Hopping into the Way-Back to answer reader's question about Mueller
In response to my commentary about Trump’s ample justification for distrusting his own intelligence community, reader Mary S. Rowan asked a question: How was Mueller chosen to be special counsel? What process was used to choose him?
That inspired me to get in my Way-Back machine and revisit that appointment, with the benefit of all we’ve learned since.
Here we go! But first, a quick pit stop, to March 21 of this year: Alan Dershowitz makes the case that no special counsel should have been appointed in the first place. “There was no probable cause,” he says, “at that point, to believe crimes had been committed…As I’ve said from day one, there should have been a special investigative commission, non-partisan, appointed by Congress, with subpoena power to look into the role of Russia in trying to influence American elections and do something about preventing it in the future.” He says what we have now is a lot of “finger-pointing” and “the criminalizing of political differences.” (Of course, he has no idea on March 21 how horrible this is going to get.)
Okay, let’s keep going, to June 8, 2017: Fired FBI Director Comey testifies under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee and admits under oath that he leaked FBI work product (personal notes of his meeting with Trump) to a professor friend, who later turns out to be a “freelance” FBI employee, with the EXPRESSED PURPOSE of getting a special counsel appointed. In his notes he had recorded that Trump said of the Michael Flynn investigation, “I hope you can let this go,” which to me doesn’t sound anything like obstruction. But that’s how Comey decided to interpret it.
Now, let’s go all the way back to May 17, 2017: The White House, given only 30 minutes’ notice, is “surprised” by the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to investigate Russian “meddling” and possible “collusion between Russian agents and associates of President Trump.” In making his announcement, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Jeff Sessions is recused) says he has made no determination that crimes had been committed, but that a special counsel is necessary “for the American people to have full confidence” in the outcome of the investigation.” Translation: even though there’s no evidence of a crime (when that is supposed to be required), the appointment of a special counsel is in the public interest, so I am just going to do it.
As related by the LA Times, Mueller is “a former federal prosecutor who served as U.S. attorney in San Francisco under President Clinton and was named FBI director by President George W. Bush” and “well regarded as a nonpartisan figure. He was FBI director for 12 years, kept on by President Obama.” It goes on to say, “Mueller worked closely with James B. Comey, his successor as FBI director, who was fired last week by Trump.”
A Washington Post story provides interesting context by saying, “The decision to appoint a special counsel comes A DAY (emphasis mine) after revelations that notes taken by Comey in February recount a conversation with the president in which Trump asked him to drop an investigation into his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.” (Wrong, WaPo. Trump only said he hoped that would happen.)
By the way, I turned up a potential conflict of interest for Mueller that may or may not be significant in light of Paul Manafort’s legal travails. The law firm which employed Mueller, WilmerHale, had represented Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Mueller hired away WilmerHale colleagues James Quarles and Aaron Zebley. That doesn’t seem kosher, in that they represented him before they prosescuted him. No one thinks about that now, except (one hopes) Manafort’s current lawyers.
Anyway, Mary, I hope this little journey back in time has helped clarify what was going on when Mueller was appointed. As for “process,” I don’t think there was one. Sessions was recused, Rosenstein had huge conflicts of interests but didn’t recuse, Democrats were screaming for a special counsel, Rosenstein (wrongly) thought it was in the public interest to appoint one (though a convincing case has since been made by Steven Calabresi and Mark Levin that it was an unconstitutional abuse of power), Rosenstein did so, he made the choice, and he chose someone who was praised at the time for impartiality. Democrats cheered triumphantly and ordered drinks all around.
Importantly, we now know that when Comey intentionally leaked information to trigger a special counsel, he had in mind that Mueller would be the likely choice. If that sounds like a set-up to you, you’re not alone.
Senator Paul defends President Trump
Sen. Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans in Washington defending President Trump against the avalanche of criticism for being too nice to Vladimir Putin. Paul says the over-the-top “treason” and “impeachment” talk is just the rantings of pro-war critics who have been persistently opposed to Trump anyway, and that “it’s gotten so ridiculous that someone has to stand up and say we should try to engage even our adversaries and open up our lines of communication.” Paul had previously downplayed the outrage over Russian meddling in the US elections by noting that the US meddles in Russia’s and other nations’ elections, and it’s being going on for years with the media not caring until Trump won.
I think maybe it’s hard for some of us to get carried away by all the harrumphing because we’ve lived too long and seen too much. We’re expected to get up in arms over Trump being conciliatory to Putin after living through eight years of Obama letting him do whatever he wanted and the media barely saying a word. We’ve lived through half a century of leftists apologizing for Russia (Bernie Sanders honeymooned in the USSR, for gosh sakes), demonizing Republicans for wanting to fight instead of engage our enemies, slamming the CIA for its alleged sneaky colonialism and for “lying us into war in Iraq” with bad intelligence about Saddam's WMDs and attacking the FBI for any number of things, even mocking its longtime leader J. Edgar Hoover as a transvestite (which if true, would today make his critics irredeemably politically incorrect.) Now, all of a sudden, they’re yelling that it’s “treason” to disparage our intelligence agencies and engage with Russia? That’s funny, when they did it, it was “patriotism.”
For all the Democrats going berserk over Trump being too nice to Putin, consider this: Maybe Trump had no choice because, when they were behind closed doors, Putin pressed that “Reset” button Hillary gave him.
