Patterico's Pontifications


Special Counsel Mueller Impanels A Grand Jury

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

[Since there is a whole lot going on with this evolving story, I’m just going to throw up some interesting links worth reading. You can chew them over as you see fit.]

From the Wall St. Journal:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.

One year after the FBI opened an investigation, the probe is now managed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 elections, alongside the ongoing scrutiny of possible illegal coordination with Russian spy agencies and alleged attempts by President Donald Trump and others to obstruct the FBI investigation. Even investigative leads that have nothing to do with Russia but involve Trump associates are being referred to the special counsel to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate, according to two law enforcement sources.

Meanwhile, now that President Trump’s “red line” has been crossed , it’s not unreasonable to believe that there is now an increased likelihood that he will try to get rid of Mueller. Taking preventative measures, a bipartisan group of senators are working to prevent the President from ignoring the current rules about firing any special counsel:

Sen. Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, and Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, plan to introduce a measure Thursday that would bar the President from directly firing any special counsel — retroactive to Mueller’s appointment in May.

“The President would maintain the power to remove the special counsel, but we would just want to make sure that it had merit and have that back-end judicial process,” Tillis said Thursday morning on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

“And if there is a termination, we just want to make sure, through judicial review, that it was warranted,” he added.

The measure would also effectively shut down another avenue for firing Mueller — mandating that only an attorney general confirmed by the Senate would have the power to remove the special counsel. Trump has openly blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the federal Russia probe, leading to speculation he may try and find a new attorney general who would fire Mueller.

David French warns against taking this matter lightly:

The investigation is serious, and no one should just blithely assume it’s a “witch hunt.” No Republican or conservative should bank any portion of their reputation on defending a team that included Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort until we have greater awareness of the facts. Remember it was just one month ago that Republicans were confidently declaring that there was “no evidence of collusion.” That was before we saw emails indicating that Donald Trump Jr. would “love” to meet a purported Russian representative who intended to share “official documents” as part of a Russian government effort to support Trump. That was before we knew a meeting actually took place. There is just too much we don’t know to draw any conclusions on the merits, but a man like Mueller does not impanel grand juries lightly. This story is only just beginning.

Andrew McCarthy explains what Mueller’s Grand Jury means. In part:

The most significant conclusion we can draw from news that a grand jury has been impaneled by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is that the so-called Russia investigation, officially, is a criminal investigation.

The purpose of a grand jury is to investigate a factual transaction or series of transactions to determine whether criminal charges should be filed. That makes it categorically different from a counterintelligence investigation. The latter, we have noted many times, is an information-gathering exercise geared toward understanding and thwarting the intentions and actions of foreign powers.

There is no need for a grand jury in a counterintelligence probe.

All that said, the fact that there is a criminal investigation does not mean charges are imminent, or indeed that they will ever be filed. There are virtually no limits on the investigative powers of the grand jury. Under our law, a grand jury may conduct a probe simply to satisfy itself that no crimes have been committed. That is to say, there is no evidentiary threshold that must be crossed before a grand jury can begin investigating. Contrast that with, for example, a search warrant or an eavesdropping warrant; those investigative techniques may not be used unless a court has first been satisfied that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.

McCarthy concludes:

To be clear, I am not suggesting that the special counsel should be barred from investigating any crimes he reasonably suspects at this point. Nor do I mean to imply that the president is entitled to more favorable legal standards than any other American would be. But in the higher interest of his capacity to function as president and our capacity to hold our political representatives accountable, President Trump and the American people should be told whether he is suspected of criminal wrongdoing and, if so, what wrongdoing.

And finally, in the midst of this upheaval, President Trump is leaving tomorrow for a 17-day working vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. His time away coincides with renovations and maintenance work being done in the West Wing. His staff will be relocated to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door until the work is completed.

Added: Interestingly, today the Senate blocked President Trump from making any recess appointments…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


173 Responses to “Special Counsel Mueller Impanels A Grand Jury”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (023079)

  2. His time away coincides with renovations and maintenance work being done in the West Wing.

    Installing padding on the walls?

    Dave (445e97)

  3. the fbi is corrupt and sleazy

    whilst, simultaneously

    slickpig freakboy HR McMaster is the poster child for how weird, perverted and evil you can get when you stew in that pentagon sewer wearing the same nasty dorky military clothes every day for decades

    between him and poopstain McCain, military service is looking pretty trashy i must say

    trashy for the soul

    especially the US Armed Forces – I think maybe everything’s better in mongolia

    (and we’re not even gonna talk about the tranny navy what runs into boats – good lord)

    all i can say is thank god for Tom Cotton

    he’s becoming quite the stray sunbeam that one

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. But seriously…

    I’ve never entirely understood grand juries. They sometimes recommend that charges be filed, but does Mueller *need* to go this route? Is it a tool for him to use, or is it a check on his power (which as special counsel is, by statute, equivalent to that of a US Attorney)?

