It didn’t take long. Yesterday, the names of those who’d called for the unmasking of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s name were made public, and they were mostly the usual suspects --- and more, to total about two dozen. Of course, then-FBI Director James Comey and then-CIA Director John Brennan are there, from even before Flynn and Sergey Kislyak had “the” phone call they were all so interested in.

Though presidential candidate Joe Biden said Tuesday from his basement that he knew nothing” about the investigation of Flynn and then –- later in the same interview, with George Stephanopoulos –- admitted he “was aware” of the investigation but nothing more, it turns out he personally had requested the unmasking of Flynn’s name. And when did he do that? January 12, the very day that David Ignatius at the WASHINGTON POST published a column not only mentioning the call with Kislyak but talking about the Logan Act. Seems Biden was a wee bit more involved in the case than he’s let on.

Of course, there will be jokes and possibly even serious comments about Biden actually not being able to remember this. What does it tell you about your candidate when your defense for his lying is to call attention to his obvious mental decline?

Keep in mind, it’s not against the law for officials to request the unmasking of a name. But to do it for political purposes, which would certainly include leaking to the media --- that is very much illegal. And, boy, was this political. Somebody leaked it to WAPO, and that might have been part of a conspiracy by a number of these people. If it were being done for legitimate national security purposes, it wouldn’t have leaked. Besides, there was never any evidence that Flynn was involved inappropriately with Russia. So, please, Mr. Durham, throw the book at them. I’d be happy to file an “amicus” brief on why this needs to happen.

Goodness, there was soooooo much interest in Flynn’s phone conversations, and, yes, it predated the Kislyak call of December 28, 2016, that prompted so much attention from the FBI. We know Obama had wanted him gone for years, for reasons we’ve elaborated, and the intel community seems to have been trying to set him up since 2014. Here are a few more highlights from all the unmasking that was done on Flynn’s calls:

Kislyak called Flynn on December 28 and spoke to him about a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn Israel (not surprisingly, coordinated by President Obama). On THAT DAY, U.N. ambassador Samantha Power made an unmasking request on the transcript. This wasn’t the only time she’d called for the unmasking of Flynn’s name, either; it was the sixth. In fact, she was the very first person to request an unmasking on Flynn, on November 30, 2016, which was ten days after Trump named him national security adviser. (Imagine how crazy it must have made this whole crew to know Flynn would be serving Trump as his national security adviser!)

When Power was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in October of 2017, she got a Biden-style brain freeze and said, “I have no recollection of making a request related to General Flynn.”

On December 28, which was after Obama announced new sanctions on Russia for “election meddling” --- blustering a lot and sending the Russian diplomats packing --- Kislyak contacted Flynn again. On THAT DAY, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an unmasking request on the transcript. This was one of three such requests made on Flynn’s name by Clapper.

When Clapper was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley on May 8, 2017, if he had ever made any unmasking requests of “Mr. Trump, his associates or any member of Congress,” Clapper took a loooooong pause and finally said, “Um...yes…in one case I did, that I specifically recall, but I can’t discuss it any further than that.”

Of course, we all know about the January 5 meeting in which Obama surprised Sally Yates with his knowledge of the Flynn surveillance and the particular call between Flynn and Kislyak. According to her own testimony, she stood there while Obama and Comey chatted about it and as Comey brought up the possible violation of the Logan Act. On THAT DAY, after the meeting, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, made on unmasking request for Flynn’s name from that transcript.

Kyle Smith has a great commentary at NATIONAL REVIEW on the way these people abused their power.

As for D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s joke of a courtroom, here’s a great opinion piece posted at ZeroHedge that will give you the bizarre backstory on his rulings and contradictory statements in this case and also tell you about his latest big idea: to appoint retired Judge John Gleeson to write an amicus brief “to present arguments in opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss.” That’s right, Sullivan wants to argue against the attorney general’s decision to drop the case. It gets worse: the brief is also to “address whether the Court should issue an order to show cause why Mr. Flynn should not be held in criminal contempt for perjury,” presumably because he pleaded guilty when he wasn’t.

The other day, we made a joke about how this Spanish Inquisition-like reasoning makes Flynn guilty either way: either he’s guilty because he pleaded guilty (“Burn him!”), or he’s guilty because he says he’s not guilty (“Burn him!”). This actually is being done to him.

