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Today's Commentary: Rosenstein vs. House Intel: this is not gonna be pretty --- Andrew McCarthy sees yet another double standard -- Cowed by trolls -- Domino's Pizza steps up -- Pro-Trump PAC sues FEC -- Evening Edition - Daily Verse
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While media attention has been focused on the astounding events unfolding quickly in Singapore, a longtime standoff between Congress and the DOJ is coming to a head. And like an erupting skin lesion, the result is not going to be pretty.
We’ve learned that at a tense meeting held in January of this year, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reacted to the possibility of being hit with contempt charges by threatening to subpoena the emails, phone records and other documents of Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff. In emails reviewed by Catherine Herridge at FOX News, the scene was characterized by aides as a “personal attack.”
One committee staffer summed it up: “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening….Also having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to ‘subpoena your calls and emails’ was downright chilling.” The DOJ will try to defend this threat as a call for “discovery” in the event Rosenstein is held in contempt of Congress –- a richly deserved charge at this point –- but the staffer read it as “a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us.” FOX News’ Gregg Jarrett has called it “likely an abuse of power and obstruction.”
The staffer’s account is disputed by representatives of the FBI and DOJ. Alleged Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just defended Rosenstein publicly against charges of threatening, saying, “We do believe that we have tried to be cooperative with them and made progress as the months have gone by, and, in fact, have had some good relationships with top members of Congress.”
I guess by “good relationships” he’s referring to the mysterious passivity of “pod people” Trey Gowdy and Paul Ryan. Otherwise, only another pod person would call the relationship between the DOJ/FBI and Congress “good,” and in the strangely subdued video clip of Sessions, he does appear to have been taken over. So what is it going to take for Congress to get key documents relating to the FBI’s Russia investigation? After all the fighting for months and months over their release, one has to ask: what in the blue blazes are they trying to hide?
Things have only gotten more contentious in recent weeks. Tom Dupree, former principal deputy assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, views the attempts at intimidation as symptomatic of not just a deteriorating relationship, but much worse: “a massive breakdown in the system.” Committee Chairman Devin Nunes had set Tuesday as the deadline for the receipt of documents relating to the use of a “confidential human source” (SPY) to SPY on some associates of the Trump campaign, and now Tuesday has come and gone. Rosenstein and others have offered to have yet another talk-fest on Thursday –- apparently without the documents in question. If this is just one more verbal briefing without the actual evidence, it is unacceptable. (Incidentally, Thursday is the date set for the release of the Inspector General’s report.)
House Oversight Committee members Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan appeared on Tuesday’s Laura Ingraham show and responded to Sessions’ lame defense of Rosenstein, outlining the many instances of documents being withheld or redacted for no acceptable reason. Jordan slammed Rosenstein for threatening to go after their communications when they’re just doing their constitutional duty. Meadows pointed out that since they are a separate branch of government, the DOJ doesn’t have the right to come after them in that way unless they’re under “some kind of criminal investigation.”
He said Sessions doesn’t know what he’s talking about. “I’m here to tell you,” he added, “we’re fed up with it.”
He announced that they were planning to file a resolution on Wednesday to compel the DOJ to turn over the documents. Since a subpoena hasn’t worked, they want the whole House of Representatives to pass their resolution, theorizing that this will add more force. Really?
Obviously, they don’t want to file contempt or impeachment charges unless all other efforts have been exhausted. But surely they know the DOJ is not going to comply. It has drawn the line. We can see now that there really is a “deep state,” and this is is the hill it apparently chooses to die on, most likely protecting...someone...who did...something...unspeakably bad.
Andrew McCarthy sees yet another double standard
By Mike Huckabee
It seems the past few days, the predominant theme of my commentary has been “double standards.” As I sit and watch the almost surreal satellite pictures from Singapore of President Trump and Kim Jong-Un shaking hands and putting pen to paper on a denuclearization deal, it’s impossible not to think of that again. The vicious rants and constant negativity we see in the media against Trump --- on “news” shows, late-night “comedy,” even the Tony Awards --- contrast vividly with the images coming into our living rooms from Singapore, the ones showing Trump doing the kind of thing we put this tough negotiator in office to do.
And we can’t help imagining the kind of reception it would have gotten in the media if it had even been attempted by President Obama. Watch five minutes of the Trump-in-Singapore coverage on MSNBC, if you can stand it, and then think how worshipful the coverage would have been for the previous President. Obama got a Nobel Prize for doing, well, nothing, so I suppose they’d have had to invent a new Incredible Amazing Super-Genius Nobel Prize for him if he’d done this.
