November 5, 2016

"So his reasoning is that there's no evidence of the destruction of evidence, and surely nothing unethical happened because lawyers were involved?"

"Is this a joke? Donald Trump is also well-lawyered — should we hold back from ever accusing him of illegality in his business affairs or lawsuits because surely his lawyers would have prevented it?"

Writes my son John Althouse Cohen, responding to Matthew Yglesias's "The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign."

Yglesias wrote a sentence that makes me laugh, cry, and cringe all at once: "Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal."

65 comments:

Will Cate said...

Smart guy, that son of yours.

rhhardin said...

NYU professor suspended for saying My contention is that trigger warnings, safe spaces and bias hot-line reporting is not politically correct. It is insane.

The interesting thing is that he's a classical Marxist himself. Just not a social Marxist.

via Derb.

Even Marxists notice things gone wrong.

Hagar said...

I think the Clintons and the Democrats have been happy to keep fussing about "the e-mail" and State Dept. "arcane rules" to keep attention off the contents of the e-mails, especially any concerning Clinton, Inc. activities.

Bob Boyd said...

"Generally speaking, in life we assume if someone from the law firm did squeal Matthew Yglesias would write a similarly well-reasoned piece on why no one should believe them.

Skeptical Voter said...

Little Matty has been hitting the vodka hard. Or else he is heavy into an LSD haze. There is no other way that he can come to that conclusion.

David Begley said...

1. Hillary had to have her private server so that she could secretly run the RICO enterprise called the Clinton Foundation. And that included taking money for official acts and favors. Bribery. Just today a new wikileaks email revealed $1m from Qatar that was never disclosed.

2. The Platte River Networks guy bleached and destroyed the emails after speaking with Cheryl Mills and after a Congressional subpoena. Why the two of them weren't indicted for obstruction of justice is the real scandal.

traditionalguy said...

I am afraid lawyers are the best hired guns on the earth just because they can never leak on their clients, never. If they do, then that evidence is excluded in Court and they are disbarred.

Barr McClellan attributes the success of the JFK assassination in Texas to the Attorney/Client Privilege used by Johnson's lawyer.

Michael K said...

The last minute Clinton campaign theme is that the accusations have been "debunked."

Nobody that I know of has shown any of the Wikileaks e-mail texts are inaccurate.

It will be interesting if she can pull it off. Even Al Capone was finally done in by his taxes.

Quaestor said...

Lawyers are no better than the rest of us when it comes to ethics or morality, if anything they may be worse. Consider the number of lawyers who attended the Wannsee Conference, and then tell me again why someone at "a well-known law firm" is bound to do the right thing and squeal.

Michael K said...

" Why the two of them weren't indicted for obstruction of justice is the real scandal."

Yes. I wonder if Loretta Lynch will flee the country of Trump is elected.

Kevin said...

Only moderately difficult for the average American? Then nothing at all for a person of Hillary's stature and means.

Quayle said...

The babbling of a Harvard trained philosopher. He wants to tell you a bedtime story to put your conscience back to sleep.

One minute he is arguing that Hillary would have had to suffer the indignity of carrying two Blackberries, one for her personal emails and one for her official state department emails

The Horror! The Horror!

But in the very next paragraph he informs us that Chief Justice Johnathan Roberts opined that carrying two cell phones could be evidence of being a drug dealer.

So Yglesias is arguing that HRC was worried she might be held or thought to be a drug dealer?

I had to stop reading there.

Such a precise multi-dimension correlation of orthogonal facts is beyond my non-Harvard trained mind.

Roy Lofquist said...

Methinks Mr. Yglesias should get out more often.

rehajm said...

Anything to 'muddy the waters' until Tuesday night.

PB said...

If you're a fan of the Jesse Stone books/movies, there's a great line said a number of times with regard to Hillary, "know but can't prove".

dialog example from "Sea Change":

Jesse Stone: Here's what I think.
Gino Fish: Think?
Jesse Stone: Know, but can't prove...

I think Hillary set up her server to evade oversight. I think Hillary believed she was above the law with regard to handling classified information. I think Hillary and Bill were selling their influence and the buyers were clearly aware of the game. I think the Clinton Foundation is a fraud designed to offer crumbs to people in need but enrich the Clintons and their supporters.

Quayle said...

And I have found lawyers to be a very moral and ethical group.

