I thought we had settled that last fall, but Friday last, Chris Matthews couldn't stop at needling Mike Flynn for pleading guilty to lying to the sledstvie after leading Republicans in "Lock Her Up" cheers.

Perhaps he had to put in that "she won the election" line as an act of contrition to keep his entire travelling circus of Democrat hangers-on on his panels after speaking the truth about deplorable-shaming the normals.  (And why, CNN, did you move the more edifying S.E. Cupp panel to an earlier time slot, meaning I have less reason to avoid Tingles and his spittle-flecked rants after supper?  Yeah, I know, there's an off switch.)

But make no mistake, the point is for the special investigator to gather enough information to make articles of impeachment a possibility.
Since there is no collusion case, we can safely assume Mueller is primarily scrutinizing President Trump with an eye toward making a case of obstructing an FBI investigation. This also makes sense in light of the pleas that have been taken.

Obstruction itself is a process crime — i.e., it relates to interference in the investigation of an underlying transaction that may or may not be criminal. In the first point, above, we noted that prosecutors generally do not let a cooperator settle a case by pleading guilty to a mere process crime. But if the main case the prosecutor is trying to build is itself a process crime, such as obstruction, then it is not all that damaging that the witnesses have pled guilty only to process crimes. The theme of such a prosecution is that the investigative process must be protected, not that some terrible underlying crime (like an espionage conspiracy) has been committed. Witnesses such as Flynn and Papadopoulos would therefore not be made to look like they had gotten a pass on serious offenses; they would look like they had owned up to corrupting the process and are now helping the prosecutor against the principal corruption target.

Mueller’s theory appears to be straightforward: The FBI was investigating Russian meddling in the election and the possibility of Trump-campaign complicity in it.
Or something like that.  Whether there's enough to persuade a divided House to draw up the articles, let alone a divided Senate to convict and remove, remains to be seen. "When executive powers are abused, Congress retains the constitutional authority to impeach and remove the president."

Maybe that's stupid.  As Glenn "Insta Pundit" Reynolds quips: "when the voice of reason is Jeet Heer in The New Republic."
The most promising route for stopping Trump, then, is through the ballot box. Democrats need a convincing platform and effective organization to win elections at every level. If the party can win back Congress in 2018, it can immediately start hamstringing Trump’s presidency without resorting to the unlikely path of impeachment. Democrats can launch investigations into Trump’s many improper acts. They can stall his nominees, especially in the courts. They can also start laying down rules for reining in the imperial presidency, including the thermonuclear monarchy, so that no future commander-in-chief has the dangerous power Trump possesses.
The Democrats are the Orthodox Priests in the Cult of the Presidency, so this advice, while sensible, is likely to be from Jeet's screen to the Croly Ghost's eyes.  "A Democratic agenda of reining in presidential power will give more lasting victories than mere impeachment, which is unlikely to succeed and would only address a symptom, not the cause, of the cancer that’s ravaging American politics."  (The heresy, the heresy!) But that's a rant for another day.

As far as the articles of impeachment, if ever there are any, well, color Alan Dershowitz skeptical.  As far as the communication with Russian officials goes, well, maybe we should just obey good laws.
If [the Logan Act] were good law, former Presidents Reagan and Carter would have been prosecuted: Reagan for negotiating with Iran’s ayatollahs when he was president-elect, to delay releasing the American hostages until he was sworn in; Carter for advising Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to reject former President Clinton’s peace offer in 2000-2001. Moreover, Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Dennis Rodman and others who have negotiated with North Korea and other rogue regimes would have gone to prison.

So there was nothing criminal about Flynn’s request of [Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei] Kislyak, even if he were instructed to do so by higher-ups in the Trump transition team. The same is true of his discussions regarding sanctions. The president-elect is entitled to have different policies about sanctions and to have his transition team discuss them with Russian officials.
And how credible, dear reader, is a state's witness who has copped to ... lying?
The second question is why did Mueller charge Flynn only with lying? The last thing a prosecutor ever wants to do is to charge a key witness with lying.

A witness such as Flynn who has admitted he lied — whether or not to cover up a crime — is a tainted witness who is unlikely to be believed by jurors who know he’s made a deal to protect himself and his son. They will suspect that he is not only “singing for his supper” but that he may be “composing” as well — that is, telling the prosecutor what he wants to hear, even if it is exaggerated or flat-out false. A “bought” witness knows that the “better” his testimony, the sweeter the deal he will get. That’s why prosecutors postpone the sentencing until after the witness has testified, because experience has taught them that you can’t “buy” a witness; you can only “rent” them for as long as you have the sword of Damocles hanging over them.

So, despite the banner headlines calling the Flynn guilty plea a “thunderclap,” I think it may be a show of weakness on the part of the special counsel rather than a sign of strength. So far he has had to charge potential witnesses with crimes that bear little or no relationship to any possible crimes committed by current White House incumbents.
Makes one think it's an endless squirrel-hunting season. We shall see how it plays out.

There may be nothing more at work than, as David French suggests, a lack of viewpoint diversity in the Panem Washington bureaucracy.
In other words, it looks like a low-integrity, reckless, biased bureaucrat has played an important role in two of the most important and politically charged criminal investigations of the new century. Yes, it’s good that [special investigator Robert] Mueller removed [FBI agent Peter] Strzok when he discovered the text messages. [He was fishing off the company pier -- ed.] No, Strzok is not solely responsible for the conclusions reached in either investigation. But his mere presence hurts public confidence in the FBI, and it does so in a way that further illustrates a persistent and enduring national problem: America’s permanent bureaucracy is unacceptably partisan.
That's not stopping the people who want to believe there's a slow-motion coup, or perhaps a Crolyite Restoration in progress.  Consider Peter Roff for U.S. News.
There are lots of powerful people in both political parties and around the globe who didn't want Trump to win the election. They were afraid, and rightly so, that he meant it when he said he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump is the enemy of the plans they have made at places like Davos and other global gatherings where the left-liberal clique that has run the world since the 1960s gathers to plot out the future course of events.

Trump threatens their interests. It's a matter of simple economics. As so he must be removed, one way or another. Mueller is their tool for doing so, whether the president actually broke the law or not.
And the legions of ditto-heads all across the fruited plain received their confirmation earlier today. "The Washington establishment is attempting to overturn a duly constituted legal election, because they don’t like the outcome. And they are stopping at nothing."  Whether that is true or not, it is likely that the Washington Establishment types have a more inflated opinion of their appeal once you get away from the coasts than they really do.  And there is enough about these ongoing investigations, and the sources of the agitation to continue them, to give the impression that there is more than a little of putting the deplorables back in their place at work.

No comments: