Balkinization  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Pardon?

Gerard N. Magliocca

One aspect of the President's running commentary on the Roger Stone trial and sentence is puzzling. If he really thinks that Stone is being treated unfairly, then he can pardon him. He does not have wait until the sentence is handed down to issue a pardon. So why isn't he pardoning him?

Consider a somewhat related hypothetical. Suppose President Ford had not pardoned Richard Nixon. Then after federal prosecutors indicted the ex-President for various felonies, Ford started saying that Nixon was being treated badly and that a trial was bad for the country. He kept up these complaints during the Nixon trial, at sentencing, and during the appeal. Setting aside the propriety of those sorts of comments, the President could do something to stop that case--he's not a helpless bystander. Ford's pardon (though controversial) avoided the sorts of entanglements with the DOJ that we see now.

I can reach only one of two conclusions about the lack of a pardon for Stone. Either the President is too scared of the political blowback to issue a pardon, or he is trying to look like he's helping Stone (to placate Stone's supporters) without actually helping him. Maybe that'll change after the election.


Comments:

If he pardons Stone, then Stone can't plead the 5th (which he'd otherwise do in order to conceal Trump's own culpability). Trump has to wait until sentencing, at which point he can commute the sentence.
 

Or maybe he just thinks Stone was somewhat guilty, and can do the time if the time isn't absurd?

My prediction: If the judge goes with the original sentencing recommendation, (Which even a lot of left-wing lawyer like Turley think was excessive.) Trump might pardon him then. But more likely commute the sentence after a few months.
 

Yes, Trump is well-known for his expertise in federal sentencing guidelines, and can reel off details of the trial evidence better than anyone. His opposition to harsh sentences was demonstrated to all when he continued to support the death penalty for the Central Park 5 long after they were shown to be actually innocent.

Attacking judge, jury, and lawyers involved in the case just reinforces our confidence that he's operating from an impartial perspective.
 

One may wonder really, why not to pardon him ? Especially in light of what he has stressed, that, I quote Trump stating or congratulating Barr for:

" taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought "

And further that, I quote , that prosecutors:

" ought to apologize "

One can assume the following:

First, convicted on all counts ( seven felony counts). Second, he was his personal adviser ( in the campaign) and it is different when it does touch Trump personally then. Third, the sever offenses we deal here with ( The US attorney's office wrote , quoting Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No.68, adding that obstructing critical investigations " strikes at the very heart of our American democracy " ).

So, maybe, it's too much, even for him. But, time will tell the tale finally.

Thanks
 

One may read my quote mentioned on Trump, here:

https://wamu.org/story/20/02/12/trump-praises-attorney-general-barr-for-taking-charge-of-roger-stone-case/
 

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Gerard: If he really thinks that Stone is being treated unfairly, then he can pardon him.

You can reasonably believe a nine year prison sentence recommendation for process crimes is outrageous (Martha Stewart got six months and Bill Clinton nothing for similar and worse acts) and decline to pardon the perp because he actually committed the crimes.
 

Spambots attack!

I take the "puzzling" bit is the professor (shades of Orin Kerr) being coy.

Mark does suggest a basic reason to merely float pardons at this point in time. As seen in the Mueller Report, floating the idea of pardons is a way to influence the investigation and send a message to others. A lot of talk about how he and his people are victims of a big conspiracy (he has said the trial was tainted, including the judge) is basically his brand though it is a wider brand of many of his supporters too. I also do think that Trump isn't simply going to do anything to abuse his power. Reality dictates that you have to pick your spots.

OTOH, we will (how was it phrased ... Cartesian doubt) a "I'm puzzled by your take there" from other types here.

===

Stone, to quote one NYT article "was convicted last year of seven felonies for obstructing a congressional inquiry, lying to investigators and trying to block testimony from a witness." Stone was a "self-described dirty trickster" that was working for the Trump Administration. It also came out during the trial that statements by Stone could show that Trump lied during the Mueller investigation.

Trump is clearly self-interested here.

Roger Stone btw repeatedly continued his dirty tricks (one way to say it) after being indicted. For instance, posting a photo on Instagram of the judge with what appeared to be the cross hairs of a gun near her head after already being subject to a limited gag order. As Eric Segall, who was in the Justice Department back in the day, he still remembers when a federal judge was murdered by defendant. Such "jokes" or whatever are not exactly funny.

