Sunday, June 14, 2020

One Single Iota of Russiagate

But it's a good one, and one worth discussing from Andy McCarthy, via NR, Senate Collusion Theater
Someone wake me up when we hear something from John Durham.

‘Anybody who knew about the problems with the dossier and continued to use it are good candidates to go to jail.”

So said Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R., N.C.) earlier this week, referring to the infamous “dossier” of faux intelligence reporting generated by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Senator Graham was laying the groundwork for a push he has recently invigorated — to say “reinvigorated” would be misleading — to examine . . . well . . . it’s not exactly clear what he’s planning to examine.

Sometimes, it seems Graham is after FISA abuse by the FBI in the Trump–Russia investigation. Sometimes, it’s the decision by then-deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the sitting president under circumstances where there was no basis for such an investigation. Sometimes, the focus is described as the Mueller investigation itself: why it went on so long despite the lack of a solid evidentiary predicate, why Rosenstein, in August 2017, defined its scope based on allegations long known to be either groundless or far afield from purportedly suspected Trump–Russia collusion.

Given that Graham has no power to send any good candidates to jail, and the real investigative work either has already been done by the Justice Department’s inspector general, or is in the process of being done by prosecutor John Durham, one can’t help but ask: What is the objective of this scattershot production?
. . .
It’s a sideshow. There is a serious Justice Department investigation underway, one that may be nearing resolution. When a committee of Congress bestirs itself to start holding hearings under those circumstances, two things happen. First, if the witnesses the Senate suddenly decides it must interview are material to the case prosecutors are trying to build, the Justice Department objects . . . and the Senate must stand down, lest it be accused of interfering with law enforcement. Second, if other witnesses the Senate suddenly decides it must interview are subjects of the Justice Department’s investigation, then they have a very live Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Therefore — with all due respect, of course — they tell the Senate to stick its subpoenas where the sun don’t shine.
I understand how McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor himself, would look down on the apparently toothless "show" trials in the Congress.

But as infuriating as it is to see people from your side of the isle in the hot seat, it is as gratifying to see the other side trying to explain itself without committing perjury to the Congress (which as we know from the sole example of Roger Stone, is really a crime, although it's not commonly prosecuted).

Now that we know a whole lot more about the events of Russiagate, in part due to other congressional investigations, but in large measure to the declassification efforts of  Ric Grenell and John Ratcliff, and the FOIA efforts of judicial watch, it would be instructive to watch Jim Comey, Peter Strzok, Joe Pientka, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and many more, try to explain their actions from before and after the election of Donald Trump.

And, as Bill Barr so rightly pointed out, not all bad acts are crimes, and not all crimes are prosecutable  and those acts, especially by public figures and officials need the light of public scrutiny. Moreover, the DOJ is not supposed to be charging people it doesn't reasonably believe it can get convictions for, and not talk about their suspicions. Hence, Comey probably (by accident) made the right choice in not charging Hillary Clinton breaking secrecy of classified information. I don't know about any reasonable prosecutor, but I do know that no jury from the Washington D.C. area would convict her lowness. But a good public shaming was in order (although it wasn't Comey's job to do so). Unfortunately, whatever portion of the conscience responsible for share was either deficient in Mrs. Clinton, or completely worn out.

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