Posted tagged ‘Great Trump – Russia conspiracy’

Panic at the Washington Post

December 26, 2017

Panic at the Washington Post, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, December 25, 2017

The Washington Post is worried. The lead headline in today’s paper edition reads: “Mueller criticism grows to a clamor — FBI Conspiracy Claim Takes Hold — Driven by activists, GOP lawmakers, Trump tweets.”

Turnabout is fair play. Last year around this time, an honest newspaper could easily have written: “Trump criticism grows to a clamor — Russia Collusion Takes Hold — Driven by activists, Democratic lawmakers, leaks.”

A year ago, an honest newspaper could not have written that the Trump collusion criticism was driven by the FBI. The facts supporting such a headline were not known. Now we have good reason to suspect that the FBI was, in fact, advancing the collusion claim.

The FBI reportedly offered money to Christoper Steele to continue his work on the anti-Trump dossier (in testimony before Congress Rod Rosenstein refused to say whether the FBI paid or offered to pay for the dossier). The FBI may well have used information in the dossier to secure approval of surveillance efforts from the FISA court.

The FBI also helped push the dossier into the public’s consciousness. Its general counsel, James Baker, reportedly told reporter David Corn about the dossier, thus enabling Corn to write about it just before the election. And FBI director Comey briefed president-elect Trump on the dossier, which led to publication of its contents by BuzzFeed.

We also know about the quest of Peter Strzok, a high-level FBI man, for an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.

But let’s return to the Washington Post’s story about growing criticism of Mueller. The three distressed Post writers are less than fully open when it comes to informing readers what — other than activists, GOP lawmakers, and Trump tweets — is causing criticism of Mueller to grow to a clamor.

They acknowledge that it has something to do with Strzok’s role as Mueller’s former top investigator. However, they do their best to make Strzok seem innocuous.

The story introduces him by noting that he called Trump an “idiot” and predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the election in a landslide — statements that don’t distinguish him from tens of thousands of government employees and millions of other Americans. They also quote a former colleague of Strzok who says:

To think Pete could not do his job objectively shows no understanding of the organization. We have Democrats, we have Republicans, we have conservatives and liberals. . . . Having personal views doesn’t prevent us from independently following the facts.

The problem with peddling this happy narrative is that it ignores Strzok’s anti-Trump zeal, his obvious desire to impress his mistress, and his damning statement about the need for an “insurance policy” against Trump becoming president. The Post, in fact, never mentions that statement.

The Post also manages to ignore the hyper-partisan nature of Mueller’s staff, even excluding Strzok, whom he reassigned. There is a passing reference to Andrew Weissmann’s gushing note to Sally Yates praising her for her resistance to Trump, but no discussion of the ideologically one-sided composition of Team Mueller — a marked contrast to Ken Starr’s balanced staff.

Even with that diverse staff, Starr was successfully portrayed as spearheading a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” It’s not surprising that as more and more evidence emerges of bias within Mueller’s team, criticism mounts and takes hold.

Mueller himself is a Republican. But he is also a friend of James Comey, another fact the Post ignores. The steady stream of evidence of Comey’s anti-Trump animus and manipulative conduct has contributed to declining faith in Mueller.

And then, there’s the fact that Mueller appears to have come up empty so far on “collusion” by Trump. A prosecutor investigating a president is bound to lose credibility if, after an extended period of time, he neither produces evidence against the president nor exonerates him of the set of crimes that supposedly underlie the investigation.

A prosecutor who cannot credibly be accused of bias — either personal or within his team — buys himself time and patience from the public. Mueller is not that prosecutor.

In sum, the Post’s account of how Mueller lost the “near-universal support” he enjoyed earlier is shallow.

The Post’s story is significant, nonetheless. Clearly, the Post is concerned that, as it states, the growing criticism of Mueller “threatens to shadow his investigation’s eventual findings.”

It does, indeed. A recent Harvard poll found that 54 percent of voters believe that “as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey,” Mueller has a conflict of interest in the proceedings. Meanwhile, only 35 percent believe that evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia has been found.

I’m sure Mueller believes his own press-clippings, but the public no longer does. The press, it seems, is beginning to realize this.