The crimes he was convicted in basic part is interfering with a congressional investigation. Impeachment is deemed wrong here and when congressional investigation itself is interfered with that too must be trivialized.
 

"Trump Administration"

A bit of a slip ala Freud perhaps, since he sorta was, but I meant in support of the Trump 2016 election campaign.
 

left-wing lawyer like Turley

Is there a Sam or William Turley who is a prominent left-wing lawyer, or is this a reference to the guy the Republicans called to testify about grounds for impeachment, who took a rather strong anti-impeachment stand, in contrast to his 1998 position?

it's Robert Turley III, Bullet Bob's grandson.
 

Left off a "Maybe" at the start of the last sentence. Sorry.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Speaking of pardons...One long running theme of Bircher Brett's ire is his being incensed at the idea that politicians get and give preferential treatment to themselves and those well-connected, that these people are not treated like everyone else.

I'll just leave this here then:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/most-clemency-grants-bypass-doj-and-go-to-well-connected-offenders/2020/02/03/4e8f3eb2-21ce-11ea-9c2b-060477c13959_story.html
 

Actually, Turley's position was that Trump was eminently impeachable, but that the House Democrats had screwed things up by proceeding without first building a solid case. He was rather put out about the lousy job they'd done.

Basically he thought it was important enough to do it right.
 

The thing that ticks me off about the stories about this President's clemency grants is that the media assumes that the "pardon guidelines" and the "pardon office" and all these other wonderful DOJ institutions were good.

They weren't. Indeed, since it's en vogue to talk about authoritarianism these days, there were few MORE authoritarian aspects of the US government than the pardon office.

The original pardon power WAS supposed to be a discretionary power of the President. The framers surely knew that Presidents would use it in a capricious fashion; nonetheless, it was an important check because prosecutors get overly zealous and overcharge and overpunish people who don't cooperate with them and do what they want. So you needed someone out there who could just eliminate or neuter a prosecution at the stroke of a pen.

Now note- this is NOT a justification of capricous pardoning. Capricious pardoning is a potentially impeachable offense. But it is the nature of the power.

And here's the thing. Prosecutors HATE pardons. They hate them for very personal reasons. THEY think everyone they prosecute is guilty. THEY think that any sentence they ask for is either completely just or is necessary to force other people to cooperate. And, there's just the psychological aspect that they worked very hard on these cases to prevail, and then the executive pulls the rug out from under them.

But they hate pardons. Hate them. And the "DOJ pardon guidelines" and the "pardon office" were their bureaucratic pushback. Under the guise of saying that pardons should be less capricious, they basically tried to neuter the power. You can't go directly to the President (which is what the framers intended). You have to go through us, the prosecutors, who will be biased in favor of the idea that whatever we already did was right. And you have to meet all these formal requirements. You have to actually have served your time. You have to have paid all your restitution. You have to have jumped through all these hoops. They turned a process that is supposed to undo the work of over-zealous prosecutors into something that is closer to a proceeding for the restoration of civil rights after a sentence.

The point being, that's not the right baseline to compare the President's actions to. Evaluate his pardons on the merits. Is he pardoning people he shouldn't? Is he not pardoning people he should? But let's not mourn the fact that prosecutors, the very people whose propensity for evil is the purpose of the pardon clause, no longer get to gatekeep who gets pardons. They never should have had anything to do with the pardon system.
 

Well, count me as one of those people that thinks that capricious, in other words treating the connected differently than the non, action in this (and other official) areas is quite wrong. YMMV.
 

Capricious CAN be bad, and it even can be impeachable. I said that.

But caprice is also an element of the pardon power. It's not a retrial, or a habeas petition, or a test if whether the accused should regain civil rights. It's an act of executive mercy, which serves as a check on prosecutorial zeal.

I have said this before, but there's a strong tendency for liberals who dislike the President to lapse into various patterns of thinking that are pro-prosecutorial and which crap all over the rights of the accused.

Having a shot at mercy even if the US Attorneys Office wants to put you away js precisely the purpose of the pardon clause, and it is the failsafe that backs up every other right that an accused has. But for it to work, it can't be bureaucratized through all sorts of rules and guidelines.
 

But for it to work, it can't be bureaucratized through all sorts of rules and guidelines.

The "purpose of the pardon clause" [to the degree we can determine some singular "purpose" of things] can be carried out in a range of ways and it is quite possible for a basic part of it to be carried out by having the executive provide a basic set of rules and guidelines since they are not going to idiosyncratically examine each case or something. There realistically needs to be a process here. We are talking thousands upon thousands of people with a range of complex factors to weigh.

