February 17, 2018

"Mueller’s unprecedented prosecution raises three novel arguments: first, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act..."

"... second, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen list their source and expenditure of funding to the Federal Election Commission; and third, that mistakes on visa applications constitute 'fraud' on the State Department. All appear to borrow from the now-discredited 'honest services' theories Mueller’s team previously used in corporate and bribery cases, cases the Supreme Court overturned for their unconstitutional vagueness. The indictment raises serious issues under the free speech clause of the First Amendment and due process rights under the Fifth Amendment."

From "Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?" by Robert Barnes, who observes that Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.

143 comments:

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sure, indict Christopher Steele too. We’re told he’s an ex-British spy, but really? Could be some collusion in the special relationship.

MartyH said...

My view from the hinterlands of America is that the Steele dossier is obviously Russian disinformation, bought by the Clinton campaign. If we can indict thirteen Russians for whispering disinformation into Americans ears what is the punishment for those who mainline it into our veins?

Fernandistein said...

The Democratic Party is set to name its first undocumented 'Dreamer' superdelegate
"Ellie Pérez, of Arizona, will be the first undocumented person to cast a ballot for a presidential nominee in a primary contest. The announcement by the Democratic leadership comes at a critical time for Dreamers as the clock runs out in March for an Obama-era program that protects them from deportation.
...
Pérez, who is Mexican-born, will be able to vote as a superdelegate in the party's 2020 convention to nominate the Democratic presidential candidate, the highest any undocumented person has risen in the presidential election process."

rwnutjob said...

Started in 2013?
Back when Trump was a shoe-in for the nomination? GTFOH

"This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."

Sebastian said...

"first, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act..."
"... second, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen list their source and expenditure of funding to the Federal Election Commission; and third, that mistakes on visa applications constitute 'fraud' on the State Department."

I love it. Rule of law, baby. Let's go after the Dreamers dreaming aloud, or John Oliver and Trevor Noah, just to set an example.

Thanks, Bob!

Oso Negro said...

My interpretation of the Mueller indictment is that he is looking for a way out of the bullshit investigation he is saddled with. Indicting 13 foreign nationals on bullshit charges and leaving out all Americans of either political stripe is his version of "peace with honor".

Paul Zrimsek said...

The House should set up a special committee to investigate the activities of these un-Americans.

M Jordan said...

I object to those on the right who say, “See, there’s nothing there. Stop this investigation.” There’s plenty of corruption there and it exposes a corrupt collusion between the “deep state,” Democrats, Obama, Hillary, and the media.

I want justice. The corruption here more than stinks: it undermines our faith in government at the deepest, foundational levels.

The Godfather said...

“Lock her up”?

rhhardin said...

That's a good guess about what he's up to.

Establish a truth that can't be put to the test.

Michael K said...

Mueller, Comey and Rosenstein walk into a bar, plunk down $25 million taxpayer dollars, and order the indictment of 13 Russian internet trolls.

The bartender says, "What is this? Some kind of joke?"

It is.

rhhardin said...

It's the ham sandwich amendment to the constitution.

Sebastian said...

"his version of "peace with honor"."

Yes, that is possible. He can try to wind this down without progs freaking out. From that standpoint, Brennan's "hoax in tatters" comment is helpful, licking the bone Bob threw them.

The point of the investigation is the investigation. But an otherwise pointless investigation, with no basis and nothing to show, must at some point run out of steam. I still think Bob will keep on keepin' on for a while.

If honor was his priority, he would have refused the assignment.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Don’t expect such an indictment. Mueller chose his targets because he knows they will never appear in court, never contest the charges, and cannot be arrested or extradited as Russian citizens."

A sham indictment, without arrests.

Mueller is now running for City Attorney of the Potemkin Villiage.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Erik Njorl, you are hereby charged, one, that you did, on or about 11/26, conspire to publicise a London Borough in the course of a BBC saga; two, that you were wilfully and persistently a foreigner; three, that you conspired to do things not normally considered illegal...

M Jordan said...

I expect Mueller to slowly edge out off the room firing off a couple more mini-flares as he goes. This absurd indictment was meant to provide cover for all the criminals who fanned this hoax into flame.

320Busdriver said...

Wait, We don't know who the co-conspirators are. They have to be Trump and family et al.

Just have to be.

Ralph L said...

It sounds like Mueller has had the available facts for months and couldn't figure out what could be charged.

Original Mike said...

