Sunday, June 17, 2018

Russiagate: Vive le Resistance!

Where to start? Andrew McCarthy is always worth reading: Problems at the Justice Department and FBI Are Serious
It has become a refrain among defenders of the FBI and Justice Department that critics are trying to destroy these vital institutions. In point of fact, these agencies are doing yeoman’s work destroying themselves — much to the chagrin of those of us who spent much of our professional lives proudly carrying out their mission.

The problem is not the existence of miscreants; they are an inevitable part of the human condition, from which no institution of any size will ever be immune. The challenge today is the ethos of law-enforcement. You see it in texts expressing disdain for lawmakers; in the above-it-all contempt for legislative oversight; in arrogant flouting of the Gang of Eight disclosure process for sensitive intelligence (because the FBI’s top-tier unilaterally decides when Bureau activities are “too sensitive” to discuss); in rogue threats to turn the government’s law-enforcement powers against Congress; and in the imperious self-perception of a would-be fourth branch of government, insulated from and unaccountable to the others — including its actual executive-branch superiors.

Once law enforcement saw the virtue in self-policing, in a duty to expose and purge itself of rogue actors. Now, it tends toward not just burying bad behavior but — the best defense being a good offense — hiding it behind claims of a job well done, behind claims that its ends are so noble its means are justified no matter how unseemly.
Byron York:  Viva le resistance: How political bias infected FBI Trump, Clinton probes
. . . defenders point to two remarks from Horowitz. In the first, the IG wrote, "We found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations; rather, we concluded that they were based on the prosecutors' assessment of the facts, the law, and past department practice." The problem is that statement was limited to the Justice Department's specific decision not to prosecute Clinton and did not address the Trump-Russia situation. Concerning one Strzok decision in the Trump-Russia affair, Horowitz wrote, "We concluded that we did not have confidence that this decision by Strzok was free from bias."

The defenders also point to this from Horowitz: "Our review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific investigative decisions we reviewed ..."

Could a sentence have more limiters in it? No documentary or testimonial evidence that directly tied the political views to specific decisions. As the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel points out, that basically means that no one actually wrote down, "Let's start this Trump investigation so we can help Hillary win."

The fact is, bias — political bias, anti-Trump bias — was pervasive in some quarters of the Trump-Russia investigation. And that is just what the inspector general found in his review of the Clinton investigation — not his main examination of the Trump-Russia probe. That inspector general investigation is going on now and will ultimately — no one knows when — result in a report that will likely be at least as long and at least as newsy as the report released Thursday. There could be a lot more to discover.
Ann Althouse criticize's FBI Agent #2's Grammar: I'm finding my own little entry points into the IG report, and what's calling to me now is that damned phrase "Viva le resistance."
The IG report describes an instant message exchange on November 22, 2016. FBI Attorney 1 — referring to how much some subject of the FBI investigation got paid working for the Trump campaign — said "Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?"

And FBI Attorney 2 said “Hell no” and “Viva le resistance.”

If that's supposed to be French, the word is "vive" not "viva," and "resistance" should have the feminine article, "la," not "le." If it's Spanish, "viva" is fine, there's no "le" in Spanish, "resistance" is not the Spanish word, and it's still feminine, so "la" would be the proper article. I'm seeing "Viva le resistance" repeated a lot — like here, at Instapundit — and I'm getting tired of looking at something so formally ignorant.
No worry about high falutin' phrases from Smitty at The Other MCCain: Fire Bogus Idiots Fomenting Blatant, Irredeemable, Flagrant Betrayals–Immediately!
I’m ready for a full purge of all of these senior FBI, DOJ, CIA, IRS, TLA, AFU, KMA, ETC pencil necks who think themselves some sort of petty arisocratic clique that calls the shots in this country (i.e. the Deep State whose shoes Erickson apparently prefers to shine).

This is not even about Trump, other than his incidental proximity in exposing this cancerous. This is about “Democracy Dies in Deep State Darkness”. This is Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy pointing Checkov’s Gun at our heads. I certainly hope all of these malevolent Clinton boot-lickers repent, but such a change of heart is irrelevant to the point that they cannot ever be wielding U.S. Government power again, ever, if we care about our liberties.
John Kass, Chicago Tribune: Obama’s silky lie and FBI bias in the Clinton investigation
Obama told his silky lie when his chosen successor was Hillary Clinton.