Nothing new from Democrats
If you think the Democratic “OUTRAGE” machine is anything new, I’m indebted to an anonymous poster at the Free Republic message board who found this: It’s an article from Rolling Stone, slamming the Republican President for “flubbing” his big meeting with Russia’s President, depicting him as a out-of-his-depth little boy who was completely outfoxed by his Russian counterpart. Except this was about Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1986. Yep, our poor, outmatched Republican President sure was taken to the cleaners by Russia. Say, how did things work out for Russia after that?
This article is well worth revisiting, not only as a reminder that smug liberals never, never learn not to underestimate Republican Presidents, but also as a reminder of just how wrong a self-satisfied liberal “journalist” can be. This article fairly drips with scorn and condescension for Reagan and his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), sneeringly nicknamed “Star Wars” and mischaracterized as putting weapons into space. The writer, William Grieder, treats it as a "pie in the sky" fantasy but because of Reagan’s foolish childlike belief in it, he refuses to do the sensible thing and give it up to get the USSR to agree to a nuclear arms reduction deal.
Grieder quotes Democrat Les Aspin as saying it was “cuckoo” for Reagan not to agree to give up SDI as a bargaining chip: “Trading SDI for a ten-year, fifty-percent reduction in nuclear missiles was worth it. But the president’s got this idea in his head — like no tax increases — that SDI is going to protect the world and that’s it. SDI is not going to protect the world. It just isn’t.”
Would anyone like to run that statement by Israel to see what they have to say about it?
Wow, these people never get tired of being wrong or get any less smug when they are consistently proven wrong. And yet, they keep telling us that we’re on “the wrong side of history.” I don’t think they’d know the right side of history if there were a neon sign pointing at it.
GoFundMe.com is one website that really has helped make the Internet a worthwhile invention. By giving a worldwide stage to small, local charities and needy families, it’s helped harness the power of many small donations to make a big difference. The problem is, the site now has so many fundraisers that it’s hard to decide which ones deserve support.
In some ways, that depends on your interests. There are families seeking help with medical bills or groups trying to help veterans and their families (search for VFW, and you’ll find many worthy pages seeking to help renovate or keep local VFW halls open.) There are fundraisers to help eradicate just about every disease or to help with recovery from natural disasters. There are countless pages to help rescues for abused and abandoned animals (a good friend of mine supports this one, so I’ll give them a plug: https://www.gofundme.com/rickiesrescuefund) With so many worthy causes, how do you choose who to help?
I can't answer that, but I will say this: If you are one of the people who actually went to GoFundMe.com and not only contributed to paying the cost of hauling that stupid Trump Baby balloon around America (a stunt that’s a far bigger embarrassment to the childish nimrods who thought of it than it will ever be to President Trump) – and who not only gave more than double the original goal, forking over $10,000 so far that could have fed the homeless or paid veterans’ medical bills or paid abused animals’ vet bills – then please do not ever try to tell me that you are a member of the party of compassion and intelligence. You’re actually a member of the “A Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted” Party.
RELATED READING: Evening Edition - July 16
You’d think that if someone took time off work to go out into the streets and protest the policies of the leader of a country that isn’t even their own, that they would at least know what his policies are. But you’d be wrong on two counts: (1.) They had no idea what policies they were protesting (one seemed to think Trump is responsible for the weather); and (2.) You’re assuming they have jobs to take time off from.
John Hinderaker at the Powerline blog identifies today’s virtue-signaling “progressive” company doing something stupid that they seem to think will save the environment and animals -- but will actually make virtually no difference to the environment, simply result in microscopically fewer animals being bred, and annoy their clients. I’ll let their new policy be a hilarious surprise, but here’s a hint: if you’ve got a lunch meeting with one of their representatives, order the fish or the veggie plate, because if you order a burger or a chicken sandwich, you’ll be picking up your own check. Now, there’s a great way to win over new clients!
While we’re on the subject of bowing to foreign leaders, no, President Trump and the First Lady did not violate protocol by shaking Queen Elizabeth’s hand instead of bowing. We settled that issue in the 1700s. Maybe “progressive” schools don’t teach that in history class anymore.
A reminder: while Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) are in full meltdown mode over the “assault on our democracy” represented by Russian hackers allegedly getting into the DNC email server, Donna Brazile’s upcoming book “Hacks” reveals that the Dems weren’t always so concerned about security. In fact, she claims the DNC already knew at the time that its servers were being hacked by Russians, but they kept on using them anyway because taking them down to fortify security when Bernie Sanders was already dealing blows to Hillary in the primaries might have led to her suffering even more humiliating defeats.
This suggests two things that all the rest of us should already know: (1.) The DNC was under the control of Hillary and working on getting her elected, not keeping the primaries fair and honest; and (2.) the intensity of Democratic OUTRAGE over Russia “assaulting our democracy” depends entirely on whether they think it might have cost them some votes.
Why are they?
Have you ever noticed how much liberals like to cast aspersions of homosexuality on Republicans? It’s as if they think being gay is something shameful and disgusting. Why are liberals so homophobic?
Soros funding protests?!? Say it isn't so
Wait, you mean George Soros’ money is financing these hysterical leftist protests against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court? I’m so shocked, you could knock me over with a hummingbird feather!