As usual, its that bottom 65% - %70 who aren't moral or ethical who give the rest of us a bad image.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal.

In general this is true, because the well-known law firm values their reputation more than they would value the business of any of us little people. However, just because that is true in the general case does not mean that it is true in every specific case, particularly in the case of someone with as much power, influence, and money as Clinton, Inc.

Sydney said...

Didn't Matt Yglesias say once, way back when he was first starting blogging, in the early 2000's, that Hillary Clinton should be kept away from positions of power? I might be remembering incorrectly, but I remember it was a liberal blogger with a background in economics, and it wasn't Megan McCardle. Couldn't find anything in the Google. His paying jobs have taken over the internet and obscured anything from way back when in the search engines.

Sydney said...

PB said: I think Hillary believed she was above the law with regard to handling classified information.

And so far, she has been proven right.

Quayle said...

Yglesias apparently never heard of William Lerach, one example of many

From Wiki:

"William Lerach is a disbarred lawyer who specialized in private securities class action lawsuits. The $7.12 billion he obtained as the lead plaintiff's attorney in the case against Enron is currently the largest sum ever recovered in a group of securities class-action lawsuits in U.S. history. In 2007 he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. In 2009 he was disbarred from practicing law in California. As part of the settlement, Lerach would not cooperate as a witness and his law firm would be protected from any further prosecution. Lerach, a major Democratic donor, was the key target of government investigation that carried on for at least 7 years.

Of course his donations to Democrats was in no way connected to his lack of ethical principals, or his"felony stupid", a label he applied to himself at his re-arraignment.

"Mr. Lerach added that even at the time, 'I knew what I did was wrong' but that he lacked the “strength of character” to not join with other lawyers in the scheme.'"

Paul Zrimsek said...

Sydney, that was a different hack, Brad DeLong.

Quayle said...

And while we're on Enron, let's Vincent and Elkins, merely by reading an opening line in a NYTimes piece,

"The law firm of Vinson & Elkins, which became publicly enmeshed this week in the Enron scandal, is often described much like its client: hugely powerful, international in scope and rich with connections from the statehouse to the White House."

Yglesias believes it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal.

This is stupid "on so many levels." (A once-discussed and dissected phrase on the Althouse blog.)

But read the NY Times paragraph again, then ask yourself, "Squeal to whom? To the people on the other end of those 'rich' connections at the statehouse and the White House?"

AprilApple said...

the left must suspend reality to cover for her criminality.

damikesc said...

Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal

We all know what happens when you assume.

AprilApple said...

btw- It's not the e-mail - IT'S THE SERVER.

She set up a private server. If any of us did so, working for the government or even a private sector job - we would be fired, and prosecuted.

Gahrie said...

Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal."

Why would he think that? he knows that the MSM, without even being paid for it, is willing to cover up and/or ignore evidence for the Clintons without anyone willing to do the right thing.

Amadeus 48 said...

Mattyglesias is marked by his poor judgment and gullibility. He famously tweeted something like "I am laying down a marker: Obamacare is going to be awesome." This is a young man who has nothing much to add to partisan cheering for the ever-greater administrative state.

Chris N said...

Yglesias seems a pretty good rectal thermometer of where the New,New Left meets would-be neoliberal wonkery, or the 'Jacobins'', or the Vox-class Washingtonian wind-sniffers, or whatever they're calling themselves this year.

His apparent moral, ideological and professional commitments lead to standard D.C power and influence-peddling 'explainers' such as this.

Read a little Stiglitz, keep the recent blue-haired Brown grads placated, and explain 'the struggle' to some 57 year-old upstate Democrat lady why Hilary ain't a power-hungry, corrupt mess.

Who needs the Constitution, the old traditional political skepticism and deeper moral lights that keep power separated and politicians accountable...when you've got Matt f**kin' Yglesias.

Think forward!

David Begley said...

And don't forget her private server was penetrated by five foreign countries. My guess? Israel, Iran, China, North Korea and Russia.

Wilbur said...

His argument can be summarized in nine words: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Yglesias seems a pretty good rectal thermometer of where the New,New Left meets would-be neoliberal wonkery, or the 'Jacobins'', or the Vox-class Washingtonian wind-sniffers, or whatever they're calling themselves this year.

"Wannabe mandarins" works pretty well for me.

Michael The Magnificent said...