”From "Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?" by Robert Barnes, who observes that Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.”

Some observed in yesterday’s comments that Putin could really stick it to the US by allowing one or more of these individuals to actually be prosecuted. He could probably find volunteers, but if not maybe he could kidnap one and dump them in the US where the FBI could arrest them.

Humperdink said...

Oso Negro said: "My interpretation of the Mueller indictment is that he is looking for a way out of the bullshit investigation he is saddled with. Indicting 13 foreign nationals on bullshit charges and leaving out all Americans of either political stripe is his version of "peace with honor".

My thoughts exactly. Mueller can't bag Trump. All fingers now point to HRC and her campaign. He needed a path to avoid indicting Hillary et al. The splash will be: Hey, I let Trump off the hook, let's all forget about Hillary and just go home.

320Busdriver said...

"The point of the investigation is the investigation. But an otherwise pointless investigation, with no basis and nothing to show, must at some point run out of steam. I still think Bob will keep on keepin' on for a while."

Exactly, the thugs in WI, despite sowing plenty o discord, came up with nothing on a ginned up "theory" of broken campaign finance laws. They also succeeded in drying up conservative contributions, for a time.

What price did they pay for silencing their political enemies? Nuthin

Birches said...

Judging from the comments on that article, the Russians are still sowing discord. They've just switched sides.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Is Mueller a Russian agent or nuts?

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Yeah boss, just making it up as we's goes along...

Original Mike said...

”My thoughts exactly. Mueller can't bag Trump. All fingers now point to HRC and her campaign. He needed a path to avoid indicting Hillary et al. The splash will be: Hey, I let Trump off the hook, let's all forget about Hillary and just go home.”

I also think this is what’s going on. I hope it doesn’t work. I hope that when the Mueller investigation is done, Sessions would persue the FBI/DOJ conspirators.

Ray said...

I view the indictments as face saving.

The Friday afternoon news dump timing to bury it seems strange. My guess because the indictments helps Trump.

Ray said...

Another reason for the timing may be to show the investigation was not all about the Steele Dossier. The recent memos from Nunes and Grassley hurt the Steele dossiers credibility a lot. And showed the fisa warrants were based on it.

Earnest Prole said...

Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.

And that's why the indictment seems like a pretext to something else.

Francisco D said...

If Putin still wants to sow political discord in America, In tandem with the MSM/DNC, all he has to do is allow one of the indicted Russian trolls to be extradited.

The trial would be an amazing spectacle.

Bob Boyd said...

I predict Muellers investigation will continue at least until after the midterms. It's the only thing protecting the true election meddlers from Trump.
Government is too important to be left in the hands of voters.

Earnest Prole said...

Under Mueller's legal theory, the FBI is a criminal co-conspirator with Christopher Steele.

MayBee said...

This seems weird to me, considering Anna Wintour and Chris Martin both hosted fundraisers for Barack Obama.

MayBee said...

Anna Wintour may now be an American citizen.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Said it yesterday and I’ll say it again:

Next up, the indictment of a whole slew of Nigerian Princes...

Who”ll also never face a trial....

The Godfather said...

Trump is missing an opportunity. He should require Mueller to give him a complete briefing on this foreign intelligence matter. Neither Trump nor his campaign are tainted in any way, and as President, Trump has the responsibility to decide what, if any, response the US should make. Mueller will want to refuse to give the briefing but there’s no legitimate ground to do so.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Hillary lost butt-hurt party witch hunt. All this is.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Fernand...

Are there any doubts that making illegals legal is a democrat scheme to import D-voters?

Bob Boyd said...

This is about future elections, not just the last one.
The already established public private partnership between Google, Facebook, etc and the government will need to he much more aggressive in protecting Americans from opinions going forward.

Tim in Vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabi said...

"Mueller is now running for City Attorney of the Potemkin Villiage."

Perfect.

Tim in Vermont said...

My view from the hinterlands of America is that the Steele dossier is obviously Russian disinformation, bought by the Clinton campaign.

Read it and it is about at the level of those memes, except not really as funny, with the exception of the “I hope it is really true” thing about Trump paying hookers to pee on a bed where Obama slept. That does seem more and more likely true as time goes by. Still funny, like flag burning that actually affects liberals.

Fabi said...

Which one of the thirteen Russians stole Wisconsin from Hillary's campaign map?

David said...