They should be some play in the points too. But, just having a totally arbitrary process so those an executive might personally know or being sympathetic with since they share a similar ideology or they are friends with some celebrity who has their ear etc. gets special attention above others similarly situated or more deserving in various ways does not fulfill the "purpose of the pardon clause" very well either.

The proper approach here is going to be complicated and there always will be some arbitrary cases. This includes choices on who is deserving and why. But, there also as a matter of good policy should be a process. Criminal justice activists who think the pardon power should be used much more often are not in disagreement from what I can tell. For instance: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/the-first-step-act-isnt-enoughwe-need-clemency-reform/580300/

(I don't know the middle person, but have read the other two, Mark Osler a strong critic on what he saw as a too limited use of the pardon power in recent administrations.)
 

This blog post overlaps some with the theme of this one:

http://www.dorfonlaw.org/2020/02/why-are-trump-and-republicans-showing.html
 

Like many discretionary powers a President can use it poorly or well though all the while legitimately. A President can use their appointment power to appoint unqualified buddies and campaign contributors, or they could use it to appoint highly qualified experts. I prefer the latter. Likewise, a President can use their pardon power to pardon their buddies and the well connected, or they could use it to try to identify those deserving of mercy in a more objective, equitable manner. I prefer the latter here too.

There's a reason why almost every organization in the modern world has turned to the form of organizing their organizations by what Weber referred to as bureaucracy: it's actually the more efficient and equitable method compared to alternatives.

I'd prefer a pardon office run by defense attorneys than by prosecutors. But the fact that we have the latter has more to do with politics (Presidents are over-cautious to pardon people lest they commit another crime and the pardoning President get blamed) and doesn't mean that having an office of career civil servants isn't preferable to granting them based on the caprice of a single politician (or a handful of his close political hacks, er, I mean 'advisors').

There's a reason why the Progressive Movement (as opposed to the recent political 'progressives') took hold in a big, bi-partisan way: a government administered by career civil servants hired based on objective criteria and adhering to professional standards was palpably infinitely preferable to the corrupt, incompetent patronage based administrations that preceded (and, indeed, begat) the Progressive Movement.

Whatever the faults of being treated like a number at the DMV that system sure beats being given services based on who you know or who happens to like you that day.
 

"they are friends with some celebrity who has their ear"

I'm sure the Framers anticipated Kim Kardashian.
 

Since I like sports analogies another way to put my point is this: I'd rather have a strict trio of refs calling even ticky-tack fouls evenly between both teams because of a general principle of strictness than have the refs call fouls strictly on one team and leniently on the other because they play golf with the second team's coach.
 

1. "Career civil servants" is a terrible way to describe US Attorneys, and makes my point about pro-prosecutorial bias creeping in.

Prosecutors are almost always both (1) incredibly ambitious and (2) incredibly self-righteous. The job selects for those qualities in the same way that policing selects for racists and bullies. The LAPD has always been filled with "career civil servants", you know. Ask black people what they think of them.

2. Prosecutors, as I said, routinely over prosecute, over charge, and push to over sentence people. And they hate pardons.

3. While I am not arguing that you can't or shouldn't have a system for processing pardons, that ONLY works if no prosecutor gets anywhere near it. And there's nothing wrong in principle with the President overruling it or circumventing it. If he makes a bad pardon, criticize that. But that's true even if he does it within the system.

4. We are quite clear about the pardon power, because it came directly from the British sovereign, which used it historically in a quite capricious manner. It was NEVER supposed to be taken over by prosecutors, who are the last people to be in charge of anything of the sort. It's like putting bank robbers in charge of the treasury.
 

Mista: sports don't have a pardon power, because sports referees don't include a bunch of ambitious zealots who routinely award one team 25 points or something.

Because prosecutors, these "career civil servants" you love, are often untrustworthy and sadistic, we give the President the power to overrule them.
 

I stick by the contention that a system that treats claimants in a more objective, less capricious way is better. If your beef is only that prosecutors are involved I'd agree I'd like to see more diversity in occupation but also point out that many prosecutors are also defense attorneys during their careers too. Some great champions of the accused in SCOTUS history have included attorneys who at one time were prosecutors.
 