Putin Could Not Be Reached for Comment

December 21, 2017

Putin Could Not Be Reached for Comment, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, December 21, 2017

Rep. Adam Schiff is a highly partisan proponent of the thesis that the Trump campaign colluded with Putin in the 2016 election. This week he made his incredibly thin case in this Wall Street Journal column (behind the Journal’s paywall). I infer from Schiff’s column that the collusion thesis is impervious to the failure of proof. “Complex global investigations take time,” he explained.

Schiff went further on CNN. There he supported former DNI James Clapper’s proposition that Vladimir Putin is running President Trump as a Russian asset. Decency imposes no limits on these hacks.

The collusion line is not only impervious to the failure of proof, it is impervious to contrary evidence. Yesterday, for example, reversing Obama administration policy pleasing to Putin, the Trump administration approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin reported:

The Trump administration has approved the first ever U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, in a clear break from the de facto U.S. ban on arms sales that dates back to the Obama administration. The move was heavily supported by top Trump national security Cabinet officials and Congress but may complicate President Trump’s stated ambition to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces. There has been no approval to export the heavier weapons the Ukrainian government is asking for, such as Javelin antitank missiles.

Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment.

And that’s not all. Yesterday the Treasury Department announced that it added five Russians to the list of those sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. Treasury’s press release is posted here. The press release identifies three of those sanctioned by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a result of their involvement in the scandal uncovered by Magnitsky:

OFAC today designated Alexei Sheshenya for his involvement in the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky. Sheshenya was the shareholder of Grand Aktiv, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Parfenion. The lawsuit involved one of six claims against the three Hermitage Fund subsidiaries, Parfenion, Riland, and Makhaon, illegally re-registered under different ownership in 2007. The judgment in these lawsuits served as the basis for an illegal tax refund in 2007, which Magnitsky exposed.

Yulia Mayorova was also designated for her involvement in the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky. Mayorova represented Makhaon and Riland (two of the subsidiaries of the Hermitage Fund illegally re-registered under different ownership in 2007). As noted above, the judgments in the lawsuits served as the basis for an illegal tax refund in 2007, which Magnitsky exposed. The Hermitage Fund had no prior knowledge of or acquaintance with Mayorova and never hired her or authorized her appointment.

OFAC also designated Andrei Pavlov for his involvement in the criminal conspiracy uncovered by Magnitsky. Pavlov represented two of the illegally re-registered Hermitage Fund subsidiaries in separate lawsuits brought by a company he helped to register. The Hermitage Fund had no prior knowledge of or acquaintance with Pavlov and never hired him or authorized his appointment.

Again, Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment.

Another Errant Anti-Trump Hit Piece From The Washington Post

December 16, 2017

Another Errant Anti-Trump Hit Piece From The Washington Post Power LinePaul Mirengoff, December 15, 2017

(WaPo jointed the “resistance” and abandoned whatever “honest journalism” it may once have published well before President Trump was elected. — DM)

Clearly, the Post is grasping at straws. That’s what one does when one abandons honest journalism and joins “the resistance.”

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Fresh off of its triumph in the Alabama Senate race, the Washington Post returns to its primary mission — taking down the President of the United States. It does so in a piece called (in the paper edition) “How Trump’s pursuit of Putin has left the U.S. vulnerable to the Russia threat.”

The hit piece, by Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Phillip Rucker, takes up five pages in the front section of today’s Post. One searches in vain through the authors’ gossip and distortions for evidence of the article’s two themes: (1) that Trump is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to the Russian threat in question, cyber-attacks on our election process and (2) that Trump’s policies tilt in favor of Russia.

In support of its first theme, the Post notes that Trump hasn’t formed a task force to focus on election hacking or convened a Cabinet-level meeting on the subject. From this, it wants us to infer that little or nothing is being done to make such hacking more difficult. The inference is unreasonable. Task forces and Cabinet-level meetings are not the sine qua non of an effective approach to a problem.

The only other evidence the Post presents is this:

In congressional testimony in October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pressed on whether the administration had done enough to prevent Russian interference in the future. “Probably not,” Sessions said. “And the matter is so complex that for most of us we are not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there.”