    I guess my confusion is that when somebody is charged with robbing a bank or committing a murder, there is no grand jury (I think). But the Bill of Rights says

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury […]

    So I’m confused…

    Dave (445e97)

  5. Please forward all leaks to the EEO. Thanks.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  6. Aren’t they putting the criminal investigation cart before the special prosecutor show horse?

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  7. @4 Dave

    It’s a blank check on his power.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  8. Grand Jury aka Defense Lawyer Industrial Complex

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  9. Cardinal Mueller with his Mont Blanc and his postillon.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  10. Trump reportedly thinking about making Mike Pompeo national security adviser, shipping H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan

    there’s something about

    something about

    this freak McMaster guy

    there’s something about

    where armies go to die

    put your hands together for afghanistan ladies and gentleman

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. oops i think i meant *gentlemen* plural

    but it’s the army who can tell anymore

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  12. it was murkowski what did it

    that sleazy ho from the biggest trailer park in the whole whirl

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. 7
    Nice way of putting it.
    Grand juries should be a check on prosecutors, but in reality not. The flaw is the fact that the prosecutor presents all the evidence and witnesses he wants them to see. If a prosecutor has integrity he will show them at least the main pieces of evidence which help the defendant, hut “there is much virtue in an if”, to use one of my favorite Shakespearean quotes. And of course, since there is not yet an indicted defendant, there is no defense to make sure they hear the contrary evidence. That is left to the petit jury, aka the trial jury.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  14. (alaska)

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  15. The Republican Main Street Partnership is a coalition of over 70 members of Congress who represent the governing wing of the Republican Party. Our members are the Republicans who win in swing districts — that’s why we’re the party’s majority-makers. We uphold the Republican tradition of responsible, results-oriented government. Our members have passed hundreds of bills through the House or Senate (or both) in recent years, including over 200 in the current Congress.

    these are the words over the door of cowardly plane-crashing wonderstud John McCain’s soros-funded mickey mouse club

    our pig-friend lisa murkowski’s an honorary member

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  16. I wish they’d dispense with the Kabuki theater as the outcome has already been determined. I suppose they have to throw a bone to the defense attorneys, oddsmakers, and casinos. What’s the over/under on date of resignation?

    Lenny (5ea732)

  17. Was it Ken Starr’s le gran jury that turned up Bubba’s le petit morte?

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  18. they for sure turned up the evidence of his herpes sores

    there were special herpes nights where Bill and Monica had to get creative

    cause of the running sores on his penis

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  19. she did a TED talk about this i think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  20. happyfeet

    The Man Who Would Be McKing?

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  21. yes yes

    king of poop and fecklessness

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  22. I don’t think it’s as foregone a conclusion. But the process will be drawn out as long as possible for two reasons
    1) the longer it goes on, the less the administration (whether it be Trump or Pence in the WH) will be able to get done. The Democrats need a distracted impotent President.
    2) there’s no actual evidence that Trump himself knew of, much less was involved in, any shenagagins. And if there were any such in his personal and business finances, he will have layers and layers of subordinates, attorneys, and accountants on whom he can shift the blame.
    And he won’t resign unless the GOP forces him to.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  23. oh.

    and overspending

    that’s the most important part

    I can’t believe I forgot the most important part

    stupid stupid stupid

    i hate myself

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  24. In the federal system, the grand jury’s most important function is as an investigative tool for prosecutors. It has subpoena power, and it can subpoena documents and other evidence and can compel witnesses to testify under oath. And its proceedings are secret.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. Me at 23 was a reply to Lenny at 17

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  26. And its proceedings are secret.

    you funny man

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  27. Add to 25 “and this is their story”. Clink clink.

    urbanleftbehind (ffebf1)

  28. @23

    I don’t think it’s as foregone a conclusion. But the process will be drawn out as long as possible for two reasons
    1) the longer it goes on, the less the administration (whether it be Trump or Pence in the WH)
    will be able to get done. The Democrats need a distracted impotent President.

    So you subscribe to the conspiracy theory that Mueller, a life-long Republican universally respected for professional integrity through-out his career, is taking orders from Pelosi and Schumer?

    2) there’s no actual evidence that Trump himself knew of, much less was involved in, any shenagagins.