Somewhere, wiggling around in all this maneuvering, legalese and misdirection, is the astonishing thought that Fake News might be a crime. A crime punishable by the government at its discretion against disfavored defendants. Be careful what you wish for, partisans.

Molly said...

This article addresses some questions raised in the earlier thread on the Mueller indictment. I think those opposed to Trump ought to be careful about what they wish for; in 2020 an aggressive replacement to Sessions could indict the Democratic party, etc., based in the theory underlying these indictments. (Hat tip to Fernandistein above who notes that Democrats allow non-citizens to influence the election by being super-delegates to their convention.)

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Thou shall not pee on any bed that St. Obama ever laid his head. It's in the constitution.

chuck said...

> The indictment raises serious issues under the free speech clause of the First Amendment and due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

I believe that Weissmann is celebrated for his fanciful interpretations of the law.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Ernest Prole:

Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.

And that's why the indictment seems like a pretext to something else.

________________________________________________________

Reasonable speculation: This is Mueller's quasi-peace offering to FBI Inspector General Horowitz. In essence:

"Look I know that McCabe and Strzok fucked up. And that Comey enabled them. Yes, they went too far with Lynch and Obama's DOJ. But Comey and McCabe are gone and Strzok is twisting in the wind, desperately clinging to his pension. They tried, but failed to derail Trump, and now I've helped neutralize them as penance. Here's the deal. If you don't come down too hard on the FBI, which we both love, I won't come down too hard on Kushner and Don, Jr. Whaddya say?"

Achilles said...

“From "Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?"“

It means there are millions of dreamers who need to be indicted.

Tim in Vermont said...

Andrew Weissmann, one of the team’s most prominent members, sent an email to former acting Attorney General Sally Yates praising her for not defending the Trump administration's travel ban.

He also reportedly attended 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s election-night party.
- Business Insider

Yeah, we can trust him implicitly.

AJ Lynch said...

Sebastian said:

"I love it. Rule of law, baby. Let's go after the Dreamers dreaming aloud, or John Oliver and Trevor Noah, just to set an example.

Thanks, Bob!"

Don't forget the perpetually angry Samantha Bee.

Tim in Vermont said...

Trump is the light bringer, and Weissman is one more cockroach.

Tim in Vermont said...

Just when you thought the Deep State swamp couldn´t get any murkier and the stench any more repugnant, we are reminded by Judicial Watch´s Tom Fitton in a Feb. 13 tweet of how Robert Mueller´s FBI worked with Lois Lerner´s IRS to target Tea Party and other groups in the run-up to the Obama re-election campaign (snip) The irony is that the same Robert Mueller now investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election cooperated with Lois Lerner and the IRS to intervene on President Obama´s behalf in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election. - American Thinker

I am seriously considering emigration. This shit runs too deep.

Tim in Vermont said...

Only read this if you have a strong stomach.

Judicial Watch today released new Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents that include an official "DOJ Recap" report detailing an October 2010 meeting between Lois Lerner, DOJ officials and the FBI to plan for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity.

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”
.

Tim in Vermont said...

Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks,

Unlike the ones they destroyed rather than give them to Congress. Democrats, you have a problem.

Zach said...

Can a special prosecutor just issue a report and close up shop?

If Mueller is to the point of indicting people nobody has ever heard of for small scale activities under dubious legal theories, you have to think the big investigation is going nowhere. It's not like some twitter troll is suddenly going to turn state's evidence and bring down the president.

Bruce Hayden said...

“My view from the hinterlands of America is that the Steele dossier is obviously Russian disinformation, bought by the Clinton campaign. If we can indict thirteen Russians for whispering disinformation into Americans ears what is the punishment for those who mainline it into our veins?”

Maybe, but it looks more and more to me that Steele and his “Russians” may have merely been involved to launder either FISA 702 database information and/or Clinton campaign generated opposition research (from Blumenthal, etc) into national intelligence information that could be used to acquire Title I Wiretap warrants and/or use the federal govt to undermine Trump’s campaign, then Presidency. Should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Quayle said...

So are they all, all honourable men.

Zach said...

I don't see how trying to influence an election can be a crime. Trying to influence the outcome of an election is what an election is!

There's a difference between being a foreign citizen and working on behalf of a foreign government.

Tim in Vermont said...

Unless America can face up to the abuse of power that Obama oversaw, the republic really is lost. Mueller and Comey were both proteges of noted scandal goalie Eric Holder. Imagine if Hillary had been in charge and this rot was further entrenched.

