Friday, June 16, 2017

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Is the Investigation into Possible Trump Obstruction a Waste of Time?

In all the stories we have heard of Mueller possibly investigating Trump for Obstruction of justice, there is one little tidbit people forget.  According to most legal experts, he can't be charged with a crime while a sitting President.

From all places, The Washington Post, a sitting President cannot be charged while in office, as it was found in 1973 with Nixon, and 2000 with Bill Clinton.

"Because he’s the president of the United States. And it’s not at all clear that you can prosecute the sitting president of the United States. 
Sooner rather than later, this conundrum may land on the desk of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who has been appointed to handle the ongoing investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Comey himself said as much Thursday, that it wasn’t up to him to decide obstruction of justice: “That’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out.” 

Of course the legal jury is still out on the subject of Presidental immunity, however, the only known remedy for a Special Counsel finding criminal acts by a President is to submit those findings to Congress, who would decide by a majority if those charges or findings warranted impeachment proceedings.  Until then Mueller's findings won't be known, as they first come back to the Attorney General who makes that decision whether or not Congress can view them.

Congress could subpoena the AG, but that would likely lead to the AG citing executive privilege.   As I said here, I don't feel Mueller wants to travel into this gray area, especially in his possible last high profile case.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

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If Mueller is looking at Obstruction - He Backed Himself into a Corner

If this Washington Post story is true - and there is doubt it is, After all, look at how many of their bombshells have bombed, he's likely just glancing over it.  But if he charges Trump with obstruction, Republicans will cry "foul", as it' already been reported that he has surrounded himself with Clinton fans.  Can you say, "Fix was in?"

Another is the lack of evidence.  First, the only real "evidence" is a memo that Comey wrote that details Trump asking him if he could just let Flynn go.  Using the word "hope" isn't obstruction, no matter how Comey felt about it, and no legal sources I've talked to would say so.  If fact during questioning from Sen. James Risch.

“Do you know of any case where a person has been charged for obstruction of justice, or for that matter any other criminal offense where they said or thought they hoped for an outcome?” Risch asked. 
“I don’t know well enough to answer,” Comey replied. “And the reason I keep saying his words is, I took it as a direction. I mean this is the president of the United States with me alone saying ‘I hope this,’ I took it as this is what he wants me to do.” 
“You may have taken it as a direction but that’s not what he said,” Risch shot back.
“Correct,” Comey replied. 
“He said, I hope,” Risch responded. “You don’t know of anyone that’s ever been charged for hoping something. Is that a fair statement?” 
“I don’t as I sit here,” Comey answered. 

 Additionally, unless there are tapes, it's Comey's word against Trump as they were the only two in the room.  Therefore in-admissable in a court of law.

Then there is also the DNI, NSA Directors testimony, to the Senate Intelligence Committee that they never felt any pressure to end the investigation.

In other words, there is nada evidence for obstruction, and even if Mueller tries to apply it he falls under suspicion of motive.  That's not something that Mueller in the twilight of his career wants as his curtain call.

Lastly, even if he finds obstruction it's up to the DOJ to move for an indictment, and they could pull a Comey and say that there wasn't any real intent.

Addition thought from Hot Air's John Sexton.

But don’t forget, according to Comey’s own testimony, Trump also said he would be happy to see the investigation go forward even if some “satellite” associates of his were shown to have done something wrong. That was on a phone call after the Oval Office discussion about Flynn. So it didn’t sound as if Trump was trying to stop the Russia investigation at that point.
Indeed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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Insider Details Comey Meeting with Lynch over her meeting with Clinton on Tarmarc


Shortly before the FBI shut down its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, former FBI Director James Comey had a frosty confrontation with Obama Administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch — so frosty that what he showed her got him kicked out of her office. 
In a report published by the news website Circa, Comey reportedly privately told a few insiders about the exchange that he had with Lynch.  He presented her with evidence that he had regarding her meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in June 2016, prompting his suspicions of her interference with an ongoing investigation.
The evidence Comey had shown  Lynch may have involved a “communication between two political figures” that indicated the Justice Department was going to cover for Hillary Clinton, or evidence, as Circa put it: “that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton.” 
According to Circa, Comey said Lynch’s response to the evidence was right out of a Hollywood movie about backroom dealings in Washington. 
“Comey said ‘the attorney general looked at the document, then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office,’ said one source who was briefed,” Circa reported. 
She acted in a way that suggests her guilt and instead of owning up to her fault; she kicked Comey out of her office because she knew she had been caught.
Suspicions of this meeting were sparked by Comey's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.  In fact, Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat, called for a further investigation into whether Lynch's involvement was, in fact, an effort to save Hillary's sagging campaign efforts.