I'm reading Matt's article, and it's full of misinformation. He keeps saying "personal email address" instead of "personal email server." There is a world of difference between the two.

If Hillary had used a "personal email address" such as a gmail.com account, she might be able to "delete" emails, such that they wouldn't appear in her inbox, but those emails would still exist on Google's servers, and would be easy enough to retrieve with a subpoena.

But Hillary used a "personal email server," her very own piece of computer hardware that received and stored all of her email. And by owning the hardware, she could permanently erase those emails - which was actually done with BleachBit shortly after the NYT reported she was using a private email server. At which point, those emails would be impossible to recover, regardless of any subpoena.

And no, she couldn't access State's email server with her personal Blackberry, precisely because her consumer-grade Blackberry was not secure enough. Blackberry does make extra-secure encrypted phones, which State would have issued to her, but the extra-secure Blackberries won't connect to insecure email servers.

The proper solution would have been to conduct all State business using the security-hardened Blackberry issued to her from State, and conduct her private business using the Blackberries she had her assistants buy for her on eBay. She had a coterie of lackies following her everywhere she went, it's not as though she couldn't have tasked one of them with holding onto her two phones for her.

Meade said...

"Smart guy, that son of yours."

Yes. Both of her sons are smart guys.

tim in vermont said...

OK, so Hillary's mole in the DOJ warned her that the emails were under investigation. A couple of days later there is a meeting at the server company to figure out how to bleach not just the emails, but the backup tapes. She says herself that thousands of emails were deleted on the grounds that they were "personal" Hundreds of these emails have come to light that were not, in fact "personal" including a thousand emails to Petraeus, where I guess they bantered about yoga classes and Chelsea's wedding.

How studiously do you have to ignore the news reports to come up with the idea that there is "no evidence" that evidence was destroyed?

The problem for him is that he is supposed to write boob bait for the likes of ARM, PB&J and shiloh, but when you write boob bait, you must needs look like a boob.

tim in vermont said...

I'm reading Matt's article, and it's full of misinformation.

That would be disinformation. I know a lot about Blackberry transmission protocols, encryption, signalling channels, etc. And I can tell you that the NOC (Network Operation Center) of every country that she visited, most likely, was capturing all of her messaging and saving it off for analysis, and having access to the keys, which are passed over separate channels, but the NOC has access to those too, having access to the keys made reading them child's play.

She is an idiot.

AprilApple said...

Tim in Vermont 10:25.

!

robother said...

That's why we never had a Wall Street bank melt-down in 2008--because no Wall Street law firms could be found to structure the derivative securities representing interests in pools of thousands of toxic mortgages.

Howard said...

Yglesias wrote a sentence that makes me laugh, cry, and cringe all at once: "Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal."

The whole purpose for hiring a big, powerful law firm is to use them as a burn-bag because their priestly lips are sealed by the #1 code that lawyers are supposed to abide by: client confidentiality.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Michael The Magnificent, thanks for making some of this murk clearer. HRC's goal, then, wasn't so much initially to hide her email (though there was that) as to make it in principle irrecoverable if anyone asked after it. "Wiped? Like, with a cloth?" No, "like," with BleachBit, which I understand to be pretty good at erasing shit.

tim in vermont, a thousand emails to Petraeus are really, really unlikely to have been about yoga or Chelsea's wedding.

Look, can't we just concede that the SoS flagrantly violated the law and has continued lying about the violation ever since? That the POTUS, in saying he knew nothing of this until it hit the press, while emailing HRC at her illegal address, has done the same? That the DoJ has been obstructing, rather than aiding, Justice since this whole farce started?

. Like everyone else in the country, I want this just to be over.

Owen said...

When HRC wins, all of this will be forgotten. Anyone who objected will be forgotten.

Useful idiots like Matt Yglesias will be lucky if they are only disappointed. The usual practice of the emperor is to have slaves bury the treasure (or here: the crime), then have soldiers kill the slaves who hid it, and then kill the soldiers. Further rinsing is rarely needed.

Michael The Magnificent said...

That would be disinformation.

I stand corrected. Yes, I agree. I believe his conflating private email account with private email server is done with the intent to deceive.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Blogger Quayle said...
The babbling of a Harvard trained philosopher. He wants to tell you a bedtime story to put your conscience back to sleep."

That was my impression as well. Sop for the clueless, justification for the willfully ignorant.

