We interrupt our regularly scheduled Hunter Biden update to bring you this story about Adam Schiff’s latest move in the endless game of chess between Democrats and Republicans. There’s a limit to how much sleaze and oiliness we care to include in any one edition of the newsletter, and Schiff alone puts us at the upper reaches of that, so Hunter will have to wait till tomorrow. Hunter’s getting riper by the day, but he’ll keep a little longer.
Anyway, California Rep. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (shudder), wants an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which the House plans to take up this week. The language would block Congress from oversight of the military and National Guard in some cases of domestic deployment.
This appears to be Schiff’s latest move in anticipation of a GOP win in November. The idea is to preemptively block Republicans from their constitutional power of congressional oversight. That's a big deal. As Tucker Carlson explained Wednesday night, the amendment would hide information collected by the U.S. military for use in congressional investigations. “That would include information about Afghanistan, vaccine mandates, and January 6,” he said.
Tucker cited Ray Epps, a mysterious participant in events relating to January 6, as an example of someone about whom information might be hidden under the authority of this amendment. (He also noted that, by the way, Epps was profiled Wednesday in THE NEW YORK TIMES as a “victim of a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory.” This is bizarre, considering Epps is on video strongly urging people to storm the Capitol building and yet has never been arrested.)
Julie Kelly of AMERICAN GREATNESS --- who literally wrote the book on January 6, called JANUARY 6 --- told Tucker that this amendment “will enable the Department of Defense under Joe Biden to conceal information collected related to, really, anything that the Defense Department has been involved in, especially related to domestic law enforcement which we know is already unlawful.” She called it “very sketchy.” Military experts she’s talked to aren’t sure of all the implications, but knowing Schiff is behind it, she’s naturally wary. “With Adam Schiff’s name attached to it,” she said, it will no doubt be used “to cover up things that the American public deserve to know.”
It’s easy to see how the amendment might be used to hide information involving the federal government’s illegal use of the U.S. military to deal with domestic issues. It’s also easy to imagine Schiff and his cohorts scrambling to cover their tracks, knowing the GOP can’t wait to thoroughly investigate their scruffy hides.
As the WASHINGTON TIMES reports, “The exemption from congressional oversight is narrowly focused on the domestic deployment of troops, but Mr. Schiff’s free pass for the Pentagon could impact a range of oversight from border security to the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.”
“This is the opposite of a good governance and transparency amendment,” said Charles Stimson, deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal Judicial Studies and manager of the National Security Law Program at the Heritage Foundation.
“And it really stinks to high heaven.”
He said the measure would block the courts and Congress from oversight of the military, and information collected by the military, if their deployment is deemed in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
We looked it up. A posse comitatus is a group of people mobilized into service –- as in a western movie, by the sheriff –- to suppress lawlessness. The Posse Comitatus Act prevents the use of the U.S. military in civilian law enforcement, “except where expressly authorized by law.” This restriction on the military is an American tradition that has been codified for 143 years. It states: “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
There’s another, separate statute that applies to the Navy and Marine Corps. The Coast Guard is not under such restriction and is used for maritime law enforcement. Members of the National Guard aren’t typically covered by the Comitatus Act, either, because they usually report to the governor of their state. That means they’re allowed to participate in law enforcement if doing so is consistent with state law. HOWEVER, when the Guard are called into federal service, or “federalized,” they become part of the federal armed forces, which means they are bound by the Posse Comitatus Act until they are returned to state control. For January 6, they were federalized, so this amendment seemingly would apply to them.
The amendment was passed in 2021 by voice vote in Congress, slipping by the Republicans with no opposition at that time, but was later cut from the House-Senate compromise bill that Congress passed in December. Schiff wants to put it back in.
But now, seeing that they’ll likely be in the majority next year and realizing the limitations this amendment would likely impose, congressional Republicans are getting wise to this move by Schiff. The amendment could impact their planned investigations of the surge at the border that’s taken place under Biden, preventing them from interrogating National Guard about unlawful orders they’d been given at the federal level.
As noted above, the amendment might also limit Republicans from looking into the security failures on January 6, 2021. Republicans want to know the circumstances surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rejection of help from the National Guard that was offered by Trump two days before the riot.
Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee and one of those rejected by Pelosi for her J6 committee, says this is Democrats’ attempt to tie Republicans’ hands in advance of their taking control of the House. “Yes, I’m very concerned about it, and Republicans need to fight back against it in the House and Senate to make sure it doesn’t pass,” he said.
Speaking of investigations, in case you were wondering what John Durham’s been up to lately, he’s been busy preparing for Igor Danchenko’s October trial, the one that focuses on activities surrounding the Steele “dossier,” for which Danchenko was the main source. In breaking news, Durham has asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to issue 30 subpoenas.
Here’s the full story at AMERICAN GREATNESS. We’ll have more details soon. Interestingly, Danchenko’s attorneys are from the firm of Schertler & Oronato, another firm that worked for the Clinton campaign; Durham is asking the court to consider potential conflicts of interest, which look to us to be as huge and fishy-smelling as anything else involving Hillary Clinton.