This would, of course, provide a REAL scandal that would dwarf the made up Russian/Trump collusion scandal by a million miles.  In fact, it brings to the front whether or not President Obama had any knowledge of this meeting, and whether or not if he had ordered it.

That would have been - if discovered earlier - a high crime and misdemeanor which is an impeachable offense.

Since Obama is out of office now he could still be subject to prosecution should this prove true.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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Stacking the Deck: Mueller and Investigation Team Donate Primarily to Democrats

And CNN is reporting this, so you know it's bad.

"Washington (CNN)Three members of the legal team known to have been hired so far by special counsel Robert Mueller to handle the Russia investigation have given political donations almost exclusively to Democrats, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records. 
More than half of the more than $56,000 came from just one lawyer and more than half of it was donated before the 2016 election, but two of the lawyers gave the maximum $2,700 donation to Hillary Clinton last year. 
Over the weekend, news outlets including CNN identified five attorneys that Mueller has already brought on board to help investigate potential collusion between associates of President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. 
The group includes seasoned attorneys who worked on cases ranging from Watergate to the Enron fraud scandal and have represented major American companies in court. While only five attorneys have been publicly identified as working on the Russia probe, there could be more on Mueller's team. 
Three of the five lawyers have donations in FEC records. They gave overwhelmingly to Democrats, totaling more than $53,000 since 1988. More than half of the donations came from just one of the lawyers, James Quarles, whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale. 
Quarles has given nearly $33,000 to political campaigns over the years. He gave money to Democratic presidential candidates Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In addition, Quarles gave more than $10,000 to help Democrats get elected to the House and another $10,000 on the Senate side, including money to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. 
But Quarles is also the only lawyer among Mueller's team for which records were available who ever donated to Republicans. He gave $2,500 to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz in 2015 and gave $250 to then-Sen. George Allen of Virginia in 2005. 
Only about 30% of the donations were for elections in 2016. But Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, who also left WilmerHale to work on the Russia probe, gave the maximum contribution of $2,700 to Clinton's campaign last year."
So how exactly will Mueller and his investigator be impartial when their money goes where their heart is?

Together with Mueller's strong (joined at the hip) bro-mance with James Comey, you might say the fix may be in.

Appointment of a Special Counsel was a mistake in the first place.  A knee-jerk reaction to Republicans bowing to Democrat demands.  Had they waited until after Comey's perjury filled testimony there likely would have been no Special Counsel.

All the more reason for Trump to end it now, there is no good that can come out of this charade, none at all.

Monday, June 12, 2017

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Does Robert Mueller's long friendship with Jim Comey Conflict with his Duties as Special Counsel and Should He Recuse Himself?

Byron York writes in the Washington Examiner that Special Counsel appointee Robert Mueller has a possible conflict of interest in investigating Russia/Trump/Election issues.

Fired FBI Director James Comey has emerged as the main figure in what some Democrats believe will be an obstruction of justice case against President Trump in the Trump-Russia matter. Comey's stories of conversations with the president, plus the fact that he was fired, ostensibly as a result of the Russia probe, make him potentially the star witness in the case. 
Which brings up an intriguing legal question. Comey is a good friend of special counsel Robert Mueller — such a good friend, for about 15 years now, that the two men have been described as "brothers in arms." Their work together during the controversies over Bush-era terrorist surveillance has been characterized as "deepening a friendship forged in the crucible of the highest levels of the national security apparatus after the 9/11 attacks," after which the men became "close partners and close allies throughout the years ahead." 
Now Mueller is investigating the Trump-Russia affair, in which, if the increasing buzz in the case is correct, allegations of obstruction against the president will be central. And central to those allegations — the key witness — will be the prosecutor's good friend, the now-aggrieved former FBI director 
Is that a conflict? Should a prosecutor pursue a case in which the star witness is a close friend? And when the friend is not only a witness but also arguably a victim — of firing — by the target of the investigation? And when the prosecutor might also be called on to investigate some of his friend's actions? The case would be difficult enough even without the complicating friendship.
York then asks several former DOJ attorney's for their take and gets mixed results.  Read them at the link for yourself.