But the fact that this very complex technical set of problems has not been solved, or fully grasped in all of its dimensions, doesn’t mean that it’s being ignored or being given short shrift. I doubt we can ever prevent any sophisticated foreign power from interfering in our elections. In any event, the Post cites no technical danger our government is ignoring.

Instead, it talks about the need to sanction Russia in the hope of deterring future interference. But Russia has been sanctioned — once by Congress, with the president’s reluctant consent, and then by Trump himself when Russia retaliated for the sanctions. If there is anything more to be done on the sanctions front to “prevent Russian interference in the future,” the Post doesn’t describe it.

The Post cites intelligence reports that the Russians consider their efforts to interfere in our presidential election as “a resounding, if incomplete, success.” “U.S. officials” tell the Post that the Kremlin believes it got “a staggering return” on an operative thought to have cost less than $500,000 to execute.

Of course they believe this, and they are right. The “staggering return” consists of (1) the discrediting of our democracy caused by widespread claims that Trump and Putin stole the election from Hillary Clinton and (2) the enormous disruption caused by investigation of alleged collusion between Trump and Russia. The Washington Post has played a substantial role in both victories for Russia

The Post wants its readers to believe that the “return” for Russia also consists of a pro-Russia tilt in U.S. foreign policy. This is the second theme of the article.

It’s a non-starter. The Post concedes:

The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has not been recognized. Sanctions imposed for Russian intervention in Ukraine remain in place. Additional penalties have been mandated by Congress. And a wave of diplomatic retaliation [note: by Trump] has cost Russia access to additional diplomatic facilities, including its San Francisco consulate.

Against all of this, the Post moans that Trump has discussed the possibility of returning property to the Russians. But nothing has been returned. If anything is, surely it will be in exchange for Russian concessions. At that time, if it comes, we can assess who got the better of the deal.

The Post, though, seems unhappy that Trump wants to deal with the Russians at all. I believe Trump’s quest for Russian cooperation in solving world problems is misguided — a fool’s errand.

However, dealing with Russia isn’t the same thing as making concessions. The deals Trump reaches with Putin, if and when they occur, must be analyzed on their merits before Trump’s Russia policy can be condemned.

Moreover, Trump’s desire to make deals with Russia cannot fairly be attributed to “collusion” or to excess regard for Putin. Trump’s predecessors also wanted to make deals. The Obama administration made doing so a core element of its foreign policy, even though Putin had already invaded Georgia.

Obama’s conciliatory policy towards Russia drew fire from critics in the U.S. Obama shrugged it off by telling Russia’s president he could be more flexible after the 2012 election. He was.

Russia is probably the second most powerful nation in the world. Misguided or not, it’s natural for an American president to seek to improve relations with it.

Once the “Russia reset” exploded in his face, President Obama made dealing with Iran the centerpiece of his foreign policy. He received applause from the Washington Post and other stalwarts of the present anti-Trump resistance for doing so. At the time, no state was more hostile to the U.S. than Iran and none has inflicted more harm on us.

Why, in the Post’s view, was it okay for Obama to strike a major deal with Iran, but not okay for Trump to pursue major deals with Russia? Given all of Iran’s bad acts, including killing American soldiers in Iraq, the Post’s answer better not be that Putin was mean to Hillary Clinton.

It’s never surprising when the Washington Post resorts to dishonesty and distortion. Given the thinness of today’s five-page expose, dishonesty and distortion were almost inevitable.

Let’s take the two worst examples. The Post says that during the 2016 campaign, Trump “prodded the Kremlin to double down on its operation and unearth additional Clinton emails.” It’s referring to when Trump remarked that maybe the Russians could locate Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails. This was obviously sarcasm –a joke — not an invitation. No fair-minded person who heard the comment could conclude otherwise (you can listen to ithere). It’s no accident that the Post strips it of all context.

In the same vein, there is this:

Rather than voice any support for the dozens of State Department and CIA employees being forced back to Washington [when Russia expelled them], Trump expressed gratitude to Putin.