CWJ said...

Paul Zrimsek wins the thread at 10:02. Good one!

CWJ said...

Paul at 9:57. Honorable Mention.

Francisco D said...

"I don't see how trying to influence an election can be a crime. Trying to influence the outcome of an election is what an election is!"

Thank you.

Let's stop the absurd hysteria and move forward for America.

Tim in Vermont said...

Didn’t an Australian diplomat sic the CIA on Trump?

Marty said...

I think Mueller realized quite some time ago that he wasn't going to find any collusion by Trump, but I also think he's been focusing on an obstruction of justice charge. He's going to get some revenge on behalf of his good buddy, Comey, don't you know. I also think he'll pursue it even though he knows he won't be able to win it in court unless he finds a judge as corrupt as Mueller himself. But the mere fact of the charge itself is the victory he'll be happy to take. Mueller, Comey, Brennan - they are dangerous to our country because not just because they believe they are acting to "save" the country and the constitution but because they believe that it's okay for them to twist or even ignore the constitution in order to do so.

EDH said...

Mueller’s unprecedented prosecution raises three novel arguments: first, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act... second, that speaking out about American politics requires a foreign citizen list their source and expenditure of funding to the Federal Election Commission; and third, that mistakes on visa applications constitute 'fraud' on the State Department.

Trump's perfect troll would be to form a "Mueller Brigade" within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to vigorously pursue such charges on behalf of the United States where ever such violations exist.

EDH said...

From "Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?" by Robert Barnes, who observes that Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.

Mueller's is probably the first ever "cloud indictment".

cubanbob said...

Does anyone who is sane actually believe the Russians with their supposed antics actually had any influence on the election?
Did anyone who was going to vote for Hillary change their mind and voted for Trump because of the Russians? This whole thing was bullshit from the jump. Mueller himself needs to come clean on why he has spent millions on this BS and he really needs to come clean regarding his corruption while at the FBI.

Humperdink said...

"Trump's perfect troll would be to form a "Mueller Brigade" within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to vigorously pursue such charges on behalf of the United States where ever such violations exist."

ICE would only need to check three locations.

> Voter registration rolls with a D beside their name.
> Facebook ID's
> Democrat party rallies.

The question would then become, how many congressional seats would Kalifornia lose in the next census.

Bonkti said...

Vladimir Venkov is one of those indicted.

I suspect history may recognize Mueller's investigation as the Venkov matter.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I don't see how trying to influence an election can be a crime. Trying to influence the outcome of an election is what an election is!

There's a difference between being a foreign citizen and working on behalf of a foreign government.


Well put. I'd been struggling with how to articulate this. How can it be a crime to have an opinion, and voice it, about an election in any country yours or not?

One comment on the article mentioned that there are plenty of pro-Clinton Facebook groups in Europe that predate the election; should those people be worried too? Not to mention, as others upthread have pointed out, all the noncitizens right here in the USA who are very politically active.

PackerBronco said...

"Dogberry" Mueller reads the Russian indictment:

"Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily,
they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves."

--- Much Ado about Nothing Act V, Scene i

Humperdink said...

According to the comprehensive immigration reform gang (aka our betters), illegal immigrants should be afforded constitutional rights and protections. But not so the Rooskies?

I am one confused citizen.

Ralph L said...

What other rights can we not honor for resident aliens, legal or otherwise?

Ralph L said...

I've been Humped.

Mike said...

Next time I see a Mexican flag at a rally here I’m making a citizens arrest using Mueller’s charges as pretext. What could go wrong?

Molly said...

Barnes believes, some commenter here also believe, that these three novel arguments are so outlandish that they would never be supported in a court. However, unless one of the people or institutions indicted more or less voluntarily arrives in court to contest the indictment (rather than staying safely in Russia), courts may never have the opportunity to render an opinion about the arguments. (I'm sure other commenters will correct me if I'm wrong about this.) But what might be the reason for Mueller to issue an indictment he knows would never lead to trial? Because if there is a reason, then it is sort of beside the point to argue about the merits of the legal theory of the indictment

rhhardin said...

The curious thing, if the left's anti-Trump hysteria is beaten, is that there will be no triumph about it. It's just the same problems we've always had, but without half of the population being insane and shouting about nothing.

Matthew Sablan said...

I want Trump to test this legal theory by opening investigations into illegal aliens that Democrat politicians have used to influence the election. The DNC is making one a super delegate. Think of the collusion!