However, for a fuller take that says definitively that Mueller should recuse himself check out this article at Lawnewz.

I am one who thinks he should resign, or recuse from the investigation of Comey,  because of the close relationship with him, and especially since Comey met with Mueller before his Senate Intel Committee testimony.  It's really a no-brainer.


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James Comey Becoming the Subject of the Investigation he Created

Over the course of Jim Comey's testimony last week to the Senate Intelligence Committee, it's now more apparent that he lied and fabricated the happenings leading up to his firing.

As I said Comey was fired simply because it was discovered by Trump, through other disgruntled FBI agents and sources that Comey was, in fact, the leaker he had been looking for.  Specifically, with regards to the memo, Comey supposedly created (no one can find it now), where he kept notes of his meetings with Trump.

Comey admitted during the hearing that he himself leaked them the memo, a government document that no longer belonged to him, to a friend who has since gone into hiding, to give to the NY Times.

But there are several other leaks that have appeared since Trump left office that Comey either directly or indirectly leaked info to the media, in an effort to damage Trump.

In an article on The Medium, "Comey Almost Definitely Leaked Twice, and Therefore Lied to Congress"

"MAY 11 — NYT reports that two Comey “associates” leaked information about a one-on-one dinner between Trump and Comey in which Trump asked for Comey’s loyalty. The article makes no mention of a memo, but contains information about the private conversation so detailed that it would be weird if it weren’t derived from a memo written by Comey after the dinner. It makes little sense that “associates” of Comey would remember the verbiage of the conversation with such detail, and then independently leak that verbiage without any direction from Comey himself, particularly when Comey admitted that he was willing to make such leaks only a week later. 
May 12 — Trump tweets that Comey had better hope there weren’t recordings of the dinner that would go against the quotes in the May 11 NYT article. That tweet makes a whole lot more sense now that Comey was leaking. Trump was saying to Comey: “I know you’re the leak, and I might have recordings of our actual conversation that will prove that you’re lying.”
Somewhere in between May 12-May 16 — Comey, according to Comey, wakes up in the middle of the night and feels the sudden need to leak a memo from February to the NYT. 
May 16 — NYT prints another article alleging that Trump asked Comey to leave Flynn alone. The source of this article is specifically listed as a Comey memo recorded by Comey after an Oval Office meeting in February. 
The memo was not given to the NYT, but rather read to the NYT by a Comey “associate”(notice the use of the word “associate” again). We now know that Comey gave the memo to his associate with the specific instructions to leak it to the NYT."

( Ed. Note: I've heard that there are indeed tapes, as Trump has always recorded an important business transaction, and carried that practice into the White House.  In fact, I believe that in this case he did so to Trap and bury Comey.  Trump is a smart man, he protects himself.)

So we can assume that Comey orchestrated at least two leaks to the NY Times, and so orchestrated the current investigation as he admitted during his testimony that was the goal of his second memo.

Of course, that goal of getting a Special Counsel appointed happen to be his friend Robert Mueller, his friend and confidant over the last 16 years.

As a former investigator I would say at this point it's a slam-dunk that Comey has now become a key subject of the investigation, and even more a new investigation to see if he is guilty of orchestrating a coup to overthrow the President.

In any case, calls are now coming in to have Mueller recuse himself from the case due to his relationship with a subject of the investigation.

For Comey his problem that in his zeal to get the President he might have just gotten himself - hung.

Friday, June 09, 2017

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Comey's Inconsistent Testimony on the Reason he wrote a Memo: Perjury or Bad Memory

Via Fox News:

"Lawyers for President Trump shot down ex-FBI Director James Comey's claim that a tweet from the commander-in-chief prompted him to leak a memo detailing a private conversation with Trump – and a close examination of a pre-tweet New York Times story may bolster their claim.  
During testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Comey said he was spurred to orchestrate the release of the detailed memo he wrote about a one-on-one talk with Trump after the president tweeted May 12: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
You can read the rest, but the money shot here:

 “The public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse,” the statement from Kasowitz said.  
Though Comey claimed he didn't orchestrate the leak until May 16, four days after Trump's May 12 tweet, a New York Times article from May 11 appears to track closely with the memo's contents. 
There are in fact striking similarities between that pre-tweet article and Comey's written testimony, suggesting the memo's contents may have been leaked -- by somebody -- before Trump vented on Twitter. 
Kasowitz appeared in his statement to be referencing a May 11 article, “In a Private Dinner, Trump demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.” The language contained in the article – which seemed to spur Trump’s “tapes” tweet – references Comey’s interactions with Trump that are essentially repeated in Comey's submitted testimony."
So basically the dates and reasons don't jive, and as I titled the post, either Comey has committed perjury or his memory failed him.  We're going to find out soon.

