Sunday, March 18, 2018

Russiagate: McCabe Firing Reverberates

A lot of reactions to the McCabe firing. We'll give the first to President Donald Trump:

Not too bad; a little too triumphant, it should be more in sorrow than in hate, but at least it doesn't cast aspersions on the "working class" of the FBI.

Don Surber: McCabe fired
Under McCabe's former boss, Jim Comey, the FBI aided and abetted Missus Clinton's criminal neglect of national security by making state secrets available to any hacker who could get into her unsecured private server.

The swamp is real, the media's attempts to cover-up these crimes is pathetic.
Roger L. Simon:  The Reckoning of the FBI Has Begun
From the FBI and across the intelligence agencies an astonishing number of people are going to find themselves accused, one can safely predict at this point, of some atrocious behavior in a free republic. And it will not just be the small change of Peter Strzok (the dimwitted director of counter-intelligence) and his gal pal Lisa Page. It will include—on one level or another—James Comey, Loretta Lynch, John Brennan, James Clapper, Susan Rice and, almost inevitably, Barack Obama, not to mention others known and unknown.

All these people's reputations will be damaged forever for the pathetic purpose of getting Hillary Clinton elected president and later for their determination to manipulate the FBI and intelligence agencies to wound as severely as possible Trump's presidency. That they didn't stop to think that they might be wounding America at the same time is extraordinarily selfish and nauseating.

Further, that a Russia collusion investigation was employed by these people for their nefarious purposes is darkly ironic because their technique itself reeks of Stalin's NKVD.
After Firing, McCabe Claims He’s A Victim Of Administration’s ‘War On The FBI’
So was this just a big misunderstanding? One former supervisory special agent with the FBI who describes himself as a “fan” of McCabe, says it’s difficult for him to believe the Office of Professional Responsibility, which recommended McCabe firing, is acting politically.
Returning to McCabe’s impending situation, although the timing of the FBI’s recommendation that he be terminated is certainly puzzling, I do not believe an honest observer can say with certainty that it is political.
The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, known as OPR, and Inspection Division are staffed with skilled professionals who could not care less about politics. Their job is to go where the facts lead them, maintain consistency in standards of conduct and hold accountable those who fail to live up to those standards. While we will not know the full facts of this case until the Inspector General’s report is released, and McCabe should be presumed innocent until we are presented with conclusive evidence to the contrary, I suspect OPR weighed the following question: Is it right for the FBI to insist that field agents remain pure and unimpeachable while holding its deputy director, the FBI’s highest-ranking special agent, to a lower standard?
He concludes that while this move may benefit AG Sessions and the White House, that doesn’t automatically prove it’s some kind of partisan setup. Maybe doing the right thing in this case also happens to be the thing the White House wants done. We won’t really know how reasonable this firing was until we see the IG report that prompted it. That report is supposed to be out any day now. But in the meantime, people are already jumping to conclusions about what McCabe’s firing really means.
But wait, like Comey, McCabe has memos, weapon grade memos: Andrew McCabe Issues Ominous Statement After News Of His FiringMcCabe Has Personal Memos About Interactions With Trump. So, will he, like Comey, illegally leak said memos, because I'm sure, like Comey he wrote these as part of the his FBI position, and they belong to the FBI. That could prove amusing. James Comey warns Trump: The American people will 'soon' be able to judge 'who is honorable and who is not'. Well, we already know about you.

Andrew McCabe was just offered a job by a congressman so he can get his full retirement. And it just might work. (H/T to Ann Althouse)
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) announced Saturday afternoon that he has offered McCabe a job to work on election security in his office, “so that he can reach the needed length of service” to retire.

“My offer of employment to Mr. McCabe is a legitimate offer to work on election security,” Pocan said in a statement. “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy and both Republicans and Democrats should be concerned about election integrity.”

A spokeswoman for McCabe, Melissa Schwartz, didn't immediately rule out a job with one of the most liberal members of Congress, which might only need to last for a day or so for him to get his full retirement benefits: “We are considering all options.”
I call that "Conspiracy to Defraud the United States", one of Robert Mueller's favorite crimes.

DERP STATE: Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power tells Trump it’s a bad idea to p*ss off John Brennan.


Trump Lawyer: It’s Time For Bob Mueller To Get Shut Down Like Andrew McCabe Was! I still have some faint hope for fairness from Mueller. Trump: 'Mueller probe should never have been started'

He has a point. Andrew McCarthy has, as usual, an interesting perspective on the Mueller investigation: Mueller’s Investigation Flouts Justice Department Standards Is that what makes him a "Special" Counselor?
. . . Rosenstein, instead, put the cart before the horse: Mueller was invited to conduct a fishing expedition, a boundless quest to hunt for undiscovered crimes, rather than an investigation and prosecution of known crimes.