So why did Sullivan pick Judge Gleeson, a litigator perhaps best known for being the lead prosecutor in the murder and racketeering case against mob bosses John Gotti and Victor Orena? We looked at his bio page on the website for his law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, and saw that in 2008, he wrote a paper for Hofstra Law Review called “The Sentencing Commission and Prosecutorial Discretion: The Role of Courts in Policing Sentencing Bargains,” and various others having to do with sentencing and, by inference, guilty pleas. (Might make some illuminating weekend reading if we can find them!) As you know, Judge Sullivan had already announced he’s soliciting amicus briefs from any outside groups who want to make arguments against dropping Flynn’s case.

But maybe he chose Gleeson because of something this judge has very recently written. Thanks to Laura Ingraham for turning this up, from Monday’s WASHINGTON POST, written by John Gleeson, David O’Neil and Marshall Miller. Headline: “The Flynn Case Isn’t Over Until The Judge Says It’s Over.” I think we already know what his amicus brief is going to say. Sol Wisenberg, appearing on her show, says Gleeson is wrong and cited case law. His theory is that Judge Sullivan is trying to force President Trump to issue a pardon if he wants Flynn to go free, “and that’s not right.”

If anyone should write an “amicus” brief on this case, it’s Alan Dershowitz, who wrote this just a few days before Judge Sullivan’s latest stunt.

Or perhaps Andrew C. McCarthy, who wrote this for Wednesday’s NATIONAL REVIEW.

It’s hard to hit the standard of “Most Outrageous Story of the Day” these days, but this definitely does it: the Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s sergeant who cowered outside behind his car waiting for help to arrive while children were being slaughtered during the Parkland school shooting just got his job back with full back pay.
Thanks to his union defending him, an arbitrator ruled that his firing violated his due process rights. He’ll not only be given his job back but also a year’s salary (he made $137,000 in 2018) and any overtime that he would have received, as well as medical reimbursements, accrual of time, paid holidays and time off.
Needless to say, the children whose right to life was violated when he failed to protect them will receive no restitution because they remain dead. I could go on, but I’ll just second what law Prof. Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog had to say about this disgusting travesty.  

D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has been in no hurry to dispense with the Michael Flynn case, and I’m sorry to report it’s not over yet.

Observers thought he might go ahead and dismiss the case early this week, but it was not to be. Tuesday evening, he “indefinitely postponed” any ruling. It’s not enough for him that the Department of Justice has had it reviewed by an outside U.S. attorney and recommended dropping it; Sullivan is inviting OUTSIDE GROUPS, no doubt with their own political agendas, to file amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs, to let them all come forward and make a case against Flynn’s exoneration.

That doesn’t sound like justice to me –- just the opposite. Although conservative groups may also file briefs, this ruling by Judge Sullivan will turn the case into a total political circus. The left will organize like crazy to deluge the court with condemnations of Flynn. (“He lied! He pleaded guilty!”) That is not how decisions of guilt or innocence should be made. Flynn should never have been questioned by the FBI in the first place, as investigators had found nothing, and after four years of this atrocity, Flynn deserves much better. I hate to say it, but he deserves a better JUDGE. Investigative reporter Sean Davis agrees.

Here’s the full story at FOX NEWS, updated to say that an ethics complaint is being filed against Judge Sullivan by independent journalist Michael Cernovich, because the judge has previously refused to let groups file pro-Flynn amicus briefs. Cernovich says the judge is “acting as a politician, not a judge.” I’ll second that motion.

In other (better) Flynn news, we know as of Tuesday evening at least part of what was in the mysterious satchel that acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell hand-delivered to the Justice Department last week. As Ed Henry reported on FOX NEWS, the contents were one of several batches being declassified and brought over and may explain the pre-emptive strikes in recent days by President Obama and former intel officials. The bag contains a list of the former Obama administration officials who targeted Flynn and unmasked him in classified transcripts of recorded conversations, including those with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This could be illegal, and the leak of his name to the Washington Post was undeniably illegal. Flynn’s name had been redacted because, as an American citizen, he has certain legal rights to privacy. (I’ll wait while you fall to the floor, helpless with laughter.)

Seriously, leaking unmasked information and/or using it for political gain is against federal law. Well, unless Obama –- or James Comey, on behalf of Obama –- told you to do it. I’m only half kidding.

Grenell has declassified the names of those who unmasked Flynn’s identity between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017. This was an intense period for the “Trump/Russia” investigators, especially January; we’ve all seen the timeline. In particular, Obama held an Oval Office confab on January 5 and afterwards discussed the Flynn recordings with Comey and Sally Yates.

Attorney General Bill Barr has recommended dropping the case against Flynn, and U.S. Attorney John Durham is reportedly looking at the unmasking and leaking to see if prosecutions are warranted. Those who want the names of the unmaskers will have to wait a while; according to Sarah Carter, they will be made public, but Grenell and Barr will “work through this and decide who is best to release the names.”