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Alan Dershowitz: History, precedent and James Comey's opening statement show that Trump did not obstruct justice

Alan Dershowitz is a liberal, but also a legal scholar and what he has to say about the Comey testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is right on.

"In 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger and five other individuals who had been indicted or convicted in connection with the Iran-Contra arms deal. The special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, was furious, accusing Bush of stifling his ongoing investigation and suggesting that he may have done it to prevent Weinberger or the others from pointing the finger of blame at Bush himself. The New York Times also reported that the investigation might have pointed to Bush himself. 
This is what Walsh said: "The Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed with the pardon of Caspar Weinberger. We will make a full report on our findings to Congress and the public describing the details and extent of this cover-up."

He goes on to relate the truth of the President's power under the Constitution when it comes to investigations by the FBI.  Under the Constitution, the President can simply tell the FBI to stop investigating any case they may be following.

For instance for all the hand wringing about Trump trying to obstruct the Russia investigation by requesting Comey to lay off Flynn and basically let him go, the fact is that Trump could have simply called Comey in, ordered him to stop the investigation, pardoned Flynn and the next day fired Comey for any reason he deemed fit.  He didn't have to give a reason, Comey worked at the pleasure of the President - period.

Therefore Trump's actions were docile compared what he legally could have done, thus not even close to obstruction or any crime. Liberals don't like that, but then they never liked the Constitution as it was written in the first place.  But that's just too tough, it's the law.




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Comey Testimony: Self-Serving Comey clears Trumps - Indicts himself

Jim Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday and he basically cleared Trump of any wrong-doing in the Russia Investigation.  Per Trump's attorney.

The largest revelation is that Comey revealed that he did, in fact, tell Trump on 3 occasions that he wasn't the subject of the investigation.

Additionally, as Trump's attorney, Marc Kasowitz outlined:


"[Comey] also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference."

"Comey's testimony also makes clear that the President never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election."

"The President never, in any form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone."

"The President also never told Mr. Comey, 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty' in any form or substance."

"Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President."

"We will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether [these] leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated."


The major revelation we learned from Comey is about that memo he wrote after he was fired.  Comey admitted to having that memo, which is a government document, detailing a classified talk he had with Trump wherein Trump reportedly asked him to consider dropping the investigation into former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.  Comey testified that he released the document to a friend, a college professor at Columbia Law school to actually leak the memo to the NY Times.

Two things to consider in this revelation.

1.  Comey was no longer a government employee and thus had no authority to give to or have leaked a document detail a private conversation with the POTUS.

2.  Moreover, Comey not only leaked the document, he actually gave it to a friend who is not known to have such clearances to possess in the first place.  Comey's astonishing admission also begs the question asking what else may he had leaks.

After the statement of Trump's attorney, Mr. Kasowitz asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to look into whether Comey had broken any laws in having the memo leaked.

More on this to come.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

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Heartbreak: Democrat's Dream of Trump's Obstruction of Russian Investigation Dies

Yesterday testimony by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers both separately said that while they won't comment on the specifics of their conversations with Trump, neither had felt pressure from the administration. "I have never felt pressured to intervene in the Russia investigation in any way," Coats told members of the Senate intelligence committee when asked about such reports.

Opps. Not what we've been hearing over the last week by anonymous sources to the Washington Post.

This directly contradicts what The Post wrote just last week. Citing those "unnamed sources", that Trump had pushed both of them to look into pushing the investigation to a close.

Both denied it happened.  So what we have since Trump was elected is a coordinated effort by the media to have Tump looked at as an obstructor of justice, a crook, and a remade Nixon.  Of course, it's not working out.

Just after they testified Comey released his written opening statement which also said little more than Trump was reassured by him that he wasn't a subject of the investigation, just as Trump said, and by the way the media denied.

Comey also said that Trump asked for loyalty from him, something that the media is running crazy with now, but nothing unusual.  Past presidents have asked the same from those who work for him.  JFK, LBJ and even Obama asked the same of their people.

So after today, when Comey says basically nothing, the media will still run their disinformation operation.  It will remain to be seen whether or not the American people will buy it.

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