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” Trump told reporters during an outing at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. — remarks his aides would later claim were meant as a joke. “We’ll save a lot of money.”

Again, no fair-minded person could believe that Trump’s remark was anything but sarcasm. As we noted at the time:

[W]e know [Trump] didn’t want our diplomatic presence in Russia slashed because (1) he could have cut it himself but didn’t and (2) following his election, he expressed satisfaction when Putin decided not to retaliate for Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of property.

Clearly, the Post is grasping at straws. That’s what one does when one abandons honest journalism and joins “the resistance.”

About that Page/Strzok ‘insurance policy’

December 14, 2017

About that Page/Strzok ‘insurance policy’, Amerian ThinkerPatricia McCarthy, December 14, 2017

Bottom line?  Our DOJ and FBI (and the IRS) have been hopelessly corrupted by the Obama administration that used them to torment its opponents.  Neither agency can now be trusted. They are tainted by their self-righteous campaign to destroy a man they loathe for, most of all, being an outsider.  Trump was never a member of their exclusive club; he was busy working, building things all over the world, employing thousands of people, getting things done.  Imagine his frustration at the snail’s pace at which Congress works. They work hard at getting nothing done.

Hats off to Jim Jordon, Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Ron DeSantis, and Chuck Grassley, to name a few of the few.  Their responses to the thoroughly ridiculous conflicts of interest that invalidate the Mueller investigation are normal, and they are justifiably outraged.  The Democrats seem to have no problem at all with all the overt malice at the root of the Obama/Clinton plan to stop Trump.

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“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,

writes FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair while spearheading both the Clinton email inquiry and the early Trump-Russia probe, adding,

“It’s like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”  (March 4, 2016)

Isn’t it clear that “the path” was a developing strategy by which these co-conspirators would stop Trump by any means necessary?  Was it at that meeting with “Andy” McCabe, then #2 at the FBI, where the three of them conjured the idea of using the FISA court to get warrants in order to unmask members of the Trump campaign so they could be surveilled?

Surely, they would find something criminal.

“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” – Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police

These people obviously believed themselves to be above the law.  And then when Trump became the GOP candidate, they instituted the next phase:   Use the fake dossier commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign, the one filled with all manner of fabricated crimes and offenses Trump had allegedly committed, maybe even pay Fusion GPS to amp it up, make it even more salacious.  Then they would use it to bring about Trump’s downfall?

They had planned to prevent his election.

When that failed, they planned to take him out before inauguration.

Once he was inaugurated, they doubled down.

In cahoots with Comey, they would lie, cheat and leak. Then, when for good reason, Trump fired James Comey, they, these arrogant, biased snobs at the FBI, shifted into high gear.  They began leaking like sieves (remember Ellen Farkus?).

Then there is Charles Ohr of the DOJ and his lovely wife Nellie.

Ohr met with Christopher Steele before and after the election; Steele is the man who provided the dirt on Trump via his pals in Moscow.   Then Mrs. Ohr got a Ham radio license!  The NSA would be hard pressed to capture those conversations.  So, an employee of the DOJ was paid by Fusion GPS to further harm Trump.

In an atypical moment of craven cowardice, Jeff Sessions foolishly recused himself from the made-up-out-of-whole-cloth collusion with Russia inquiry,  turning the power over the eventual investigation to Rod Rosenstein, the man who embarrassed himself at the hearing before the House Oversight Committee yesterday.  Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy, and a few others asked him withering questions on point and got nowhere.  The man defended Mueller’s hiring a team chock full of progressive activists.  The obvious conclusion is that their mission, which they chose to accept, was to find Trump guilty of an impeachable offense.  There was no crime to begin with; Sessions never should have allowed this investigation.  But this team of witch hunters was given free rein and an unlimited budget to get the job done.

This is a constitutional crisis so much worse than Watergate that it boggles the mind.  Americans now are coming to grips with the fact that their government law enforcement institutions are corrupt to the core.  The Left embraces this reality because they think it benefits them.  The Republicans in Congress are, with several terrific exceptions, all Walter Mittys, powerful in their own minds but absolute wusses on planet earth.