Freeman Hunt said...

The naiveté one must embrace to declare that there's no reason to believe Clinton has done anything wrong after looking at the evidence about the private server, the emails, the handling of the emails, the Clinton Foundation, and the special treatment of Clinton Foundation donors is incredible. It's a chosen, cynical, false naiveté. Does it leave a trail like a slug when one puts it on?

Danno said...

As a rule, I never read Vox since it is largely spin for the leftie point of view. Yglesias and Ezra Klein are wrong on every issue you can think of. The only exceptions I can think of were a couple of articles on the problems with Vermont's attempt to institute a single-payer health plan that fizzled in 2013 or thereabouts when the state realized it would have to double their income tax rate and add a payroll tax besides to cover the cost.

Real American said...

there is no amount of criminal activity by the Clintons that sycophants like Iglesias won't tolerate and rationalize as "no big deal". These people crave power and nothing else. Their morality is based solely on holding the right political opinions - not personal character and behavior.

Trump ain't no saint either, but he's not a criminal who will sell America to the highest bidder. Hillary is for sale. She's unfit for the office.

Yancey Ward said...

Michelle wrote:

"Look, can't we just concede that the SoS flagrantly violated the law and has continued lying about the violation ever since? That the POTUS, in saying he knew nothing of this until it hit the press, while emailing HRC at her illegal address, has done the same? That the DoJ has been obstructing, rather than aiding, Justice since this whole farce started?"

No. One lesson I have learned well over the past decade is this- no amount of evidence will be enough to change the mind of a person like Yglesias whose entire reputation would be undone should he allow what you wrote. Indeed, such a person is forced to double down with essays like the one linked in the blog post that are pure but unintentional comedy.

Yancey Ward said...

We learned yesterday (well, learned is the wrong word, but we now have a pure example) why Clinton and her staff (including her lawyers!) printed out hard copies of "work-related" e-mails rather than turn over the electronic chains. The State Department released a trove of Clinton's e-mails that the FBI recovered in its investigation. One of the e-mails in question was from Clinton to her daughter that contained what is now deemed confidential information by the State Department. Within this particular chain of e-mails the Clinton team returned in printed form, the one to Chelsea is the only one Clinton deleted without turning over.

That is why they only turned over printed copies of e-mail chains- it is the only effective way to delete selected e-mails from within a corresponding chain of them without leaving a hole that a forensic analysis would detect.

It is quite possible, however, that material Abedin forwarded to herself, or received on her e-mail accounts has evidence of where these holes in the printed record are- at least some of them.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Clinton knew what she wanted, wealth. Clinton devised a scheme to use her and Bill's influence to sell their influence. Clinton delivered the goods to their customs. Clinton plotted, conspired and executed a pay for play racket with full malice aforethought.

Like Boss Tweed and the Tammmany Hall political machine, Clinton is seen as safe, reliable the establishment.

"It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization." Boss Tweed: The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of Modern New York New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005;


Virgil Hilts said...

Just google "big law partner indicted" to see how many partners at prestigious firms get indicted all the time for things arguably even worse than destroying evidence - and those are the less bright ones who get caught. Do you think Eric Holder (formerly Covington Burling) is capable of destroying evidence? Do you think any big law firm would hesitate one second in hiring him, or hesitate in hiring Cheryl Mills? Remember "Team Abramoff" at Greenberg Traurig? Some fun reading that - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Abramoff.
Big law makes (and hires) partners based on their ability to make money, not on how well they did in their law school ethics class.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I like the Enron example, and how many lawyers were involved in Watergate again? Wasn't John Mitchell with a highly reputable firm?

Thoughts on why Huma's e-mails may be important, from someone who usually blogs, if at all, on climate: https://climateaudit.org/2016/11/04/the-destruction-of-huma-abedins-emails-on-the-clinton-server-and-their-surprise-recovery/

Huma may not have realized her e-mails were being backed up on the laptop she shared with Anthony. That's probably why nobody, including some highly reputable lawyers, identified that this laptop should be scrubbed. When Hillary was asked specifically if she had accounted for all relevant e-mails, she carefully responded about "my e-mails," i.e. not Huma's. Huma was one of three people with a clintonemail address; the other two were Hillary and Chelsea.

tolkein said...

Her private server was penetrated by 5 foreign countries.