OT, but is Stephen Griffin's post intended as satire? I'm assuming it is because we all know that Barr's statements yesterday were phony, designed to placate the attorneys in the Justice Dept. rather than to separate himself from Trump (whose bidding he's already done and will do again). It was most likely cleared with Trump as part of a show: kayfabe, as they say in wrestling.
 

I'd assume it's satire, yes.
 

Thanks. It can be hard to tell sometimes. Or maybe my satire detector is broken.
 

I am not arguing that everyone who was ever a prosecutor was bad. I am saying prosecutors are terrible people to handle a pardon process, because as a group, they tend to be ambitious and overzealous.

But no, "objectivity" is NOT good, or possible, in the clemency process.

Your position is like people who want bench trials foe everyone. More objective! Juries are capricious!

Or people who love the sentencing guidelines. It's unfair to show one defendant mercy but not another!

Caprice is A NECESSARY ELEMENT OF A FAIR SYSTEM. "Scientific", "objective" sustems screw criminal defendants.

The justice system's version of "objectivity" is locking black males in prison under "objective" mandatory minimums. Some of whom are now out because politicians ignored prosecutors and pardon offices.
 

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Dilan:

I served as a prosecutor for four years in Florida and a defense attorney for over a decade in CO. Like other attorneys, prosecutors come in all flavors - predatory, political, conscientious, and drones collecting a check. Most care about their work and follow the evidence and the law.

However, because they are obviously self interested in their work, they should be given a say, but not the final word on the issue of clemency.

By definition, clemency is meant to check the predatory and political.


 

Bart:

It isn't that every prosecutor is a bad person. But prosecutors aspire to participate in, and serve within, a structure that cultivates some very bad human traits, such as:

1. Thinking everyone that gets prosecuted is guilty.
2. Thinking criminal defense lawyers are an annoyance or a menace.
3. Thinking the system's decisions about sentencing are right and deserved.
4. Believing in Mista's stuff about "objectivity" in the criminal justice system.

So no, that's a group that shouldn't get "a say" in clemency decisions. They had their say already. Presumably, anyone who wants to know what the prosecutor thought can read the presentence report or the court transcripts.
 

Dilan:

Where are you getting this from?

Any prosecutor with more than a few days experience knows a substantial percentage of her cases are overcharged or mischarged. Every DA office in which I served or negotiated with as a defense attorney regularly dismisses or reduces charges on cases because of a lack of evidence.

I always preferred to work with defense attorneys because they understand evidence and law, and their clients are more likely to believe their own attorney than a prosecutor.

Every DA's office has a plea range schedule to maintain consistency among their prosecutors. Many states have sentencing guidelines to promote uniformity among judges. However, any prosecutor with a few trials under his belt understands that judges all have their own sentencing biases. As a prosecutor I have been appalled at both high and low sentences rendered by judges.

That being said, criminal law is arguably the most objective legal practice apart from maybe contacts and wills. Everything is broken down into written elements and the terms are usually defined. Many criminal attorneys leave for tort work because it is less defined and more "creative."
 

Justice just declined to prosecute FBI agent and Democrat operative Andrew McGabe for misleading the director and investigating FBI agents about his leaks to the Democrat media.

Yet Justice "career prosecutors" were demanding nine years in prison for Trump associate Roger Stone for similar dishonesty.

And Democrats wonder why Trump and Republicans rage at the partisan, arbitrary unfairness of the Capitol swamp.
 

Bart trolling again.
 

Yeah, it's getting ridiculous. All these investigations at the DOJ, and even over 3 years into the Trump administration, the only difference from the Obama era is that they say how awful it was before declining to prosecute.

I'd say it's eroding faith in the DOJ, but at this point there's not much left to erode.
 

byomtov:

If Stone gets more than probation, Trump has ample examples of Justice Department corruption and partisan double standards to pardon or commute any prison sentence and start firing and replacing US and assistant US attorneys.

Indeed, he ought to start the stable cleaning process now like he has with NSC.
 

"Bart trolling again."

Well, we don't want Mr. W. confused.

It is "ridiculous" that the person prosecuted for multiple crimes, who repeatedly broke the rules set by the judge during the trial (including posting a picture of the judge in crosshairs) is given a standard (per the guidelines) recommendation* while someone else is not prosecuted** again based on standard application of the rules?

The "only difference" part can be addressed by someone else, if they care to do so, except I don't recall all the Obama tweets and comments (including against the judge and jury), to such a degree the Attorney General said it was interfering with his ability to do their job.