Of course, the HUGE question is this: how did Obama come to be so very well informed of the Flynn surveillance and his call with Kislyak? By January 5, he knew all about it, to Yates’ great surprise. Maybe we’ll know soon; sources tell Ed Henry that Grenell has “four or five” other batches of intel coming, and that “it could get sticky for [former CIA Director] John Brennan in particular.”

Apparently Brennan knew something that contradicted the chosen narrative that Russia wanted to help Trump win. It was that Russia actually wanted HILLARY to win, because she was “a known quantity” and “more malleable” than a wild-card businessman like Trump.

ASIDE: Isn’t this what we’ve been saying all along? Given all we know, it defies logic to say Russia backed Donald Trump, as the fictional Steele “dossier” claimed. Good heavens, look at what Hillary did for them –- how can anyone be surprised that Putin wanted her in the White House after she approved the deal that led to their owning 20 percent of America’s uranium supply? She might as well have been their lobbyist. Plus, there's no telling what they might have had on her to use as blackmail. No, Russia was “WITH HER."

Recall that our nation’s 17 (17!) intel agencies put together an “Intelligence Community Assessment” that concluded Russia had tried to damage Hillary and help Trump win in 2016. Evidence that Brennan suppressed intel saying Russia wanted Hillary is reportedly part of what Grenell is in the process of sending over. Even though Brennan had to be aware of the political origins of the “dossier,” he pushed hard for it to be included in the assessment, and he got his way, at least partly; a “dossier” summary was included.

So far, this all seems like old news to us –- and likely to you, too –- as we’ve followed investigative reporters who had excellent sources and were reporting on this for years, mostly into a vacuum. The important thing now is that we’re finally seeing evidence, not just what “sources say.” It’s all true. The reporters who’ve been worthy of our attention all along were not just way out ahead of the pack, but also right. Unlike the “journalists” so wedded to their anti-Trump narrative that they ignore anything that challenges it, we want most of all to be correct. If we’re not, we’ll say so. But so far, we are. Correct, that is.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsay Graham has been saying for months that he would seek testimony from Obama officials about the Russia investigation, issuing subpoenas if necessary. He wants to hear specifically about that January 5 meeting and the unmasking. As he told Sean Hannity Tuesday night, he wants to know if unmasking was “used as a political weapon.” He also wants to know “why Sally Yates didn’t know about the Flynn investigation but President Obama did.” And he wants Grenell to go ahead and release the names of the unmaskers.

The fact that the national security adviser for an incoming President was surveilled by the outgoing administration –- possibly the outgoing President –- is truly stunning. “If I ever find that the intelligence community is unmasking my phone calls to foreign leaders where I discuss foreign policy as a United States senator, heads will roll,” Graham said.

But the Senate has no prosecutorial power; that has to come from the Justice Department. The Senate can have hearings if they want to, but justice is in the hands of Durham and Barr, who must know this is the worst scandal in American government, possibly ever.

While looking for some background information on former FBI Director James Comey, I happened to click on a link that took me to a 2003 profile of him in NEW YORK magazine. How interesting –- I love to look back at contemporaneous observations, in this case from the days following 9/11 and the introduction of the Patriot Act.

The thrust of the piece seems to be that Comey is just a “good guy” who can’t really be pigeonholed politically, and in 2003, that uncomplicated picture might have been adequate to describe him. There was a lot I learned about him, though, including events surrounding the deeply tragic loss of his 9-day-old son from an infection that could easily have been treated at the hospital.

Comey always seems to have been obsessed with moral introspection –- not sure when he picked up the nickname “Cardinal Comey” –- but the impression given in the article is also that of someone who didn’t want to be too public about it, or about his work in general. The future FBI director made it clear to the interviewer that he thought Rudy Giuliani, for example, was too much of an attention-seeker for his taste, much more of a show-boater than he himself could ever be. In that respect, the James Comey we see now appears to have changed a great deal from the man being profiled in 2003, in that today he has no problem with being bathed in the glow of worshipful anti-Trump media attention, which can always be counted on to provide a forum for all his self-indulgent lecturing and posturing and criticizing and condescending and tweeting and famously bragging about going around established procedures because, hey, he thought he could get away with it.