That would be the UK, Israel, China, Russia and don't know, could be NK.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Owen said...
When HRC wins, all of this will be forgotten. Anyone who objected will be forgotten.

Not if you do your job and vote, soldier!

If everybody who sees Hillary Clinton for what she is, votes for Trump, she will lose, hard.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Dear Tolkien,

Purportedly the Five Eyes countries (UK, USA, Canada, Aus, NZ) have an agreement to share the ECHELON system, and snoop on the rest of the world together, but not snoop on one another. Or I may misunderstand, or it may apply in some circumstances but not others. For instance, the UK may be squeamish about spying on its own citizens, but happy to have Oz do it for them and pass on the take.

BTW, you misspelled your handle. Please fix.

tim in vermont said...

For instance, the UK may be squeamish about spying on its own citizens,

Ummm, that would be a big fat no. They are authorized by their own laws to spy on their citizens, and if the US did half of what they do, we would be called Stazi redux.

tim in vermont said...

The naiveté one must embrace to declare that there's no reason to believe Clinton has done anything wrong after looking at the evidence about the private server, the emails, the handling of the emails, - Freeman Hunt

It isn't "naiveté," it's deep cynicism that Yglesias is embracing. Imagine if he were suddenly forced to earn an honest living? What's he going to do? Do you think he has the strength of character to keep a fish taco stand by the beach running smoothly?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I simply don't understand why everyone involved has been talking around the real issue in Clinton's offense, and never once addressing it directly. Understandably, Comey didn't want to be the guy who derailed the electoral process. To get himself off the hook, he invented an intent clause in the statute that didn't exist. Hillary didn't mean to damage the security of the US, therefore she shouldn't be charged with a crime. Of course, the statute doesn't require intent, merely gross negligence, but let's put that aside. The great crime that Clinton is guilty of, and for which there are reams of evidence, is that the server was not created for Hillary's convenience as Yglesias would have it, but to avoid exposing her correspondence to examination by the public. This is certainly what Clinton intended. It is both a federal crime, and a clear indication of her character. Regardless of what was in the emails, Clinton is guilty of this crime, and there is just no arguing her way out of it.

tim in vermont said...

Well "Gross negligence" and "extreme carelessness" are two completely different things.

tim in vermont said...

A third-party review of the Clinton Foundation found the charity operated “more like a political operation” than a philanthropy in Nov. 2011 — just a few months before the end of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

The revelation was included in a “confidential” memo prepared by Kumiki Gibson, then a lawyer at Williams & Connolly, the firm that has represented Clinton throughout her email controversy. That memo was published Saturday by WikiLeaks, along with hundreds of other emails taken from the inbox of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.


LOL.

What a prize, and there is a solid chance she will become president. What happens the day she is sworn in? Another "Saturday Night Massacre"?

Owen said...

Bad Lieutenant @ 2:20: "...will lose, hard." I don't want to jinx by hoping.

jr565 said...

ON twitter I noticed Markos MoulitsAs tweeted this, and then Ezra Klein tweeted almost the exact same thing. And when I clicked on the link it was to a Matt Yglesias article. This is Journolist part II isnt it? They all peddle their own stories and buttress it with the same talking points

jr565 said...

ON twitter I noticed Markos MoulitsAs tweeted this, and then Ezra Klein tweeted almost the exact same thing. And when I clicked on the link it was to a Matt Yglesias article. This is Journolist part II isnt it? They all peddle their own stories and buttress it with the same talking points

Zach said...

Yglesias wrote a sentence that makes me laugh, cry, and cringe all at once: "Generally speaking, in life we assume it would be moderately difficult to hire a well-known law firm to destroy evidence for you without someone deciding to do the right thing and squeal."

Yeah, there's a sort of willful naivete combined with cynicism here. When it comes to destroying evidence, I've always thought of lawyers as closer to button men than whistle blowers. Who else is in a position to know what evidence is most damaging?

There's a reason that Tom Hagen in the Godfather movies is a lawyer.

Douglas said...

It's too bad about Yglesias. I remember when he started writing for the general public as an undergrad at Harvard. Back then he was willing to challenge the liberal consensus. But today he's a walking fount of liberal Democratic talking points. Too bad.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Owen, fair enough, I said if, you say if too.

Martin said...

Yglesias is either an idiot or a political hack pretending to be a journalist. This just proves it to any doubters.