Clinton had endangered top secret information by using an unsecured, home-brew email server when she was U.S. secretary of state. Any other American who dared risk top government secrets on a basement server would have faced federal prosecution and prison.

Obama’s lie was told in 2015, when Obama was asked by CBS’ Bill Plante when he learned Mrs. Clinton had used an unsecured email server.“The same time everybody else learned it, through news reports,” Obama said. He was so silky that you couldn’t even hear his tongue rustling along his teeth.

He waxed on about how his administration was all about “transparency.”But Obama did not learn about Clinton’s home-brew server like “everybody else.” According to the inspector general’s report, Obama was in fact one of 13 top government officials communicating with Clinton on her private email server, even as Clinton’s server was targeted by foreign intelligence services.

According to the IG report, before former (and fired) FBI Director James Comey took it upon himself to publicly criticize Clinton (and exonerate her from a criminal charge), a draft of his public address was heavily edited. It was edited for Hillary Clinton’s benefit, to buttress the case that what she did wasn’t prosecutable.

But Comey’s comments were also edited to protect someone else. The IG report discusses a key paragraph in Comey’s statement summarizing the FBI’s thinking that “hostile actors” had accessed Clinton’s server. The paragraph, the report said, “referenced Clinton’s use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary. This reference was later changed to ‘another senior government official,’ and ultimately was omitted.”
Matt Margolis, PJ Media: The IG Report and The Legacy of Obama
Eight years is a short time for the FBI to go from a respected institution to a partisan arm of the White House, but it happened right under our noses, with the media doing its best to keep us in the dark.

From the earliest days of the Obama administration, the Obama/Holder/Lynch Justice Department protected political allies from justice. A slam-dunk case of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party during the 2008 presidential election was inexplicably dropped, resulting in the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights declaring in the summer of 2010 that there was evidence of “possible unequal administration of justice” by the Justice Department. Obama also blocked a corruption probe that implicated former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for bribery. He also illegally fired an inspector general who was investigating a friend and donor of Obama’s. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder worked in concert to protect each other. Holder would stonewall congressional investigations into Obama administration corruption and Obama would assert executive privilege to keep damaging information away from the eyes of investigators, such as crucial documents in the Fast and Furious investigation.
The problem with the DOJ and the FBI, regardless of who is in office, is that they have a lot of power, and with a lot of power comes the temptation to use is for political ends. Under Democrat administrations, the resulting corruption is covered up rather than being exposed by the media.

Julie Kelly, American Greatness: The FBI Hates Trump—and His Voters, Too. I would guess that this is more a problem at the top of the pyramid, where Ivy League lawyers tend to end up, rather than down the food chain where the rank and file move up from less liberal institutions.

Roger L. Simon at PJ Media: Christopher Wray Not the Man to 'Proudly' Fix the FBI
. . . Wray's continuance as director signals the government is not serious about significantly reforming the FBI and that what changes will be made will be essentially cosmetic, lipstick on the proverbial pig.  (The inspector general's report can be read that way as well.)

This is not just because Wray worked under James Comey in his first important job as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division (2003-2005). That would be guilt by association, although in this instance it's some association. What's more important is what Wray himself has done recently or, more specifically, has not. . .
Charlie Martin at PJ Media:  The Deep State Is an Organism, not a Conspiracy. No. Speaking as a biologist, that's a bad analogy. Government is the organism which uses resources to maintain order in the country, and do what our people want it to do, but the Deep State is a cancer, stealing our resources, for their own purposes, and growing at our expense. The question is whether we can excise it in time.

Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner: The crazy reason the FBI didn't search the devices of Hillary Clinton's inner circle. Too much work!
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his team received a crazy response when they asked FBI agents on the Hillary Clinton email investigation why not.

The agents' primary excuse was to point to "the culture of mishandling classified information at the State Department which made the quantity of potential sources of evidence particularly vast" (see page 153).

Put another way, the agents thought that they might find so much classified information on unauthorized servers and systems that they would become lost in the maze. Horowitz, in what can only be described as a generous admonition, counters by noting "that [this excuse] fails to acknowledge that the team was not required to take an all-or-nothing approach. For example, a middle ground existed where those devices belonging to Clinton’s three top aides - which the team determined accounted for approximately 68 percent of Clinton’s email exchanges - would have been reviewed, but devices belonging to other State Department employees would not."