And in light of what we know today about what Comey did to ruin the life and career of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn –- bringing up the Logan Act to President Obama as part of the plan to railroad Flynn over a phone conversation that was a perfectly appropriate part of his new job as Trump’s new national security adviser –- one paragraph in particular leaped out at me:

"When Comey arrives in Washington next month to become interim deputy attorney general (his appointment is subject to confirmation hearings), the Patriot Act’s provisions will be among his main weapons. ‘Filling in this spot is a Especially on the terrorism side,’ says a senior staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. ‘...Now that the Patriot Act powers are in place,’ the staffer says, ‘the cast of characters --- the people who are really going to implement them --- really matters. A PROSECUTOR WITH THESE TOOLS CAN RUIN SOMEBODY’S LIFE. [Emphasis mine.] Comey comes in with a reputation as a pretty good professional. We’ll see.”

And now, seventeen years later, we have seen.

Another eye-popper, offered by a colleague of Comey’s: “Whenever a new prosecutor started working in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Comey would tell him, ‘Don’t you ever say something you don’t completely believe. I’m not even talking about shades of gray. If you don’t 100 percent believe it, don’t you dare say it. That’s why being a prosecutor is so great: You don’t have to make arguments you don’t believe in.’”

Where to start? When it came to going after Trump and his campaign associates and bringing down Michael Flynn, Comey was painting with more shades of gray than an HGTV house-flipper. Recall that he was one of several officials who signed phony FISA warrant applications, swearing that they contained only “verified” information when they all knew otherwise. And in 2018, he told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC that the FISA process is “incredibly rigorous” and claimed that Republicans’ criticism of the Carter Page FISA warrant application was “a political deal” that was “not based in substance or law.”

That’s 100 percent SOMETHING, all right, but I won't use that language here. I'll just say that the former director of the FBI is a real piece of work. Under Comey’s watch, and with his blessing, the media were presented with a phony “dossier” and a phony story about the resulting “Trump/Russia” investigation, from beginning to end. It was based on nothing, it found nothing, but it told us everything we need to know about the caliber of leadership at the FBI.

If you want to see a master prevaricator at work, just check out this interview Comey gave to Chris Wallace on FOX NEWS after the release of the Horowitz report. He sort-of got away with it at the time, but the internet is forever, and we know so much more now about what really was going on at the FBI. Even so, I’d be willing to bet that in his own mind, he’s still always 100 percent truthful, 100 percent virtuous, a model of goodity and purity for the ages. And if he has to BELIEVE the sky is green and the grass is blue to make other people believe it and still be able to look at himself in the mirror, by golly, he will.

From the archives, here’s that 2003 profile of Comey.

The impact of COVID-19

May 12, 2020

As more states around the nation ease up on their COVID-19 (Chinese) virus lockdowns, New York is still suffering the worst. This link is to a regularly-updated map, showing the number of deaths per million in all nations, and by US state.

You can tell by the color coding that New York stands out like a blackened tooth, with 1378 deaths per million. Even other “hot spots” such as Michigan and Louisiana are under 500 per million. Florida, whose Governor has been savaged by the media for not closing down the whole state, has 80 deaths per million. Texas has only 39 (meaning the odds of dying of the virus in Texas are over 2-1/2 times longer than the odds of winning the Pick-4 lottery.) In Montana, it’s 15; in Wyoming, 12. It’s obvious how much New York is skewing the national death figures. Yet some health officials tell us that every state must impose the same strict lockdown rules as New York indefinitely or we’ll all die.

But wait: how effective have these rules been even in New York, if it's that bad (we now know 66% of new hospitalizations are people who were sheltering-in-place)? And for all the praise being lavished on Gov. Andrew Cuomo by the media, has he really been that effective and proactive in stopping it? We’ve been told that everything Trump has done has been wrong, like what a racist he was for shutting off travel from China in January. But that saved countless lives. On the other hand, the New York Times reports that according to a new study of outbreaks around the US, New Yorkers were “the primary source of infections” in other states. A Yale epidemiologist said they now have enough data to be confident in saying that New York was the primary gateway for the virus to the rest of the country.

But when other states, such as Rhode Island, proposed quarantining New York to contain the disease, Cuomo threatened to sue them if they didn't let New Yorkers in (for the record, Rhode Island currently has 398 deaths per million residents.)

So we can add that action to the list of tragic missteps that included forcing New York nursing homes to take recovering coronavirus patients, which led to New York having the highest rate of nursing home deaths.

Having been a Governor myself, I am loath to criticize and second-guess every incorrect decision that’s made when you’re dealing with an emergency and don’t have all the data needed. But when you add up not having enough ventilators on hand to deal with any major crisis, sending virus patients to nursing homes filled with the most vulnerable group of people, and threatening lawsuits to prevent a quarantine of a deadly, highly contagious disease, I’m finding it hard to understand why so many Democrats think we should replace Trump with Cuomo. Is Biden really that bad a candidate?

But then I look at Biden and think…yeah, he is.