That deviation, it turns out, is not the half of it. With Rosenstein’s passive approval, Mueller is shredding Justice Department charging policy by alleging earth-shattering crimes, then cutting a sweetheart deal that shields the defendant from liability for those crimes and from the penalties prescribed by Congress. The special counsel, moreover, has become a legislature unto himself, promulgating the new, grandiose crime of “conspiracy against the United States” by distorting the concept of “fraud.”

Why does the special counsel need to invent an offense to get a guilty plea? Why doesn’t he demand a plea to one of the several truly egregious statutory crimes he claims have been committed? . . .
And for all the furor, we may never find out exactly what he was up to:  A Mueller report may never see the light of day Sorry about the long quote, but it's behind WaPo's paywall.
As the media and the public avidly follow the slow reveal of the Mueller investigation, there is a widespread assumption that Mueller will pull it all together into a Starr-like summary. But there are substantial legal barriers to a “Mueller Report,” at least one that would see the light of day.

First, special counsel Mueller is not independent counsel Starr. They were appointed under different authorities, with radically different rules for reporting and disclosure. Starr was required by the independent counsel statute governing his appointment not only to conduct a criminal investigation but also to submit a report to Congress if he found any evidence of impeachable offenses.

However, that statute expired in 1999. Mueller was appointed under the far narrower Justice Department regulation for special counsels that replaced the independent counsel statute. Far from requiring a report to Congress of impeachable offenses, these regulations tightly circumscribe Mueller’s ability to do so.

Section 600.8(c) of the regulations provides that the special counsel shall provide the attorney general with a “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.” If the special counsel finds that “other governmental action outside the criminal justice system might be appropriate,” (presumably, such as impeachment) he is empowered only to “consult with the Attorney General with respect to the appropriate component to take any necessary action.”

How much of the special counsel’s “confidential” report on prosecution or declination decisions, or consultations an impeachment recommendation, might come to light? The regulations provide that the attorney general may release the special counsel’s report if he finds it would “be in the public interest.” But nothing requires him to do so. Moreover, any release must “comply with applicable legal restrictions,” which pose substantial barriers.

The only disclosure the attorney general is required to make, to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees, is if he concludes that “a proposed action by a Special Counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.”

As for Mueller, the regulations forbid him from publicly discussing his findings except as “governed by the generally applicable Departmental guidelines concerning public comment with respect to any criminal investigation” — which generally forbid public comment on closed investigations. (Remember, it was James B. Comey’s unorthodox news conference in the Hillary Clinton email matter that initially formed the basis for his termination as FBI director).

So while Starr was required by statute to forward any findings of impeachable offenses to Congress, Mueller is forbidden to speak publicly and may only forward a “confidential report” to the attorney general (or, in this case, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein). While Rosenstein may feel obliged to make a limited disclosure to Congress of any disagreement with Mueller, there is no formal mechanism to transmit Mueller’s conclusions regarding impeachable offenses, much less the underlying evidence, to the Congress.

Moreover, even if Rosenstein wanted to pass Mueller’s report to Congress or to the public, it is not clear that he could. Much of Mueller’s evidence would have been gathered via the grand jury — and Rule 6(e) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure forbids the public release of grand-jury material, with no applicable exceptions. A report that excluded the underlying grand-jury material would include only a sliver of allegations.

There is court precedent to suggest that grand-jury materials may properly be released to a congressional committee in support of impeachment proceedings. Leon Jaworski, the special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal, was able to forward his grand jury’s report and evidence to the House Judiciary Committee. But in that case, the committee majority wanted the evidence, had subpoenaed it, and President Richard Nixon expressed no objection. There is little to suggest that the current committee majorities would diligently and swiftly pursue the release of information harmful to the sitting president, who could hardly be expected to express no objection.

Finally, as if the procedural and political barriers to release of a Mueller report were not enough, don’t forget that much of what Mueller has gathered is highly classified — FISA warrants, NSA intercepts, evidence obtained from intelligence agencies. While Rosenstein might make disclosures to cleared members of Congress and their staffs, any public release would be surely be so heavily redacted as to be [redacted].
Wouldn't that be a bummer! A less technical, but more political take: We may never find out what Robert Mueller discovers

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