This suggestion by Horowitz seems rather, well, obvious.
Peter Strzok mania! John Sexton at Hot Air: Did The FBI’s Slow Walk Of The Weiner Laptop Investigation Cost Clinton The Election? Tyler O'Neil. PJ Media: The Ironic Tragedy of Peter Strzok: Did Pro-Clinton FBI Bias Get Donald Trump Elected? It's remotely possible though I doubt that the causes can ever really be untangled. If so, it's a delightful irony. Allahpundit at Hot Air: Bill Maher On Peter Strzok’s “We’ll Stop It” Text: C’mon, He Was Just Trying To Impress His Girlfriend. Also possible, but who wants a man like that having so much power? Even Robby Mook thinks Strzok’s “We’ll Stop It” Text Was Certainly Inappropriate, Says … Hillary’s Campaign Manager. This article also has an interesting passage on the problem Comey faced to his nominal supervisors at the DOJ. RCP: Gowdy: Strzok Not Only Wanted To Stop Trump Campaign, But Got On Mueller Probe Because He Wanted To Impeach Him. How much effort has Mueller done to try and rid his magnum opus of the Strzok and Page taint? Also RCP: Nunes on Strzok Text: How Could That Have Possibly Been Redacted?; "Classic Case Of Obstruction". It's easy; just use a heavy black marker to hide what you don't want Congress to see; but make sure you give them a copy, because you can sometimes see through the marking on the original if you hold it up to the light. Debra Heine at PJ Media: House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte: We're 'Very Shortly' Going to Subpoena Strzok. Until you actually do something about the people who lie to Congress, these are just for show. But this one could be kind of fun. Allahpundit asks: Why Hasn’t Peter Strzok Been Fired Yet? I assume it's because they have more leverage on him if he still works there. But leverage for what, good or ill?

Chicago Tribune: As Mueller moves to finalize obstruction report, Trump's allies ready for political battle
President Donald Trump's lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller are hurtling toward a showdown over a yearlong investigation into the president's conduct, with Mueller pushing to write up his findings by summer's end and Trump's lawyers strategizing how to rebut a report that could spur impeachment hearings.

The confrontation is coming to a head as Trump and his allies ratchet up their attacks on the special counsel probe, seizing on a report released Thursday by the Justice Department's inspector general that castigated FBI officials for their conduct during the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, said that he planned to use the inspector general's conclusions to undermine Mueller, suggesting he may ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to examine the current probe.

"We want to see if we can have the investigation and special counsel declared illegal and unauthorized," Giuliani said in an interview Friday.
Ooh ooh! Republicans "ratchet". At least it's not "pounced" or "seized." Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Giuliani: Trump’s Not Sitting Down For An Interview “In A Corrupt Investigation.” RCP: Giuliani: Suspend Mueller Investigation; Send Strzok To Jail. Allahpundit: Rudy: This Russiagate Thing May Well Get “Cleaned Up With Some Presidential Pardons

I predict back problems in her future
It turns out that not even being associated with Donald Trump can turn Stormy Daniels into a hot young number: Stormy Daniels' Chicago shows will go on, her agent and Admiral strip club owner confirm
After Daniels’ sudden exit following her Thursday night performance, the Chicago strip club’s owner announced he had pulled the plug on her remaining shows.But after a back-and-forth between the owner, Sam Cecola, and Daniels’ booking agent Danny Capozzi, both said they had been able to resolve their differences so the remaining four Chicago shows would go on at the Northwest Side club.

“The Admiral Theatre sincerely regrets any comments that have been made, either publicly or privately, that have been disparaging of Miss Daniels and her team,” Cecola said in a news release sent late Friday afternoon.
He was referencing his own comments.

Just after the “Make America Horny Again” performance Thursday, Cecola told the Tribune he “thought her show was nothing to write home about,” questioning then whether the rest of the shows would go on.

Cecola later told the Tribune that “he takes back what he said in anger.” Cecola also was at first adamant that the dispute was about money, which Admiral creative director Nick Cecola later walked back as well.
And it's all fun and games until this happens: Manafort Sent to Jail After Witness Tampering Accusations. But what about his children? From what I saw, the evidence was pretty thin. The thought that Mueller is doing this to get him to "flip on Trump" is maddening. How is this different than the "witness preparation" that prosecutors take their witnesses through?

OK, I'm still behind, but I'm going to delete all my unused Russiagate links and start fresh!

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Girls In The Desert" and "FMJRA 2.0: Desert Plains" up and running.

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