Remember the old TV game show PASSWORD? It probably wouldn’t be much of a hit today because it was a quiet game that required some element of literacy and wit, but in its heyday it was a staple of daytime TV. Alan Ludden (the late husband of Betty White, for trivia fans) was the host, but each round began with an announcer saying in a low voice, “The password is…….”
So, here’s an idea: let’s play “PASSWORD 2019”! Of course, since it’s 2019, it has to be about politics, because in 2019, everything is about politics. I’ll be the announcer and say (ahem), “The password is...ACCOUNTABILITY”
What do you think the first clue should be? (And don’t say “Hillary.” There are just too many ways one’s mind can go from there, only some of which have to do with jail.) A good clue might be the word JUSTICE.
Of course, if the partner’s politics are left of center, he or she (or “ze”) might take the clue JUSTICE and guess something like SOCIAL, as in “social justice.” Someone in the middle or leaning right might guess LIBERTY, as in “liberty and justice for all.” But if I were the partner in this round, I think my first guess might very well be ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s the element of justice that has been at the top of my mind for many months –- and yours too, I’ll bet –- because it’s what has been conspicuously absent from our system of justice. We’ve seen quite a few people blatantly lie to Congress, leak classified and confidential material, destroy evidence, ignore evidence, “fix” investigations, and use fraud to obtain warrants in an attempt to affect the outcome of an election and, later, to bring down a duly-elected President of the United States. And nothing happens to them.
However, this is far from over, thanks in large part to ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes of California. He’s been like a dog with a bone on the issue of accountability, and after close to three years he’s finally tasting a bit of the meaty marrow. On Saturday, the WASHINGTON EXAMINER ran his piece “The Russian Collusion Hoax Meets Unbelievable End” (meaning the “Russia” part actually turned out to be associated with the Clinton campaign and its production of the dirty Steele “dossier”). And on Sunday, he announced that he is ready to go forward with eight criminal referrals related to the origins of the Trump/Russia investigation. “We’re prepared this week to notify the attorney general that we’re prepared to send those referrals over and brief him if he wishes to be briefed,” he said on FOX News. In other words, they’re so prepared that they’re prepared to be prepared!
He and his investigators have found as many as two dozen individuals who may be be subject to criminal referrals. All of them do involve classified or sensitive information, so he can’t go too far into detail.
Nunes broke down the referrals into three different categories during an interview with Maria Bartiromo. First, there are five of what he calls “straight-up” referrals, dealing with specific individuals and specific crimes such as lying to Congress, misleading Congress and leaking classified information. He didn’t name names but I’m sure we’re all thinking of the same group of individuals.
He said the other three are more complicated in that they include conspiracy to commit crimes. These primarily relate to the abuse of the FISA court and involve “numerous individuals.” Other acts of conspiracy relate to the manipulation of intelligence.
As closely as you and I have been following this, there’s apparently still a lot we don’t know due to its highly classified nature. As Nunes put it, “There’s so much left. Remember, the American people have only seen the pieces that have been declassified so far...[about abuse of the FISA court}...There’s still more information. I’ve said this before: This was their ‘insurance policy.’ A lot of people think the insurance policy was just the overall investigation of the Trump campaign. It’s actually much more conspiratorial than that.”
There’s a third category that Nunes called a “global leak referral,” involving the leaking of highly sensitive classified information to a very small group of reporters over the last “2-1/2-plus” years. He said they have “a pretty good idea” of who is behind these leaks. More investigation may be needed, however, to pin down additional leakers, as reporters were in the habit of citing anonymous sources (“current and former senior officials”). Nunes said there were individuals within the DOJ and FBI who wanted to be, in effect, “the next Deep Throat,” the person who, in his own mind, is “leaking classified information for the betterment of all society.”
Last year, a joint Republican-led task force from the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight Committee started investigating this, but at this point Nunes is looking to Attorney General Williams Barr (“a grownup is finally in the room”) to go forward and “do a clean-up.” Public support is growing thanks to a decision by task force member Doug Collins of Georgia to release numerous transcripts of congressional testimony (not the classified stuff) that justify our long-held suspicions of wrongdoing.
Nunes pointed out that Congress can only investigate, not indict, so Attorney General Barr will have to get the Justice Department involved in a criminal investigation (if he hasn’t done that already) before there can be...what’s that password? Right: ACCOUNTABILITY.