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Mueller is a hack.

Matthew Sablan said...

How do you prove Russia, which provided Clinton opposition research, was in the tank for trump? Mueller should have stuck to the proven crimes like identity theft.

Charlie Currie said...

Seems to me, that Mueller's theory requires all "dreamers" who speak out on political matters, including their legal status, need to register as foreign agents.

Matthew Sablan said...

Think of what a man who would jail a film maker on false pretenses will do with this new legal theory.

Matthew Sablan said...

Those who knowingly publish dreamers' political activism are in a conspiracy with them. Per Mueller.

Note: As a free speech absolutist I think this is a terrible precedent.

Joseph Severs said...

Does the Mueller indictment mean that the Feds can prosecute illegal aliens who vote in an election?

Matthew Sablan said...

They don't have to vote. None of these 13 Russians did. They just have to talk about it.

Breezy said...

Man, this is such sad baloney. I almost wish our betters were actually better.

MaxedOutMama said...

The only charges that will stick are the identity fraud/bank fraud stuff. The rest is very legally tenuous.

This is not a shining day for the FBI or for Mueller. It also makes Trump look better by contrast. Much better.

I look at Trump, and then I look at Mueller and his cohort - who do I think is more of a threat to a constitutional rule of law? Mueller.

Unknown said...

Mueller now has just enough predicate to charge trump with obstruction
Perfect scenario

glenn said...

“Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court.”

In other words he’s just another fundamentally dishonest, self serving, pettyfogging political hack. Like his FBI buddies in Florida.

Tim in Vermont said...

Mueller now has just enough predicate to charge trump with obstruction
Perfect scenario


Alas, this is likely true. Whipped up out of nothing. Eric Holder would be proud of his mentee.

Tim in Vermont said...

Eric Holder is likely proud of his mentee. Probably receiving regular updates.

Tim in Vermont said...

The Observer has obtained the contents of a 2006 audio tape that appears to reveal then-Sen. Hillary Clinton suggesting the U.S. should have rigged the Palestinian election. "I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” Clinton is heard telling the editorial board of The Jewish Press about the Jan. 25, 2006 election for the second Palestinian Legislative Council, in which Hamas won a victory over the U.S.-preferred Fatah. “And if we were going to push for an election,” Clinton went on, “then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.” - The Week

LOL, Clinton is the gift that keeps on giving.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Rosenstein said Friday that the indictment does not contain any allegations that any Americans knowingly participated in the activity.
"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity," he said. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/16/politics/mueller-russia-indictments-election-interference/
This news will make some people very sad.

mandrewa said...

This is an assault on free speech. If we believe in reciprocity this makes it illegal for me or anybody else to comment on foreign governments. If I criticize the Russian government I guess I'm committing a crime!

Wow, fascists around the world and here in the United States will love this. It's a left-wing dream come true!

Well here let me commit a crime. The Russian government has been for all my life interfering in US elections and trying to influence US opinions. With maybe a possible exception for a decade or so after the fall of the Soviet Union, they've spent huge sums of money on this sort of thing all along. Much of what the Russians, or really it's the Communists, have done in the past is to sow discord. Of course we have plenty of our own homegrown native discord, but they try to create it where it isn't and inflame it where it already exists.

Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine any way to protect ourselves from this influence. It's just an obvious consequence of sharing the world with adversaries.

The FBI's response, or Mueller's action, is insincere, dishonest, a cover-up of their own profound corruption, and an assault on human freedom.

Quaestor said...

Mueller didn't charge those Russians with "meddling" (52 U.S.C. §30121) to keep Hillary out of jail.

Original Mike said...

Can Congress summon Rosenstein and ask him why Steele is not being charged under Mueller’s legal theory?

Paul said...

So when the CIA overthrew several South American countries, who do we arrest? When Obama gave money to 'fix' the Israeli elections who do we arrest? (please say Obama!!!)

When Hillary opined they need to 'fix' Palestinian elections who do we arrest? (please please say Hillary!!!)

Hell, Obama and others have interfered with BritExit, do we arrest them? (I'm begging you, please say yes!!!)

Seems like America does lots of interfering to!

Earnest Prole said...

A reminder: We still have no idea what conversations with members of Trump’s campaign were recorded, “legally” and illegally, in the past two years. Mueller’s indictments are simultaneously underwhelming and sweeping, which means we should expect another shoe to drop.

Original Mike said...