Bottom line?  Our DOJ and FBI (and the IRS) have been hopelessly corrupted by the Obama administration that used them to torment its opponents.  Neither agency can now be trusted. They are tainted by their self-righteous campaign to destroy a man they loathe for, most of all, being an outsider.  Trump was never a member of their exclusive club; he was busy working, building things all over the world, employing thousands of people, getting things done.  Imagine his frustration at the snail’s pace at which Congress works. They work hard at getting nothing done.

Hats off to Jim Jordon, Trey Gowdy, Louie Gohmert, Ron DeSantis, and Chuck Grassley, to name a few of the few.  Their responses to the thoroughly ridiculous conflicts of interest that invalidate the Mueller investigation are normal, and they are justifiably outraged.  The Democrats seem to have no problem at all with all the overt malice at the root of the Obama/Clinton plan to stop Trump.

Let us hope that the IG investigation into all of this will be legitimate, honest and above board.   Is it looking into the Clintons’ corruption re: Uranium One, and their habit of selling access?  Will the IG report include information about the Clintons’ takeover of the DNC, the hacking of the DNC computers that they refused to let the FBI examine?  The murder of Seth Rich?  Who exactly is Imran Awan, the IT guy who probably knows everything and likely was blackmailing a few Dems?

The damning texts from Strzok to his paramour, an FBI lawyer, are a sad commentary on the state of the FBI.  The agency has a severe ethics problem and can no longer be trusted to enforce the law.   Mueller once headed the FBI but did not know better than to stack his team with anti-Trump activists!  That does not pass the smell test.  He did because he knew no one would stop him.  McCabe is tainted, as is Rosenstein.  Time will tell us how Wray performs but he has yet to impress.   As Camus said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”  Our FBI and DOJ have become wild beasts that threaten American civil society.

 

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish

December 5, 2017

Robert Mueller’s mighty tuna shrinks to a goldfish, Washington Times, December 4, 2017

James Comey. (Associated Press) ** FILE

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Mueller has the heart of a Las Vegas hooker and the guile of a New Orleans stripper. Not to push the metaphor too far, he’s skilled at showing a little skin in a cloud of satin and lace, but never quite comes across with what the customer is paying for.

Mr. Mueller, held up by his fellow Blackstones as a model of lawyerly rectitude, teased everyone last week that after testing his prowess to the limit, he had hooked a mighty tuna. His hallelujah chorus in the media celebrated the hundred-pound monster, but overnight it melted into a two-inch goldfish.

The special prosecutor might yet get the last laugh. He may yet land the promised tuna if there’s actually one out there in the briny deep. So far he’s coming up with nothing but net. The Associated Press, which has never been accused of giving Republicans a break, called the arrest “lots of smoke, but no smoking gun.” The “lots of smoke” looked as the new week began as merely a thin tuft of smoke, or more likely a wisp of fog.

The president’s sharpest detractors, agreed CNBC News, among the most fervent of those detractors, have so far been unable to find evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with, or was even aware of, Russian efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats figure that since the tuna turned out to be a goldfish, it’s time to resurrect something dead from the recent past. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose Senate seat has been getting a little warm, resurrected a notion discarded earlier that Mr. Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as director of the FBI. Mr. Comey is best buds with Robert Mueller, who has never given up trying to rehabilitate Mr. Comey from goat to grandee. Only last week Mr. Comey himself took a turn as Bible scholar, attempting to apply a verse from the Book of Amos (5:24) — “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” — to Mr. Mueller’s search for a crime. A Bible verse in the hands of a novice can be like a child with a gun.

Alan Dershowitz thinks the idea that the president, by sacking Mr. Comey, obstructed justice is nonsense. Mr. Dershowitz, the distinguished law professor at Harvard, warned Mrs. Feinstein and Democrats who are trying to build a case that the president obstructed justice that they’re wasting their time.

“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that’s what Lincoln did, that’s what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.”

The president’s tweets are making trouble for him again. Some Democrats, eager for something, anything, to hang their hats on, argue that Mr. Trump’s tweet on Sunday “suggested” that the president knew former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, and that implies obstruction of justice. Or it might only be that these Democrats inferred that that’s what the president did. They should study the difference. A desperate Democrat might infer a lot of fake stuff. To pursue a president for obstruction would ultimately require that “clearly illegal acts” would have to have been committed.