* https://www.lawfareblog.com/federal-prosecutors-recommend-sentencing-roger-stone-seven-nine-years

** https://www.lawfareblog.com/thoughts-impending-prosecution-andrew-mccabe


 

For the record, I'm more offended by the way so many people like McCabe are getting off scot free, than I am by Stone getting an excessively heavy sentence. It's the contrast: If you're associated with Trump, the DOJ comes down on you like a ton of bricks. If you were opposing him, they hand you a get out of jail free card.

The prosecutorial decisions are clearly being made on a political basis, and not the current administration's politics, either.
 

Joe: I don't recall all the Obama tweets and comments (including against the judge and jury), to such a degree the Attorney General said it was interfering with his ability to do their job.

Obama don't no need of stinking tweets.

Democrats in his Justice Depart, FBI and intelligence agencies work independently to protect Democrat political royalty and to destroy political opponents.

We know from the IG report that these Democrat operatives at minimum briefed Obama concerning Operation Crossfire Hurricane (one element of the Obama administration spy and dirty tricks operation against Team Trump). It would be fascinating to get the chain of command under oath to see who ordered what when.


 

"If you're associated with Trump, the DOJ comes down on you like a ton of bricks. If you were opposing him, they hand you a get out of jail free card."

I don't see how this could apply to McCabe. His offense harmed Hilary Clinton, not Trump.
 

"Caprice is A NECESSARY ELEMENT OF A FAIR SYSTEM. "

Dilan, do you really mean to write that a sudden and usually silly wish to have or do something, or a sudden and silly change of mind or behaviour (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/caprice) or a tendency to change one's mind without apparent or adequate motive (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/caprice) is A NECESSARY ELEMENT OF A FAIR SYSTEM, or did you not know what caprice meant when you wrote something that goofy?

An actual essential element of any fair system, pardon or otherwise, is that some people not be favored for capricious, arbitrary and/or personal favor/connections.
 

" If you're associated with Trump, the DOJ comes down on you like a ton of bricks. If you were opposing him, they hand you a get out of jail free card."

Remember, Bircher Brett is one of our Birchers who argued that the prosecution of Michael Cohen and Lev Parnas were plots to stack charges against Trump associates to get them to deal dirt on Trump. They were ignorant that those prosecutions were being headed by a US Attorney's office led by a Trump appointee who donated thousands of dollars to Trump and worked on Trump's transition team.

When they want to believe in a conspiracy prosecution theory nothing will stop them from concocting it. Likewise, when they want to believe in a whitewash conspiracy theory of non-prosecution they do the same. These are Krazy Konspiracy Kooks we're dealing with. Birchers. Not serious men.

Partisan incoherent.
 

"We know from the IG report"

Remember when Bircher Bart was crowing about the then-coming IG report, how it was going to result in so much indictments and such? Like most of his conspiracy theories it was a big, huge nothingburger.

"that these Democrat operatives"

The FBI was led by Comey who at that time was a lifelong GOP operative. But Bircher's never let facts stop them!

"at minimum briefed Obama concerning Operation Crossfire Hurricane"

Of course they did. As they should as it involved political figures from the other side and therefore *could look bad if not handled properly.* And from accounts he told them to proceed quietly and cautiously.Interestingly, when the shoe is on the other foot, like when the 'Chief Law Enforcement Officer' singled out his then current domestic political rival for investigations Bircher Bart was all like this is swell and no hint of impropriety. Partisan incoherent.

"(one element of the Obama administration spy and dirty tricks operation against Team Trump)."

Of course this is palpable nonsense: if it were a 'spy and dirty tricks operation' why did the FBI, with Obama's seeming blessing, *keep the investigation quiet during the campaign!* Indeed, not only did they do so, but *at the same time they were breaking protocol speaking out about the (eventual nothingburger) investigation into Clinton!*

Look, every, every, every accusation is a confession with Birchers. They know they'd play the game sleazy, so they project and assume their 'enemies' are at all times.

Partisan incoherent.
 

Ah, yes, the traditional offense against Hillary: Being inadequately zealous about whitewashing something she did.
 

Dilan said...

Mista: sports don't have a pardon power, because sports referees don't include a bunch of ambitious zealots who routinely award one team 25 points or something.

