Withdrawal pains

There is no precedent that anybody can find for someone who has been charged with perjury just getting off scot-free.
-Barack Obama, on the withdrawal of the case against Michael Flynn

So much to unpack in a short sentence.

Of course there are many precedents for getting off (we’ll get to “scot-free” later) from being charged for perjury. Anybody can easily find them. For example, like Bill Clinton, you’re found innocent of the charge. He didn’t get off scot-free, though. He was disbarred and paid a $25K fine over Monica Lewinski, plus a $90K fine for false testimony and $850K in settlement in the Paula Jones case.

As to perjury, that wasn’t the charge laid on General Flynn. He was charged with lying to the FBI. This is simple enough that we can depend on Wikipedia:

“Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding.”

Flynn was not only not under oath, he was led to believe the meeting engineered by the FBI was happenstance. An oath, in itself, would have provided notification that one was under investigation. Flynn received no such notification and was deliberately led to believe he was just having a chat. Bushwhacked is an appropriate term.

Perjury, if it were at issue, requires materiality. As does the actual charge against Flynn. Emphasis mine:

“Under federal law, a false statement made to investigators is actionable only if it is material to the matter under investigation. If there was no basis to believe Flynn had committed a crime, his counsel could have argued that any false statements allegedly made by Flynn when he was questioned in January 2017 were immaterial. Ergo, Ms. Powell contends that the withholding of this information violated the government’s duty to disclose exculpatory evidence.”

And don’t forget, the answer over which he was charged with lying regarded a telephone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn knew such conversations are routinely recorded by NSA, and that the FBI had almost certainly listened to the recording. You have to believe Lt. General Flynn to be extraordinarily stupid to believe that he lied about it.

The FBI interviewers didn’t believe it, even though newly released emails show an internal FBI debate about the purpose of the ambush:

“The documents turned over by the Justice Department late Wednesday include handwritten notes in which FBI officials openly indicated that their “goal” was “to get him [Flynn] to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired””

That was the basis of the ‘crime.’

“Getting off scot-free” is another curiosity of Mr. Obama’s thinking. Flynn’s reputation was destroyed, he was psychologically tortured, he’s been financially wrecked, and his family has been threatened. The prosecutors covered that last extortion up in collusion with Flynn’s first set of lawyers. An agreement not to prosecute his son was illegally excluded from the description of the plea deal supplied to the court. “[T]he government [is required] to disclose to the defense any promises made or benefits given in exchange for the testimony of a witness called by the prosecution.

Not satisfied with misstating the crime, insulting due process, excusing prosecutorial misconduct and FBI framing, and minimizing the burden imposed on General Flynn, our former organizer-in-chief went on to lament, “That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk.

Well, yes, but not in the way he thinks.

More to come, I think, since we also just found out Mr. Obama was aware of this charade at the time.

Hmmm.

Flynn’s current lawyer, Sidney Powell, is another Dagny Taggart Award nominee.

Update, May 11, 1:20PM:


…and, while we’re at it:
Attorney General Barr’s Office Shreds NBC’s Chuck Todd For ‘Deceptive Editing’ Of Barr’s Comments Add a little collusion from the Maim Scream Media™.

Note, too, that the soon-to-be-infamous January 5th Oval Office meeting where Obama surprised Sally Yates with his knowledge of the Kislyak phone call preceded the bushwacking meeting (Jan 24th) with General Flynn by several weeks. Obama had been briefed on the call by James Clapper (according to Comey, during Congressional testimony), but Yates, at the DOJ, had not been briefed.

Also attending that meeting were James Comey, Joe Biden, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Susan Rice. Rice was later to write a CYA email to herself:

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia,”

The very next day, Comey briefed incoming President Donald Trump on the Steele dossier, i.e., Russian disinformation paid for by the Clinton campaign, and already used to obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page. Comey only discussed the salacious parts of the dossier, and neglected to tell Trump about the Kislyak phone call and Flynn. Comey lied by omission.

Serial Dreyfus affairs

Seriously recommended.

Michael Flynn’s defense lawyer, Sidney Powell, discusses how corruption at the Department of Justice over the last twenty years has jeopardized the rule of law, and given us a two tiered, politicized justice system.

Your blood will boil.

Just over an hour. Made possible by Hillsdale College.

Want to see a heroine? Watch Sidney Powell.