Thanks for the link, Quaestro.

Birkel said...

I will put "Earnest" Prole down for the wishful thinking contingent.

Noted.

Sacto_Dave said...

"Mueller chose targets who will never be brought to trial and therefore knew he was using a legal theory that would not be tested in court. " -- which means what? That he's got nothing? He had to come up with something that looks like he found wrongdoing but this is the best he can do.

Earnest Prole said...

I will put "Earnest" Prole down for the wishful thinking contingent.

You have a childlike tendency to plug your ears when you experience the slightest hint of cognitive dissonance.

Breezy said...

Mueller really is in a pickle... from that Powerline blog entry, Mueller can't bring any relevant charges against anyone in Trump-land, or even Russian-land, without being caught in an equal protection trap. Clinton/DNC actually did what they are trying to catch Trump doing... any made up charges against Trump will cause folks to wonder why Clinton et al and even Obama should not be charged as well.

Birkel said...

The dissonance caused by an unenforceable indictment using spurious legal reasoning against foreigners?

And that from an agency that has seen 17 demotions, early retirements and firings? Some of whom were initially hired by Mueller? And while the judge in the Flynn case was removed (and who has the power to order that removal? The supervising Supreme?) and the sentencing delayed five months under order that the government must turn over exculpatory evidence (implying strongly that such exists, and which would explain Contreras' removal as judge?).

If you are going to use the word cognitive, please pretend at cognition in your own rantings. Fair?

Achilles said...

The next shoe to drop will be Flynn’s guilty plea being thrown out and judge Contreraeas facing formal investigation.

Birkel said...

Achilles,
I expect the Flynn charges will be dropped.

Jupiter said...

rhhardin said...
"The curious thing, if the left's anti-Trump hysteria is beaten, is that there will be no triumph about it. It's just the same problems we've always had, but without half of the population being insane and shouting about nothing."

It's worse than that, a lot worse. They'll still be insane, and they'll be shouting about something. I kind of like having all the mad dogs barking up the Trump Tree 24/7. Makes it easy to tell where they are, and what they are.

Earnest Prole said...

The dissonance caused by an unenforceable indictment using spurious legal reasoning against foreigners?

It's what's called a pretext.

And that from an agency that has seen 17 demotions, early retirements and firings?

We're in violent agreement the investigation is corrupt; where we differ is that I'm interested in where the corrupt path will lead. If that kind of talk gives you the sads, I'm really, truly sorry.

Earnest Prole said...

Mueller really is in a pickle... from that Powerline blog entry, Mueller can't bring any relevant charges against anyone in Trump-land, or even Russian-land, without being caught in an equal protection trap.

As I noted above, the FBI is technically a co-conspirator in the Steele conspiracy to swing the election.

buwaya said...

I agree with Prole in that the permanent government and the PTB are far from done; they have immense resources. They have many months to create messages before November.

This war is barely begun.

I expect the most significant move will be with regards to Trumps' business and finances, whether it comes under the Mueller umbrella or otherwise. I'm still surprised they didn't start there, and went with absurd "Russia" and "women" messages. Perhaps they still think these things work?

320Busdriver said...

This is big. At least it should be. The white hats need to shout this from the rooftops.
CTH has a good entry today as well.

Earnest Prole said...

I expect the most significant move will be with regards to Trumps' business and finances.

As I mention previously, if a corrupt prosecutor can't find a crime by sifting through a man's taxes, he belongs in another, more honest line of work.

Birkel said...

Where it leads is Mueller wrapping up his investigation in December. He will try to stay in business through the election.

The charges against Flynn will be dropped. They will try to drop the charges quietly. Trump won't allow that. There will be a spectacle made of Mueller's failure when the charges against Flynn are withdrawn and the (bull shit) case for obstruction is completely undone.

The case against Flynn must be dropped out of self-preservation for the attorneys who have withheld exculpatory evidence. They might face legal sanction including disbarment if they pursue the reckless strategy of defying the sitting judge who has a known distaste for government tomfoolery.

Ask yourself: If you were those government attorneys who have withheld exculpatory evidence, would you drop the case or try to explain to the new judge why you have been dishonest up to this point?

Ask yourself further: How was Contreras removed? Why was this judge, with such a strong and well-known penchant for demanding government lawyers play by the rules, added to the case? Does anybody believe those events opened by random assignment?