Actually, there is some analogous things in sports. Take the way that Roger Goodell has used his power under the player conduct provision to suspend athletes in a way that many have criticized as arbitrary and capricious, with little rhyme or reason as to why one player gets a relatively light treatment and another the book thrown at them. A much better way for this power to be exercised would be via a regular committee of persons with expertise in relevant areas.

Another less obvious analogy might be the power of the single soccer referee to award penalty kicks (which are made something like over 80% of the time) in the low scoring sport of soccer. Outrage over this heavy of a decision being put in the hands of a single all-too-fallible prone individual has led to the increased use of VAR in which a group of officials not on the pitch at the time determine key pitch made calls via replay.
 

Again, let's imagine the shoe on the other foot (since Birchers cannot).

Imagine if, during the 2016 campaign, the investigation into the Trump campaign by the FBI were led by a career Democrat official. And that investigation, apart from regularly leaking things to the press, also included the Democrat FBI leader breaking protocol to weigh in about the awfulness of what Trump did *while having to also conclude there was not only nothing illegal done, but not even anything chargeable.*

Why, you'd never hear the end of the claims of railroading and such from our Birchers.

But when the reverse happens *as it actually did* they have the chutzpah, or probably rather derangement, to *argue that it was still biased against the GOP!*

These are not serious men. These are partisan incoherents.
 

"get out of jail free card"

Like the multiple people (including by a conservative reading of the law -- in one sense of the word / Richard Hasen disputed it at the time -- Don Jr.) not prosecuted by the Mueller team or given token jail time? For instance, the original recommendation for Michael Flynn was the same but then when he refused to accept guilt, up to six months.

Is this more "Trump Law" where when Trump or Trump associates are involved, they warrant better treatment & when this isn't what happens, it's UNFAIR?
 

Caprice

I think this might be a specific person.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caprice_Bourret

The net result of caprice here might be a few favored people, which is good for them, but not a consistent application of some process [see, e.g., the link I added in an earlier commment] that has a wide pool benefiting.

And, less so for presidents, but many governors might have prosecutorial backgrounds too. By one count a few years ago, one of five.

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2017/07/13/prosecutors/

We had a bit of controversy involving a recent governor using pardon power which was seen as reckless and biased. The true accounting was complicated, but one red flag was that he favored white defendants numbers-wise. Since racism was a major flag cited, "caprice" here can go in various directions there.
 

Mr. W:

In the interest of dispelling Democrat misinformation...

(1) "Remember when Bircher Bart was crowing about the then-coming IG report, how it was going to result in so much indictments and such?" >> The IG has no power to convene grand juries and obtain indictments. As I noted several times, US Attorney John Durham is conducting the criminal investigation and, by all reports, convened a criminal grand jury months ago, based partially on the IG investigation.

(2) The FBI was led by Comey who at that time was a lifelong GOP operative...Imagine if, during the 2016 campaign, the investigation into the Trump campaign by the FBI were led by a career Democrat official. >> Comey and his family contribute to and endorse Democrats, while the women in his family marched in DC against Trump with the pussy hat brigade.

(3) "And from accounts he told them to proceed quietly and cautiously." >> What accounts? Those of the Democrat operatives? You judge criminal perps by their actions, not their words. The IG laid out a compelling criminal case, but refused to make any criminal judgments. Justice publicly rejected the IGs cop out and admitted to the FISA court the FBI lied to them to obtain warrants against Carter Page. If Justice/FBI was acting on Obama orders, he should be subject to criminal investigation as well, but I won't hold my breath on that one.

(4) "with Obama's seeming blessing, *keep the investigation quiet during the campaign!* Indeed, not only did they do so" >> You are kidding, right? The perps were all leaking furiously to the Democrat media. Indeed, the Justice criminal investigation of McCabe concerning his misleading the FBI concerning this leaking to the Democrat media.
 

"Comey and his family contribute to and endorse Democrats"

Perhaps Comey does now, but at the time in question he was a registered Republican an lifelong GOP political operative. What his 'family' and the 'women in his family' do has no more bearing on what he does than Kelly Anne Conway's husband's does on her (though I appreciate someone like Bircher Bart probably believes in a kind of coverture theory)

"The IG laid out a compelling criminal case"

From the IG's report: “We found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.” and "We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced" the decision to investigate.

"Indeed, the Justice criminal investigation of McCabe concerning his misleading the FBI concerning this leaking to the Democrat media."

OK, Bircher Bart's arguments are always quasi-gibberish, but I guess we can drop the quasi part now.
 

It's worth noting something fun here.