It’s amazing that a long-tenured nest of DOJ vipers, characterized by Robert Mueller, James Comey, and Andrew Weissmann (and ably assisted by weasels like James Clapper and John Brennan) failed to railroad Donald Trump. They did it to many, many others. And were rewarded with promotions, book deals, gigs on MSNBC and CNN, and the adulation of the New York Times.

That Trump was exonerated in the Russia Affair despite FBI entrapment, withholding of exculpatory evidence, and plotting “insurance policies;” added to Mueller’s Mongols’ well rehearsed prosecutorial lying, pursuit of minor players they knew to be innocent, practiced abuse of power, and creative crime inventiveness is testament to Trump’s innocence, perseverance, and probably wise advice from counsel. All while being publicly buffeted by illegal leaks to a media predisposed to destroy his Presidency.

Powell should head a special department reporting to Bill Barr at the DOJ to clean out the pestilence. I think she might enjoy it. I know I would.

This is the Michael Flynn defense fund she mentions at 44:13.

Powell’s books are here.

Congruent with malice

On Dec 12th, I pointed out that there are only two ways to interpret the FBI’s egregious… Wait, egregious implies a degree of obviousness the FBI never intended – so odious? nefarious? actions documented in Inspector General Horowitz’ report:

[T]he FBI’s persistent prevarication may lead many to recall Ian Fleming: ”Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.

IG Horowitz had to use a different standard: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence.

I noted some of the report’s detail which one might use to decide between those alternatives. Here is a simpler version from Attorney General William Barr speaking to NBC News’ Justice(?) Correspondent Pete Williams:

PETE WILLIAMS: I just wonder, though, about the — what the FBI would say, I think here, is, OK, so they opened an investigation. Nobody was ever charged. They were concerned about possible Russian meddling in the — in the election.

Why not open this investigation? What’s the harm? You’ve said intrusive means. So what — what is your concern about the fact that they did this?

ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL BARR: Well, I think the big picture is this, from day one — remember, they say, OK, we’re not going to — go to talk to the campaign. We’re going to put people in there, wire them up and have these conversations with people involved in the campaign, because that way we’ll get the truth.

From the very first day of this investigation, which was July 31, 2016, all the way to its end, September 2017, there was not one incriminatory bit of evidence to come in. It was all exculpatory. The people that they were taping denied any involvement with Russia. Denied the very specific facts that the FBI was — was relying on.

So what happens? The FBI ignores it, presses ahead, withholds that information from the court, withholds critical exculpatory information from the court while it gets an electronic surveillance warrant.

It also withholds from the court clear cut evidence that the dossier that they ultimately relied on to get the FISA warrant was a complete sham. They — they — they hid information about the lack of reliability, even when they went the first time for the warrant. But — but in January, after the election, the entire case collapsed when the principal source says, I never told — I never told Steele this stuff. And — and — and — and this was all speculation. And I have zero information to support this stuff.

At that point, when their entire case collapsed, what do they do? They kept on investigating the president and the — well into his administration, after the case collapsed.

But here, to me, is the damning thing. They not only didn’t tell the court that what they had been relying on was — was completely, you know, rubbish, they actually started putting in things to bolster this Steele report by saying, well, we talked to the sources and they appeared to be truthful. But they don’t inform the court that what they’re truthful about is that the dossier is — is false.

So that’s hard to explain. And I — the core statement, in my opinion, by the IG, is that these irregularities, these misstatements, these omissions were not satisfactorily explained. And I think that leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith. I think it’s premature now to reach a judgment on that, but I think that further work has to be done, and that’s what Durham is doing.

Incompetence and malice are not mutually exclusive. Did malice merely provide the FBI an extended opportunity for incompetence?

Does the distinction even matter when the consequence of incompetence and stupidity is congruent with malice? Is it better that those entrusted to uphold the law are incompetent, and deliberate about it?

A trout in the milk

Unfortunately, the DoJ IG report failed to reach any number of stunningly obvious conclusions about breach of trust by FBI and DoJ executives, because none of them overtly stated in any surviving official document that they were intent on subverting the 2016 election.

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” seemed to be a good enough model.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better illustration of Henry David Thoreau’s dictum; “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” Along with some river pebbles, sea shells, lilly pads, and sunken treasure.

The IG’s Report May Be Half-Baked
By ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
June 15, 2018 2:08 PM

If you don’t know him, McCarthy “is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He resigned from the Justice Department in 2003. He is a contributing editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.”

IMO, he’s the best single analyst of the venality and corruption at the highest levels of the DoJ and FBI.

RTWT.