI cover-up of crimes by Hillary Clinton under the cover of an ostensible investigation.  That cover-up almost certainly involved the crime of spoliation of evidence.  Next was his involvement in the FISA abuse predicated on the unverified Steele dossier.  Lastly, there was his release of potentially classified information to the person whom he employed to leak his anti-Trump screed to the NYT.

Those are just the things we know in the public domain.  So it’s no surprise that Comey, a man who has been silent of late, apparently felt like a man lost in the woods . . .

. . . when his carefully choreographed effort to give Trump the Lavrentiy Beria treatment (show me the man, I’ll find you the crime) ended with Robert Mueller’s complete exoneration of President Trump on charges of collusion with Russia and punting the decision on obstruction of justice back to the DOJ.  They have since decided.  Comey knows how this goes.  No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

To quote Scooby Doo, “Ruh-Roh.”

And thus it was no surprise to find Comey on NBC Nightly News pushing the canard that Trump’s decision to fire Comey was in fact obstruction of justice:

FBI Director James Comey said in an interview Wednesday that President Trump may have obstructed justice in his decision to fire him.

Comey’s remarks came via a clip from his NBC Nightly News interview, during which Lester Holt brought the conversation back to early May 2017, when Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing, Comey spoke on a variety of topics, including the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

“But you declined to answer questions specifically about evidence of collusion at that point. A couple days later, you’re fired,” Holt said.

“A few days after that, I sit down with President Trump,” he continued. “He says, ‘when I decided to just do it,’ talking about firing you, ‘I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.’ What did you think when you heard that?”

Comey replied: “I thought that’s potentially obstruction of justice and I hope somebody is going to look at that.”

A swing and a miss, but it’s all Comey has left.  Now its someone else’s turn at bat.  This today from Fox:

President Trump was enthusiastic about the idea of appointing a second special counsel to review the origins of the Russia investigation when it came up during a meeting Tuesday with Republican senators, a source familiar with the discussions told Fox News.

The president was specifically reacting to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call for another special counsel as well as the senator’s vow to look into issues like the alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act at the dawn of the Russia probe. The source told Fox News that the president seemed excited about that course during a Senate GOP lunch on Capitol Hill, which Graham and other senators attended.

All I can say is it’s about time.

To date, the collusion narrative has resulted in enough criminal activity (filing of false reports, FISA warrants, unmasking) and likely perjury (Christopher Steele to the FBI, Glenn Simpson to the House) to more than justify appointment of a special Counsel.  Since we now know definitively that there was no “collusion” on the part of Trump or anyone associated with him, that leaves the question of whether this was an outrageous and unlawful political dirty trick designed to throw the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton, then  afterwards, to destroy Trump’s Presidency, in essence overturning the results of the 2016 election.

In that spirit Sharyl Attkisson has listed The Many Unanswered Questions About the Trump Investigation she would like answered.

If, in the end, Mueller found no convincing evidence that Americans colluded with Russia, how did top current and former U.S. intel officials supposedly become so convinced otherwise?  In fact, one might ask, were they really convinced, or were they promulgating a narrative they knew was at best unproven and quite possibly false?

How and why did ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele come to meet with certain Russian sources close to President Vladimir Putin in 2016, as they supposedly passed on the wildest sort of rumors about Trump, which Steele then wrote up in his “dossier” for Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS?

Did these Russian sources, Steele, and Simpson conspire to influence the 2016 campaign?

How did the former UK ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood, learn about the “dossier,” and how was it that he then told Sen. John McCain and McCain’s onetime adviser David Kramer about it as they attended a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in November 2016?  Did this contact qualify as an additional foreign attempt to influence our election?

Who at the FBI and Justice Department believed that the dossier, funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign, passed the credibility test without even minimal verification?

Who further determined that the dossier merited inclusion as evidence in an application to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page?

Who thought it was a valid idea to continue to wiretap Page, time after time after time, as if he were a Russian agent, while they apparently turned up no evidence that he was?

Did any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges question the FBI’s relentless pursuit of Carter Page and the dragnet the wiretaps allowed them to secretly cast for those around him, including, quite possibly, Trump?

Who was behind the campaign of anti-Trump leaks—frequently including false information—that became ubiquitous in the news media?

Who worked to make the entire false conspiracy theory about Russia colluding with Trump or the Trump campaign dominate our news and political landscape day in and day out?

What does it say about the judgment of some of our one-time top intel officials if they really believed Trump colluded with Russia? This includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and former ambassador Samantha Power.

What other mistakes did they make, and what actions did they take based on any such mistakes?

Were any of the “unmaskings” of American citizens by these intel officials in 2016 politically motivated?

[Samantha] Power reportedly told Congress that many of the hundreds of “unmasking” requests made in her name in 2016 were not made by her. It should be simple to track where those requests originated and who signed her name to them. Has anybody attempted to learn who committed this alleged national security crime?

What did the Justice Department ever do about the criminal referral Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made against Steele in January 2018?

What happened to the criminal referral made by the Justice Department inspector general almost a year ago against former FBI official Andrew McCabe over his alleged lying to investigators about his media contacts?

Has anyone been held accountable for the FBI’s supposedly lost or accidentally erased text messages and emails relevant to the investigation?

Were some of those involved in furthering the false Trump–Russia collusion narrative trying to deflect from real crimes or other wrongdoing? If so, what?

Did Mueller’s investigation touch upon or attempt to answer any of these questions as his work led him to conclude that Trump–Russia collusion never happened?

I think that we’d all like those answers.

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