Notice how Bircher Bart both, and at the same time, inveighs against the 'mandarin class' of 'deep state' operatives that make up the 'capitol swamp,' and yet then also points to the same to try to make his Krazy Konspiracy Kook theories? He trumpeted the IG report (until it turned out to be another nothingburger), but if IG Horowitz ain't part of this 'mandarin' 'deep state' etc., then no one is. He now pins his hopes on US Attorney Durham who has been part of this mandarin class for decades.

It's just part of the usual partisan incoherent Krazy Konspiracy Kook playbook: if Comey would have done what Bircher Bart wanted to see happen, he would have praised him, but when he didn't he can actually take a GOP operative tasked with investigating a Democrat candidate and twist it to claim it was the GOP slighted here; likewise when the IG fails him he can turn to Durham, when he fails him he will doubtlessly cry deep state.

Remember, with conspiracy theorists, nothing can shake them from what they already knew has happened.

This is why conspiracy theorists are so poor at predicting things that actually have a demonstrable showing in the world, like why Bircher Bart's guarantee of a Romney Presidency fell so flat on it's face. Confirmation bias is all they can do.
 

So, for example, if a long time government official of high standing does something that threatens Bircher Bart's team, say a career ambassador or IG, or US Attorney, then Bircher Bart dismisses them as part of the 'deep state' mandarin class.

But if they provide confirmation to Bircher Bart's theories, or he even thinks they will, he takes them as Gospel truth. Because someone like Bart (and Brett) has the answers before anything starts.

You could see this so readily in Bircher Brett re: H Clinton. He was just convinced that she had done wrong because he has been convinced she has done wrong so many times over the decades and gotten away with it. He often indicated his ire, which was all out of proportion to the offense she was currently being charged with (this also was shown multiple times to be a nothingburger of course), was founded in the idea that 'she just can't get away with it AGAIN!' When you live in a world of conspiracy theory they feed on themselves and a feedback loop of growing intensity is created. Someone like Brett has to at all times have a conspiracy theory about how evil his perceived political enemies are (look at how seamlessly he transitioned to 'all things Hillary are evil' to 'Joe Biden's dealings stink' when the latter replaced the former as the chief Democrat nationally). So when someone like Hillary comes around, an enduring figure for the other side, it has a deranging effect: he was undoubtedly sure Hillary did X in 1992, and Y in 1995, and Z in 1998, and A in 2000, and B in 2002, and etc., etc.,. As long as she's a face of the enemy he has to keep concocting more conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories being what they are, sloppy reasoning, they often don't pan out in terms of 'something being done.' So it feeds on itself, now she's 'always getting away with it!' and 'this can't be allowed to continue!'

Now that wacky, deranged, sloppy reasoning energy gets transferred into using the same sloppy reasoning to defend Trump because, well, he's making words about finally holding Hillary accountable! And the sad thing is it causes him to overlook and make a fool of himself in explaining away Trump doing so many of the very things he's so zealously pursued Hillary on and for...
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Mr. W: Perhaps Comey does now, but at the time in question he was a registered Republican an lifelong GOP political operative... if a long time government official of high standing does something that threatens Bircher Bart's team, say a career ambassador or IG, or US Attorney, then Bircher Bart dismisses them as part of the 'deep state' mandarin class.But if they provide confirmation to Bircher Bart's theories, or he even thinks they will, he takes them as Gospel truth. Because someone like Bart (and Brett) has the answers before anything starts.

Where do you register as a GOP political operative? If you are referring to voter registration, this species is known as Rebublican in Name Only.

Once again, you judge people by their actions. When their action are corrupt and/or criminal, they are corrupt and/or criminal.

Comey whitewashed the Clinton crimes and then launched an investigation of Team Trump with no evidence whatsoever any of their targets were committing crimes or acting as foreign intelligence agents. Most Democrat POTUS's can only dream of having such "GOP political operatives" in their administration.

Ditto Hillary Clinton and the Bidens.

Indeed, if you substituted Don and Don, Jr. for Joe and Hunter and Melania for Hillary, you would be justifiably screaming for impeachment followed by criminal indictments because you are both a liar and a hypocrite.


 

because you are both a liar and a hypocrite.


# posted by Blogger Bart DePalma : 7:15 PM


lol

Physician, heal thyself.

Btw, the curb stomping MW is giving you over your predictions about 2012 are pretty funny. You really are a moron.
 