This is what some of Mr. Trump’s pursuers would call mere technicalities in the law. Destroying Donald Trump is of such transcendent purpose, the goal of every right-thinking American, that anything goes. Ask any never-Trumper. What does the Constitution have to do with it, anyway? Six and seven decades of drinking the poison that the Constitution is only “a living document,” subject to reinterpretation to fit any theory of the law, has done great damage.

The Flynn episode might be the needed tutorial in constitutional law. Lawyer and layman alike can learn something useful. Alan Dershowitz thinks Mr. Trump’s lawyers should learn something, too. Legally speaking, he says, Mr. Flynn was “up for sale,” and his “credibility is worthless” since he has been credibly accused of perjury.

“I think the administration is not aggressive enough with [Mr.] Mueller,” Mr. Dershowitz told Laura Ingraham of Fox News last week. “They should be in court challenging what he has been doing. He is going far beyond any possible scope of his investigation.”

The president’s lawyers could be challenging subpoenas, and who are called as witnesses. An investigation, whether called for or not, should be done with a semblance of fairness or it will invite a generation of vipers to do their evil work. If Donald Trump is half as bad as the Democrats say he is, Robert Mueller does not need a railroad to get to where he’s trying to go.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Deep Meaning of the Mueller Probe

December 2, 2017

Deep Meaning of the Mueller Probe, Power LineScott Johnson, December 2, 2017

Conclusion: “Mueller’s investigation is a semblance of law-enforcement disguising the brute reality that Trump is being punished for winning the election and defying Obama policy.

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The reporters covering developments in the ongoing special counsel investigation conducted by Robert Mueller are so excited by the prospect of President Trump’s removal from office impeachment that they can barely keep their tongues from hanging out of their mouths. They demonstrate what it’s all about even if they don’t have a clue what’s going on.

It is a striking fact that the charge to which Michael Flynn pleaded yesterday involves lying about conversations that were not themselves illegal. Flynn was not charged with any substantive criminal offense under the Logan Act or anything else. Rather, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Andrew McCarthy has distinguished himself among the observers commenting on the case. An experienced former federal prosecutor himself, he knows what he is talking about. He is familiar with the ground rules that are to govern such matters. He reviews them in his weekly NRO column today as he has before, finding once again that Mueller has undertaken an essentially unlimited criminal investigation in the guise of a counterintelligence probe.

None of the ground rules applicable to a special counsel criminal investigation have been followed. Mueller’s investigation partakes of the wrongs committed by special counsels in past cases — wrongs reflected in the Department of Justice Procedures that are to govern these matters, but that have been thrown out the window.

What’s going on? McCarthy draws the inferences:

See, we’re not following the normal rules, in which a prosecutor is assigned only after evidence of an actual crime has emerged. We’re in the wooly realm of counterintelligence, where anything goes. And in the event our aggressive prosecutor can’t find any crimes — which would be no surprise, since the investigation was not triggered by a crime — no matter: The special counsel is encouraged to manufacture crimes through the investigative process. Misleading assertions by non-suspects made to investigators probing non-crimes can be charged as felony false statements.

The end game of the investigation is the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency, either by impeachment (which does not require proof of a court-prosecutable crime) or by publicly discrediting Trump to such a degree that his reelection becomes politically impossible. The latter can be accomplished by projecting the appearance of a cri[min]al investigation (notwithstanding that there is no underlying crime), turning administration officials into suspects, and hopefully generating the false-statement prosecutions that help depict the administration as dishonest and icky.

One more thing:

There is no evidence that Flynn or any other Trump associate was involved in Russia’s election interference. Instead, after being elected on the promise of significant policy shifts from the Obama administration, President-elect Trump directed Flynn, his incoming national-security adviser, to make contact with foreign counterparts, including but not limited to officials from Russia. This is standard operating procedure when administrations change — that’s why they call it a transition.

Conclusion: “Mueller’s investigation is a semblance of law-enforcement disguising the brute reality that Trump is being punished for winning the election and defying Obama policy.