But while we wait for more details of the North Korea deal, there’s yet another double standard to take a look at. Andrew C. McCarthy points out a very interesting one relating to the Russia investigation, observing that the same journalists who slam Trump as thinking he’s “above the law” for not submitting to questioning by the special counsel are outraged that the Justice Department would investigate journalists to find the source of classified government leaks.
But if it’s okay to investigate the President of the United States, why not them? Are THEY above the law? “Whether we’re talking about journalists or presidents,” McCarthy says, “the situation is the same. An investigative demand is made on people whose jobs are so important to the functioning of our self-governing republic that they are given some protection, but not absolute immunity, from the obligation to provide evidence to the grand jury.”
From examining email and phone records, the Justice Department determined that Ali Watkins, a 26-year-old reporter for The New York Times, was sleeping with her source, who happened to be the security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, 57-year-old James A. Wolfe. This reporter must have hit the Mother Lode, source-wise, because Wolfe’s job was receiving, maintaining and managing all classified intelligence shared with the committee by U.S. intelligence agencies, and his avocation seems to have been leaking information.
According to Wolfe’s indictment, he exchanged “tens of thousands of electronic communications” with her, including texts and phone calls, and even “encrypted cell phone applications.” Not only were the communications decidedly anti-Trump, but one tip he gave her about Carter Page being approached by Russian spies in 2013 was just the thing needed by the Clinton campaign to give a reason besides the unverified “dossier” to get a FISA warrant against Page. (It should be noted that Page had cooperated with investigators to help them arrest the Russian operatives.)
When questioned by the FBI, Wolfe lied about his relationship with Watkins (correcting the record when presented with evidence) and also about giving her non-public information or leads. He also denied contacting other reporters, but the email and phone records apparently say otherwise.
To get this evidence, the DOJ used subpoenas to telecommunications companies pertaining to the journalists, but took a cautious route: no content of the conversations, except, it appears, on Wolfe’s end. It’s likely he was using devices issued to him for government business (you know, the kind of devices Hillary was supposed to be using).
Anyway, McCarthy points out that in 1972 the Supreme Court held that journalists are legally obligated to testify when subpoenaed and to answer questions relevant to a criminal investigation. (The promise of confidentiality they give their sources is not legally enforceable.) But because a free press is so important to our republic, certain very stringent conditions must be present for reporters to be required to give up information, and they are rarely made to. In the Wolfe case, those conditions were met.
Anyway, journalists who think their job is so important that it rises above any legal challenge need to recognize that the President’s job is arguably the most important job on the planet, and if they deserve the deference they get, they should acknowledge that he deserves some, too. They seem to forget he has a job to do –- as he’s trying to do right now to bring peace and stability to the Korean peninsula –- and that it will be bad for the country if the “Russia” investigation dominates his time. But many journalists would cheer that. It’s just one more double standard.
Cowed by trolls
By Mike Huckabee
Just how cowed by PC trolls is the CEO of Twitter? He tweeted about the discount he got with his Chick-fil-A app...he was attacked for eating Chick-fil-A food during Gay Pride Month…and he actually apologized! Speaking on behalf of everyone else: where can we get that app?
Domino's pizza steps up
By Mike Huckabee
Hooray for Domino’s Pizza for stepping up when Congress failed to fund highway improvements. Domino’s will provide the dough to fill potholes. No, not that kind of dough. They’re not filling potholes with cheese, either. We need drivers to keep moving, not slam on the brakes and leap out.
Pro-Trump PAC sues FEC
By Mike Huckabee
A pro-Trump PAC is suing the Federal Election Commission for failing to take action on a complaint they filed against the Democratic National Committee. They claim that during the 2016 election, the DNC and the Hillary Victory Committee engaged in a criminal conspiracy to launder illegal campaign contributions.
Hillary allegedly raised money for state Democratic parties, for whom donation restrictions are looser. The money was then passed to the DNC, which, instead of spending it on state races, kicked it back to the Hillary campaign. The result was that about $84 million donated for state races instead went to Hillary’s campaign war chest. The plaintiffs say big money donors didn’t care about state races, they were giving up to $300,000 each to try to buy influence in Hillary’s Administration (one more time, Dr. Phil: “How did that work out for ya?”)
It will be fun to see the Democrats explain why this is a dollar-menu nothingburger after just last month howling about Trump’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza, who got lockup, a felony record and a stiff fine for a campaign donation violation that was a microscopic fraction of the size of this one.
Evening Edition - June 12
By Mike Huckabee
A wrap-up of all the news you might have missed yesterday!
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6