"If you are referring to voter registration, this species is known as Rebublican in Name Only. "

Lol, you see? All non-confirming evidence is dismissed. Bircher Bart thinks the fact that Comey's *family* marched in an anti-Trump march is somehow dispositive, but the fact that *he himself registered as a Republican* is easily dismissed.

This is how Krazy Konspiracy Kooks 'think!'

"Comey whitewashed the Clinton crimes"

There was no crimes, at least not the felonies Birchers wanted so badly. They were ignorant of things like the Gorin precedent and prosecutorial tradition (which Bircher Bart said didn't exist in this context and then later invoked, classic Bircher Bart). I challenged Bircher Bart at the time to cite one, just one, case with the same facts, and he could not. Comey, lifelong GOP hack, had to acknowledge it, but not after he broke protocol to deal a fatal blow to the Democrat candidate.

"with no evidence whatsoever any of their targets were committing crimes or acting as foreign intelligence agents"

Lol, half a dozen *pled guilty* in this investigation! Some are now literally in prison.

Of course, Bircher Bart is the fellow who is on record saying there is 'zero evidence' that Trump asked the Ukrainian President to investigate Biden, even though it's right there in the 'perfect' phone call quasi-transcript released by the White House.

Bircher Bart is also on record saying he would support Trump even if he knew Trump committed murder.

This is not a serious man. This is a Bircher. Partisan incoherent.


 

I had an uncle like today's Rs. It was maybe 40 years ago when I told my father that my uncle believed the most absurd things and refused to admit the obvious. Those are the folks who've now taken over the R party.
 

BB, I'd like to offer a personal and heartfelt apology for the times in which, assuming Birchers Brett and Bart were serious, though deluded, men, I criticized your mocking of them.

It's apparent to me now that these are and never were serious men, these are conspiracy kooks, Birchers, propagandists, and partisan incoherents.

Mea culpa.
 

"Some are now literally in prison."

Not just "some". Trump's campaign manager is in prison. His deputy pleaded guilty and cooperated. Trump's NSA was on a foreign payroll and pleaded guilty; he'll be sentenced soon. Trump's long time associate and fellow rat-fucker is waiting sentencing. Trump's consigliere is in prison. The two chief deputies of Trump's replacement consigliere are facing federal charges. And that's not even the tip of the iceberg of Trump's corruption. Trump may have promised to "drain the swamp", but he turned out to be the Creature From the Black Lagoon.
 

"Those are the folks who've now taken over the R party."

Indeed. The GOP is essentially Birchers now.

To tie this back into this website, it's infecting SCOTUS and the judiciary. Look at Scalia's dissent in the immigration case, or Thomas' in the census case, etc., The profs here are going to have to deal with the fact that the judiciary is going to be infected with this Bircherism because it's the mainstream of one of the two major parties now.

Now, if the other major party turns to the socialism of a demagogue like Sanders, then God Help Us All.
 

"Not just "some". Trump's campaign manager is in prison. His deputy pleaded guilty and cooperated. Trump's NSA was on a foreign payroll and pleaded guilty; he'll be sentenced soon. Trump's long time associate and fellow rat-fucker is waiting sentencing. Trump's consigliere is in prison. The two chief deputies of Trump's replacement consigliere are facing federal charges."

If a *scintilla* of this were true of a Democrat President our Birchers would be spinning more conspiracy theories than the spider in Charlotte's Web spun webs.
 

BB, I'd like to offer a personal and heartfelt apology for the times in which, assuming Birchers Brett and Bart were serious, though deluded, men, I criticized your mocking of them.

It's apparent to me now that these are and never were serious men, these are conspiracy kooks, Birchers, propagandists, and partisan incoherents.

Mea culpa.
# posted by Blogger Mista Whiskas : 7:40 PM


Don’t worry about it. Even my mother, who is about as left wing as you can get, is still in denial about how batshit crazy the GOP has become.
 

Trump's NSA was on a foreign payroll and pleaded guilty; he'll be sentenced soon.

That's optimistic. That sentencing is getting to be like a Dickens lawsuit at this point.

Mr. W. will now change his name to MistaBirchersBuster.

 

joe-lol. I don't need to change though, a cat's whiskers, or whiskas, help it "see in the dark and steer clear of hungry predators" (https://www.livescience.com/44196-why-do-cats-have-whiskers.html), and, likewise, my whiskas just force me to expose the BS that our Birchers are selling.
 

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