McCarthy’s column expands on his comments immediately following the news of Flynn’s plea yesterday. In addition to his biting analysis, McCarthy frames his column with a (non-satirical) modest proposal about how President Trump might fight fire with fire. If you want to understand what is happening the whole thing is must reading.

Charge Against Flynn is More Evidence that Mueller Has Nothing

December 2, 2017

Charge Against Flynn is More Evidence that Mueller Has Nothing, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, December 1, 2017

News media are breathlessly reporting that Gen. Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. You can read the Statement of the Offense here. The false statements alleged by the government seem rather pathetic: 1) Flynn falsely told an FBI agent that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions” the U.S. had just imposed, and 2) that he didn’t recall the ambassador subsequently telling him that the Russians had moderated their response per his request; 3) Flynn falsely said that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to delay or defeat a pending U.N. Security Council resolution, and 4) that the ambassador never subsequently described his country’s response to that request. (Flynn tried, unsuccessfully, to convince several members of the Security Council, including Russia, not to proceed with an anti-Israel resolution. This is to his, and President Trump’s, credit.)

That’s it, after a year of huffing and puffing. Nothing about the election, nothing about the long-awaited “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. I have no idea why Flynn apparently lied to an FBI agent, assuming that he did. But the communications described in the information are exactly the sorts of contacts that a national security advisor to an incoming president should be having with foreign powers.

In short, the allegations against Flynn suggest that Robert Mueller has nothing significant against President Trump or other members of his administration.

The press, of course, is gleeful. ABC‘s headline blares, “Flynn Prepared To Testify Against Trump, Trump Family, White House Staff.” Really? Testify to what?

ABC’s Brian Ross reports: Michael Flynn promised “full cooperation to the Mueller team” and is prepared to testify that as a candidate, Donald Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.”

But of course, there is nothing wrong with directing Flynn to make contact with the Russians. ABC says this is contrary to statements that Trump has made, but I don’t know whether that is true or not. It would require considerable research into Trump’s many statements to discern whether he has said that he never directed Flynn to contact any Russian on any subject.

In any event, what is the point? Contacting foreign governments was part of Flynn’s job, and directing Flynn to contact foreign governments was part of Trump’s job.

Andy McCarthy sees the Flynn plea the same way that I do:

Obviously, it was wrong of Flynn to give the FBI false information; he could, after all, have simply refused to speak with the agents in the first place. That said, as I argued early this year, it remains unclear why the Obama Justice Department chose to investigate Flynn. There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. Plus, if the FBI had FISA recordings of Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, there was no need to ask Flynn what the conversations entailed. Flynn, an early backer of Donald Trump and a fierce critic of Obama’s national-security policies, was generally despised by Obama administration officials. Hence, there has always been cynical suspicion that the decision to interview him was driven by the expectation that he would provide the FBI with an account inconsistent with the recorded conversation — i.e., that Flynn was being set up for prosecution on a process crime.

In the information filed against Flynn, what is most important is what is not there–the dog that isn’t barking:

[W]hen a prosecutor has a cooperator who was an accomplice in a major criminal scheme, the cooperator is made to plead guilty to the scheme. This is critical because it proves the existence of the scheme. In his guilty-plea allocution (the part of a plea proceeding in which the defendant admits what he did that makes him guilty), the accomplice explains the scheme and the actions taken by himself and his co-conspirators to carry it out. This goes a long way toward proving the case against all of the subjects of the investigation. That is not happening in Flynn’s situation. Instead, like Papadopoulos, he is being permitted to plead guilty to a mere process crime. A breaking report from ABC News indicates that Flynn is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians — initially to lay the groundwork for mutual efforts against ISIS in Syria. That, however, is exactly the sort of thing the incoming national-security adviser is supposed to do in a transition phase between administrations. If it were part of the basis for a “collusion” case arising out of Russia’s election meddling, then Flynn would not be pleading guilty to a process crime — he’d be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy.

I suppose it is still possible that Mueller could surprise us, but General Flynn was supposed to be the key witness, and he apparently has little or nothing to say that is newsworthy.