Here’s a surprise twist worthy of O’Henry: Just last month, Arizona Republican and military veteran Martha McSally appeared to have won the race for retiring Sen. John Kyl’s seat. But then came those infamous post-election ballots that always seem to go in favor of Democrats in defiance of the laws of probability. And so, far-left Democrat Kirsten Sinema came from behind to be declared the winner.
But there was still a Senate seat to fill: two years remain in the late John McCain’s term. So today, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that he will fill that seat with…Martha McSally!
Now, not only will Arizona be the only state with two female Senators, voters who were evenly split will get the chance to see both candidates in office and compare and contrast. Of course, Sinema got the six-year term and McSally only two years, but she can run for reelection in 2020. McSally can use that time to convince conservatives who failed to show up for her in November that she’s the genuine article. Meanwhile, Sinema hopes to mobilize Democrats to take that seat in 2020, but she might want to devote the next two years instead to being a Senator who represents all Arizonans instead of a leftwing partisan. Despite what she says about them when she’s out of state, Arizona voters aren’t stupid.
At the link, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett takes a meat ax to James Comey's smugly delusional claim that everyone else is lying about his tenure at the FBI while he's the only honest man in Washington. Comey wrapping himself in the mantle of America's moral conscience is the least appropriate and most hilarious thing any FBI man has wrapped himself in since J. Edgar Hoover (allegedly!) wore a cocktail dress.
On Monday, it seemed extremely likely (at least to me) that Judge Emmet Sullivan would delay the sentencing of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn scheduled for Tuesday. Sure enough, he did.
Judge Sullivan started the fireworks by saying, “I cannot recall any incident where the court has ever accepted the plea of someone who maintained he was not guilty, and that’s not going to start today.”
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a year ago, but sentencing was postponed while he cooperated with investigators. Now he’ll be waiting until mid-March; it still seems likely that he’ll receive no jail time, but it should be noted that the judge is not bound by this type of plea agreement. One reason for the delay was surely the last-minute appearance of the original “302” from Peter Strzok, his initial account of the interview with Flynn in January of 2017, just four days after he had moved to his new White House digs. Another reason may be that there is still more “cooperating” that prosecutors want him to do.
Catherine Herridge, chief intelligence correspondent for FOX News, was in the courtroom Tuesday, and afterwards she said it was “one of the most dramatic” hearings she has ever seen. The judge was hard on Flynn, stressing the seriousness of the charge against him and repeatedly asking him if he wanted to withdraw his plea of “guilty” to making false statements to the FBI. He confirmed that he did not, having apparently decided against risking jail by rocking the boat at this point.
He told the judge that when he was questioned by FBI officials, he knew that lying would be criminal and punishable. Actually, this statement from Flynn suggests to me that it’s unlikely he intentionally lied, as he knew any phone calls with the Russian ambassador would have been recorded as a matter of course. But most of the media will not be considering this nuance, as it does not fit their chosen narrative. (The wording of the newly-presented 302 contradicts that, too, so expect that to be glossed over if not ignored.) They’ll just maintain that since Flynn is going ahead with the guilty plea, he must have intentionally, deliberately, treasonably lied, lied, lied!
And the following exchange may tell you all you need to know about what the government was doing pursuing Flynn: According to Herridge, the judge asked the special counsel lawyer whether or not the Flynn phone call with the Russian ambassador was, in itself, criminal. After what she described as “a very long pause,” the attorney said, “It might be a violation of the Logan Act.” The judge laughed and said, “Isn’t that the Act no one has ever been charged with?” This judge knows the score.
Importantly, the judge even asked prosecutors if they thought Flynn had committed treason in the lobbying work his company did for the Turkish government, and they said no. The media are having a field day with this part of the story, because they get to look disgusted and say the word “treason” over and over, but my theory is that Judge Sullivan just wanted to be sure and get their denial of this on the record. Prosecutors also had to admit that Flynn was no longer doing that work when he went to the White House. (This is important to keep in mind as some “journalists,” even one I just heard on FOX News, try to tie his lobbying to Trump’s foreign policy decisions that might have favored Turkey.) It’s likely that the additional “cooperating” Flynn may be doing now involves the prosecution of two of his business associates who were involved in this lobbying, including his business partner.
After a recess, the judge clarified that he had NOT accused Flynn of treason –- he had asked the question out of curiosity, he said. He advised people not to read too much into his questions, but, of course, the media and Trump’s political opponents (but I repeat myself) are already doing that.
Still, Judge Sullivan did not mince words when addressing Flynn. “Arguably, you sold your country out,” he said in reference to Flynn’s work for a foreign government without registering as required.
Lots of legal minds --- the ones who have real law degrees --- will be weighing in, and I’ll have more analysis soon.
A new poll shows that Americans rank "Government" as America's #1 problem, with "Immigration" as #2. Still trying to figure out how electing Democrats solves either of those.
Funny animal story & video: Will Rogers once said that we should all live our lives so that we wouldn't be afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip. These days, as people voluntarily live with cell phones, social media, "smart homes" and listening devices such as Amazon's Alexa, it seems impossible that the loss of privacy could get any worse.
And then you come across the story about the family parrot that spends all day long talking to Amazon's Alexa...