Incidentally, Bill Barr will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee (chaired by Jerrold Nadler) on Tuesday. It’s a routine, public appearance, meant to deal with budgetary issues, but who knows if they’ll even talk about the budget? Democrats disappointed with Barr’s summary of the Mueller report will undoubtedly take the opportunity to give him grief about it, try to discredit him, and demand –- even through a completely unnecessary subpoena –- that the entire, unredacted report be made public, even though we know it concludes that there was no “collusion” (conspiracy) with Russia, and even though it contains classified material and not-to-be-released grand jury testimony.
Nunes said he wants the Mueller report to be made public, “but not just the Mueller report,” because some of the people who wrote it were involved in the conspiracies he’s including in these eight criminal referrals. As an example, he pointed out that Mueller’s lead attorney and another top lawyer were in the chain of custody for the Steele “dossier,” asserting that it was impossible for them not to have known it was just dirt from the Democrats. The report is written to fit their narrative, he said. (He calls it “the Mueller dossier.”) In fact, it’s MORE important to have the information underlying the report than it is to have the report itself. We need it all to get the complete picture.
You say, "Comey wasn’t supposed to make public any allegations that weren’t going to be charged."
Not sure this is correct. My understanding is that the FBI is an investigative agency. It's supposed to send its conclusions to the DOJ, which makes the decision whether or not to indict and actually files the indictment in a court. In short, I don't think the FBI is supposed to make ANY announcements. Even if the DOJ decides to indict, any announcement it makes would be governed by the need to avoid pre-trial publicity that would make it difficult for the accused to get a fair trial. Correct me if I'm wrong.
From the Gov:
As I understand it, the FBI is not supposed to make public any allegations that aren’t going to be charged. But you are absolutely correct in saying that the FBI is an investigative agency and does not technically do the indicting. That’s up to the Department of Justice. Of course, it’s obvious by now that AG Loretta Lynch wasn’t about to charge Hillary because “the fix was in.” Comey and the other top-tier people at the FBI knew it.
So Comey needed to shut up, because you are also correct in saying the FBI is not supposed to make any announcements about the case, just give its recommendation to the attorney general, who takes it from there. I appreciate you writing about this, because I can see that it would have made my point better to use a different hypothetical and say that LYNCH (as opposed to Comey) could have offered a listing of allegations against Hillary if LYNCH (as opposed to Comey) had decided to press charges.
Comey’s public detailing of Hillary's misdeeds was inappropriate, as was making a public statement that he wouldn’t recommend indictment. He just messed the whole thing up royally, didn’t he? (Hard to say if this disaster was born of gross negligence or just extreme carelessness on his part, ha!) Gosh, you’d almost think that someone who screwed up that badly deserved to be fired...
Thanks again for writing!
Here’s something you probably didn’t expect me to say: I think Joe Biden is getting a bum rap and I’m here to lend him a hand. Well, maybe he doesn’t need a hand—that’s what’s got him into so much trouble…his hands. But I will lend him a little understanding. Joe Biden has always been a close talker and an affectionate guy known for hugs, pats on the shoulder and back, and kisses on the cheek. He’s never been accused of inviting women to come alone to his hotel room or office. We’ve all seen photos of Joe Biden hugging on people—both men and women—at public events where 100 cameras are shooting from every angle. Let’s be honest—if you’re a sexual predator, you don’t go after people in the most public places on earth where there’s more press than there are participants or while standing next to the so-called “victim’s” spouse, parents, or boyfriend. I actually heard on a cable newscast an anchor describe one of his latest accusers as a “victim.” What was she a victim of? Biden apparently touched foreheads with her and then hugged her, as she put it, too long. Did she have a stopwatch on him? Hey, there are real cases of sexual assault in our society and they need to be reported and criminally prosecuted, but for women to come forward years after they got the “full-Biden” greeting and claim that’s disqualifying for the White House is just nuts. The man has been in public office since 1972 and THAT might be disqualifying, but even now, he’s not being accused of driving around elementary schools in a kidnapper van offering free candy to 9 year olds. He’s been accused by women, most of whom seem to be supporting another candidate for President in 2020, for being touchy-feely. I grew up in the South where we do tend to hug strangers upon greeting, say things like darling, sugar, and honey to people who serve us coffee in the diner, and even kiss folks on the cheek…the cheek on the face, mind you. Maybe it’s a cultural thing…or a generational thing, but I’ve met Biden before, and he was a warm and friendly guy, even though we weren’t political pals. To his credit, he didn’t sniff my hair, but maybe because I didn’t have much more hair than he did so he figured it wasn’t worth it. I’ve been to receptions where people got too close—especially when they took a bite out of an hors d’ oeuvre and spewed the cracker on me or had the breath of a hippopotamus. And occasionally in a photo line, I’ve had a lady, usually too old to make it interesting, innocently and accidentally put her hand on my back, but actually—let’s just say—WAY down my back resulting in an awkward moment. Perhaps she enjoyed it, but she was probably oblivious to it. Me? I was more amused than assaulted. The simple remedy for someone getting into our personal space is to stiffen up and step back. It works most of the time. If it doesn’t, a slap across the face usually fixes it, but make sure it leaves a nice visible handprint. As they say in the Bronx, “Whaddya gonna do?, Huh?”