Would Mueller overplay his hand on those facts, reasonably deduced? Will he act so nakedly? Would be risk it all, that government bureaucrat climber? Mueller is operating with no net, now. Make no mistake.

Birkel said...

The FBI has not declared open warfare. Their position is far too weak with only a minority of Congress to provide cover.

The FBI was happy to foment rebellion with a close-knit cabal of Leftists. And they expected cover from Obama (received) and Hillary (hoped for but unavailable) and Congress (Schiff and Schumer, ha!) and the press (Ben Rhodes was correct, if impolitic).

Their position as an institution is weak.

buwaya said...

The FBI is just a component of a coalition of agencies and external entities and wealthy interests. Any FBI person who follows instructions and does not break omerta will be taken care of.

Birkel said...

Maybe, buwaya. But their position is more fragile than they contemplated a year ago. There are few redundancies built into the corruption system.

It was the same 20 person group used repeatedly. Why? If the institution was corrupt to its core, we would see a diffuse set of actors. We don't.

The Obama Administration was able to interject itself and remove dissenters. But their corruption did not spread so deeply, yet.

That said, we need prison time for these conspirators to secure in the minds of potential future participants a wariness, to think better of their possible future poor decisions.

buwaya said...

The same group recurs because they are, or were (some still are) the "non-political" leadership of the FBI/DOJ. These are important matters and big shots call dibs, most especially on things that are likely to come back to smack them personally.

If you pull people from the next rank below, how confident are you of them? I wouldnt be.

Birkel said...

buwaya,

That is the fragility of their position. The corruption is limited. It can be excised. But the cuts cannot be surgical, they must remove all the corruption, even if some good flesh is removed.

You are too negative. And I say that as one of the most cynical people you could ever meet.

Paco Wové said...

"You are too negative"

Buwaya's negativity may have something to do with his not being an American – there's something about Americans that just makes us optimistic, whether it's warranted or not. Whereas Buwaya's negativity has something of the old-world conservative about it.

Jupiter said...

Blogger buwaya said...

"I'm still surprised they didn't start there, and went with absurd "Russia" and "women" messages. Perhaps they still think these things work?"

I am still surprised that "grab 'em by the pussy" didn't cost Trump the election. I guess that all those crazy women running around in pussy hats were already Hillary voters. Maybe the 19th Amendment *wasn't* the death warrant of the Republic.

Birkel said...

Paco Wove,
I get that.

Michael K said...

If you pull people from the next rank below, how confident are you of them? I wouldnt be.

I think the next rank is too high.

In the movie "The Untouchables" there was a fantasy scene in which a fixed jury was swapped with one hearing another case in another courtroom.

I would say you would have to eliminate all those who have served in DC, then all the ones who have been ASACs.

I'm going to have a talk with my daughter tonight who is a 20 year agent. She surprised me in September 2016 by telling me that she would NOT vote for Hillary. She seems a perfect Hillary voter but she knew something.

The FBI has got to clean out the upper echelon or be reorganized. The 50% level would probably be a good one.

The fact that the Florida shooting quickly went to the topic of the FBI failure from the narrative standard of gun control told me they are in deep trouble.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

unless one of the people or institutions indicted more or less voluntarily arrives in court to contest the indictment (rather than staying safely in Russia), courts may never have the opportunity to render an opinion about the arguments

An organization or "institution" appears in court by and through counsel. In fact, that is the only way they can appear because, although they are "legal persons," they are not real flesh and blood people. In the same way, "the United States" can only appear in court through the government attorneys. So, yes, the charges against the organizations do lend themselves to lawyers purporting to represent those organizations to file motions, etc. to contest the indictment.
___________________

what might be the reason for Mueller to issue an indictment he knows would never lead to trial?

As for the individual persons, this raises an interesting question of legal ethics. To make public charges that a prosecutor knows he cannot proceed on is unethical. The right thing to do instead is to place any indictments under seal until they can go forward.

Meanwhile, courts do not like cases hanging out there in perpetuity. At some point, a court might act on its own initiative and dismiss the cases for want of actual prosecution. And if the government still wants to prosecute when it is possible for the matter to go forward, then they can always get a new indictment.

Quaestor said...

Thanks for the link, Quaestro.

I like the new handle bestowed on me by Big Mike. Sounds like a good old-fashioned rum-flavored caudillo. I want a hat to go with it — with lots and lots of braid on it. Something like this oughta do.

Mark said...

Thanks for the link, Quaestro.

