Monday, March 23, 2020

Russiagate Not Dead Yet

I had thought it might go into a coma for today, but at the last minute it showed signs of life.

From Chuck Ross at Da Caller, DNC Responds To Carter Page Lawsuit, Claiming Steele Dossier Is ‘Substantially True’ in the sense that the words that it uses are really words.
Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee claimed in court filings this week that the Steele dossier’s statements regarding Trump campaign aide Carter Page were “substantially true,” a defense that is at odds with the findings of the Justice Department’s inspector general.

“Here, the ‘gist’ of the complained-of statements — that Page coordinated with Russian government contacts as an adviser to the Trump campaign — aligns with Page’s own description of his conduct,” the DNC lawyers asserted in a court filing on Monday.
. . .
The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s information to obtain four warrants to conduct electronic surveillance on Page. The special counsel and Justice Department inspector general (IG) have since poured cold water on Steele’s allegations of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

The special counsel said that investigators found no evidence that any Trump associates, including Page, conspired with Russia, or were involved in hacking or releasing Democrats’ emails.

The inspector general found numerous problems with the dossier. According to a report from the IG, Steele’s primary source for his dossier told the FBI in January 2017 that the ex-spy exaggerated some of the information in the salacious document, including about Page.
"Adam Mill" at AmGreat take the Mueller team to task for their aborted charging of Russians with election interference:  Government Disgrace in Marquee Russian ‘Election Interference’ Case
The case is a disgrace. It’s a stain on the American justice system. At it’s very inception, the Department of Justice attempted to make it a crime for foreigners to buy ads expressing opinions about politics. That’s speech. And if you’re not willing to protect the speech of dastardly Russians, then don’t expect your speech to get protected when you offend the Department of Justice.
Streiff at Red State,  The Washington Post Runs a Shameless CIA Authored Hit Piece to Blame President Trump for the Spread of Wuhan Virus
What these clowns, and by clowns I mean the Eric Ciaramella squad that is still ensconced in the Intelligence Community and who regularly use their duty position to impress credulous reporters into writing hit pieces on President Trump, are trying to do is to recreate the smear directed against President George Bush over 9/11. They use the exact same tactic as they did to blame Bush for 9/11. Nebulous and non-specific warnings are issued that include nothing that is even vaguely actionable…here the warnings are alleged to have taken place…and they even use the exact same language from the 9/11 Commission Report, I recognize it from the title of the very first diary I wrote for RedState.
Sue the bastard! Dan Chaitin at WaEx, Not forgotten: Devin Nunes exploring 'legal remedies' after Adam Schiff released phone records 
"I'm in California, so for sure, state law, you cannot release somebody's phone records," Nunes said. "So, for sure, that right has been violated. But, we also have to look at the constitutional aspects of this, and do all the members of Congress have a right to privacy, and can just one member, because he doesn’t like someone and he’s a political opponent of someone, can that member just subpoena records and then release just to embarrass or to create a distraction or to build whatever fantasy-land narrative that they continue to build?"
. . .
A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, filed a lawsuit to gain access to the subpoenas, which Schiff is fighting to keep secret.

Nunes told O'Connor it is an "unprecedented" situation, "especially for a party who claims they're for protecting people's civil liberties. These people are a bunch of phonies, they're frauds, and they're dangerous to America, along with 90% of the media hacks that are out there that essentially just work for billionaire Democrats."
Jazz Shaw at Hot Air finds himself wobbling over defending the DOJ in it's request for permission to jail people indefinitely as a result of the WuFlu, The Justice Department Is Asking For Emergency Powers
But there are limits to how much Joyner is willing to tolerate in terms of keeping the criminal justice machinery running. He gives a firm “hell no” to the idea of indefinite detention without access to counsel and the courts. He feels we must protect any defendant’s right to a fair and speedy trial, even if we have to modify our definition of “speedy” a bit while the pandemic runs its course.

I tend to agree. Surely we can help the Department of Justice keep the wheels from coming off entirely without sacrificing essential rights. Perhaps we could ask the courts to defer prosecution of minor crimes until the backlog is cleared and focus only on the most serious violent crimes and criminals who would be most likely to present a credible threat to public safety if they were simply cut loose. It’s not an ideal situation, but as Joyner points out, we can’t have the cops simply stop enforcing the law. At that point, civilization as we know it effectively breaks down and the country goes into full Mad Max mode. In order to avoid that potential outcome, some adjustments in how the courts process their caseloads may be required.
Eric Boehm at Reason gives a big Hell No, Justice Department Reportedly Asks Congress for Indefinite Detention Powers To Fight Coronavirus - "Congress should loudly and unanimously reject this insanity."
Perhaps the Justice Department is attempting to find out whether there are any libertarians in a pandemic. The right to see a judge and seek release from detention after an arrest—known in legal lingo as habeas corpus—is one of the fundamental building blocks of a democratic society, one in which the state cannot deprive individuals of their freedom without due process. The times in American history when that right has been suspended or circumvented are some of the darkest. We should not be seeking to repeat them.

"The DOJ proposal is deeply troubling and would raise a whole host of constitutional concerns," says Scott Bullock, president and general counsel for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm. "History demonstrates again and again that governments use a crisis to expand power and violate vital constitutional principles. And when the supposed emergency is over, the expanded powers often become permanent."

Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute, says the Justice Department should not be trusted with more expansive powers.
"If history is any indication, it's a near certainty that these powers will be abused and that DOJ will try to hide those abuses when they occur," says Neily. "This is simply not an agency that has earned the kind of trust implied by these requests for increased authority and discretion."

It's also unclear how allowing indefinite detention would help fight the coronavirus outbreak. It seems more likely that the DOJ is learning from members of Congress and the president that the crisis provides a convenient excuse to ask for things it already wanted in the first place.

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