I would never vote for Biden, but it has nothing to do with his public displays of affection. It’s his once pro-life position turning radically pro-abortion; his views on higher taxes, more government, Biblical marriage, and foreign policy. But it seems a bit disingenuous for people to paint him as some kind of guy who ought to be on the sex registry just because he’s a bit on the friendly side. Politics is crazy enough without candidates being attacked for doing what is natural to them in a personal greeting. If you’re a Democrat and you don’t want Biden to be your nominee, I’m sure you can find plenty of reasons to choose someone else. But find something better than criminalizing him for being as affectionate as a Labrador retriever.
One of the many things I love about capitalism is that when some ginned-up controversy pops up, politicians apologize over it and talking heads scold and pontificate over it, but entrepreneurs find a way to make money off it. In the case of Joe Biden’s roamin’ hands and rushin' fingers, this coffee company run by veterans found a hilarious way to turn it into a viral ad.
A New York City-based play that’s currently casting reportedly put out a since-retracted ad saying that white actors would have to undergo an anti-racism workshop and would be paid less than people of color. Big problem with that: paying people based on their race is highly illegal under federal laws passed before the Democratic Party went insane.
To be honest, I’m skeptical of this story. Read the entire thing: the ad sounds as if someone from the Onion or the Babylon Bee set out to write a parody of an ad for an extremely “woke” social justice radical theater piece. The fact that it came out around April 1 might be significant. Then again, maybe not. I didn’t even recount any absurd April Fool’s Day stories this year because it’s become impossible to tell them apart from both the fake news stories that appear every day and the absurd real news stories that appear every day.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the Democratic Presidential field is engaged in a “sprint to the extreme left” to try to capture the nomination, but those far-left views will kill them in the general election. Let’s hope so.
Every time one of them comes up with an insane proposal, another one says, “Hold my bong!” and one-ups it. Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders pushed the envelope a little further by calling for voting rights for felons. Not felons who’ve paid their debt to society, as Elizabeth Warren proposed, but passing out ballots to felons who are still in prison (boy, does he know his natural constituency or what?) Not to give them any ideas, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if “Beto” O’Rourke called for handing out voter registration cards at banks so people could vote while robbing them. They could call it the “Robber Voter Act.”
In fact, why stop there? Democrats think everyone has a right to have their voices heard in our elections (unless they’re Republicans in less populous states; then their Electoral votes should be taken away and given to California and New York.)
So I next expect to hear calls for absentee ballots to be sent to everyone on Earth (after all, voting is a human right, and they’re all humans – besides, if illegal immigrants should get a say in choosing our leaders, why shouldn’t people in other countries, simply because they’re not here yet?)
Know who else is human? Dead people. They should be allowed to vote for Democrats, too! Sure, a lot of them already do, buy why not all of them?
While we’re at it, why not let pets vote? If they’re going to be held in servitude against their wills, then they should have a voice in their “masters’” government! This likely won’t affect the election outcome much, since I assume that dogs (loyal, hard-working, dedicated to homeland security and police work) would vote Republican and cancel out the Democratic cat vote (lazy, ungrateful, expect other people to take care of them). Parrots would be the swing vote: they’re very intelligent, so they might be conservatives; but they also repeat any silly thing they’re told, so they might be liberals. And the parrots who expect the world to give them a cracker are definitely “progressives.”