I like the new handle bestowed on me by Big Mike. Sounds like a good old-fashioned rum-flavored caudillo.

Sounds to me like the freak mutant sticking out of another guy's stomach in Total Recall.

Big Mike said...

@Quaestro, that was Original Mike, not me. But it’s cool. Wish I had been the one to come up with it (probably via autocorrect)

Paco Wové said...

Having read through the indictment, I am struck by how much of it details on-line activity. There's no indication that any of this activity originated in any territory under the jurisdiction of the United States. Am I misreading things, or is the Government arguing that a non-U.S. citizen, in a non-U.S. location, is committing a crime just by pretending to be a U.S. citizen?

The wire fraud and identity theft parts seem clear enough, but they almost seem like tacked-on afterthoughts.

Original Mike said...

”@Quaestro, that was Original Mike, not me. But it’s cool. Wish I had been the one to come up with it (probably via autocorrect)”

Nah, I turned autofuckup off a long time ago. I prefer to make my own mistakes.

Earnest Prole said...

But what might be the reason for Mueller to issue an indictment he knows would never lead to trial? Because if there is a reason, then it is sort of beside the point to argue about the merits of the legal theory of the indictment.

Exactly, which is why Mueller's indictment is most likely a pretext for indicting someone associated with the Trump campaign.

Earnest Prole said...

In the movie "The Untouchables" there was a fantasy scene in which a fixed jury was swapped with one hearing another case in another courtroom.

The switching of the corrupt and honest juries is historical fact. The only fictional touch is where Capone's lawyer pleads guilty instead of proceeding with the trial.

There's also the scene where Eliot Ness asks where he can find an honest Chicago cop:

Malone: Who can you trust?

Ness: I can trust nobody.

Malone: That's the sorry truth.

Ness: Then, where are we gonna get help?

Malone: If you're afraid of getting a rotten apple, don't go to the barrel . . . Get it off the tree.

Birkel said...

Earnest Prole:
You haven't considered face saving as a motivation.

Simpler is better, as explanations go.

Michael K said...

I didn't have the heart to question my daughter tonight about the FBI fiasco.

bolivar di griz said...

There is also the bit that frank nitti (played by the wonderfully deranged Billy drago) did not fall off a rook in 1931, but died in an odd shootout 12 years later.

bolivar di griz said...

The accounts in the series and film, are largely to Oscar fraleys telling, a news was nit that well regarded at the time of course there was little wishfulfillment as in the departed : there was no infiltration of bulges organization, he didn't get his just deserts for nearly a decade, nor did John connelly.

Earnest Prole said...

Simpler is better, as explanations go.

Aren't you a proponent of the full-on American Deep State coup?

Earnest Prole said...

frank nitti (played by the wonderfully deranged Billy drago) did not fall off a rook in 1931

I think you meant "fall off" (air quotes).

Birkel said...

Earnest Prole:
The players in the failed Deep State coup were acting in their own self interest. They had financial interests. They had interests in their own continued power. Those are simple solutions.

Once the coup fails, it continues to serve the interests of those Deep State players to minimize their own failure. They don't get to rewind and pretend the coup attempt never happened.

Mueller is under a new order by a new judge to reveal exculpatory evidence in the Flynn case. How was the judge replaced? Who had the power to replace Contreras, the first judge? Why would a person with the power to replace the judge actually exercise that power? Mueller has no choice but to drop the charges -OR- admit withholding that exculpatory evidence. What choice would you make, in Mueller's place, when the new judge holds incredible power and the will to use it?

My answers are simple: self-interested actors operating in their own self interest.

Yours?

Earnest Prole said...

My answers are simple

Well it certainly sounds simple the way you explain it.

Birkel said...

Earnest, live up to your chosen moniker. Attempt an answer regarding the Flynn case. I have posed the questions.

Or admit Earnest is meant ironically.

First, who had the power to replace Contreras?

Jose_K said...

The indictment raises serious issues under the free speech clause of the First Amendment and .. do foreigners have political rights?
For those who think foreign law is a guide, in most countries a foreigner talking about politics would be expelled ipso facto

Unknown said...


Does The Constitution Protect Non-Citizens? Judges Say Yes

The American Civil Liberties Union and many legal scholars also believe Trump's order violates the First Amendment freedom of religion by singling out Muslim immigrants for discriminatory treatment.

Gretchen said...

Are illegal immigrants foreign agents?

If so lots of illegals organized rallies and campaigned for Clinton.