    I think this is an big overstatement. But even if it’s true, putting his close advisors/relatives (who have been caught red-handed) in jail would still be an important victory for the integrity of the election process.

    Dave (445e97)

  29. @29 Dave

    I don’t think “universally” means what you think it means.

    i.e. 97% of scientists lol

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  30. The process is a lot bigger than Mueller, no matter how Brutus-like he may be.

    (who have been caught red-handed)

    As far as I can tell, there isn’t the slightest evidence of any crime having been committed. Donald Jr and Flynn seem to have acted like idiots and donkeys, but that’s not criminal.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  31. The best way to insure the integrity of the 2016 election is to go back 10 years in the president’s finances.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  32. The Catholic (universal) Church just hired 10 imams to look into the Pope.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  33. McMaster’s a raging anti-semitic freak on par with Ezra Pound

    except of course Ezra had far too much class than to join the US Army

    plus he could read

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  34. This Brutus
    Not the one who led the conspiracy against Caesar.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  35. One thing mystifies me in reading Andrew McCarthy’s superb writing on this topic.

    We’ve known for months that the DoJ obtained subpoenas for documents relating to the investigation of Gen. Flynn, which — under exactly the same reasoning McCarthy explains in the materials Dana quoted — means that there was by that date already at least some sort of criminal spin-off investigation underway as a result of the original foreign intelligence investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

    That pre-dated Mueller’s appointment if I recall the sequence correctly. Certainly the Flynn investigation did, if one credits any of the forest of pre-Mueller leaks about Flynn.

    So how do we know the latest grand jury subpoenas aren’t related to that? Or to some other conjectural spin-off criminal investigation, e.g., regarding Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner, both of whom have publicly acknowledged having been asked for documents by the DoJ?

    Today’s leak seems to me to be equally consistent — purely in terms of inferences that can reasonably be drawn from the criminal-law procedures surrounding federal grand juries in general and special counsel dealings with grand juries in particular — to the kind of action that a special counsel would be taking if he were preparing to (a) forward his reports and recommendations regarding the foreign intelligence investigation to his superior, Acting AG Rosenstein; (b) likewise forwarding to Rosenstein his (Mueller’s) charging decisions regarding any spin-off criminal investigations; and (c) forwarding to Rosenstein his confirmation that there’s no probable cause to believe the POTUS should be further investigated, much less charged.

    In other words, this announcement seems to me entirely consistent with the absolute best-case scenario for Trump, rather than a portent of impending doom for Trump (as opposed to someone else, e.g., Flynn, who might have some criminal jeopardy from non-disclosures or process crimes arising out of the investigation of those non-disclosures).

    (I think that best-case scenario is improbable, but that’s pure conjecture admittedly influenced by my low general opinion of Trump, not based on any rational inference based on today’s disclosures.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  36. it’s a coup

    and they don’t necessarily follow the rules

    they’re capricious that way

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  37. Not quoting a single person who thinks the investigation has expanded well beyond its original parameters Dana?

    Dropped the ball big time.

    NJRob (7f4bec)

  38. it’s like how grandma pikachu used to say

    “You don’t need 16 hillary-fellating harvardtrash lawyer-pigs to wind an investigation down, happyfeet,” she would grumble.

    “Now get me some pudding with a lil dusting of cardamom and let’s watch buffy – last time we saw her she was in a real pickle!”

    “yes grandma pikachu,” i would say, and scurry to fetch the pudding.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  39. Mr Feets, a rant by Caroline Glick is not really evidence. Notice she has as many anonymous sources as a WaPo article.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  40. And it’s a Facebook post! Not even a real article!

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  41. i aspire to be as cynical one day Mr. kishnevi

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  42. It’s not cynical. It’s just realizing that lack of integrity is not confined to the Left. Exhibit no 1 of course being el Presidente.

    kishnevi (7bc26d)

  43. “Have you seen any Russians in West Virginia? Or Ohio???!” – President Donald J. Trump, 8/3/17

    Uh, yes Captain: Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OHIO. Don’t you remember, sir? Sessions had session– or was it two– or was it a threesome with Paul… or a foursome with Don Jr.,… more strawberries, sir?

    “I will not be made a fool of! You hear me?! I kid you not!” – Captain Queeg [Humphrey Bogart] ‘The Caine Mutiny’ 1954

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. lack of integrity is not confined to the Left. Exhibit no 1 of course being el Presidente

    i can’ even handle you right now

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. t

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. As far as I can tell, there isn’t the slightest evidence of any crime having been committed.

    Trump confessed to firing the FBI Director with corrupt intent.

    Dave (445e97)

  47. daddy please don’t it wasn’t Trump’s fault

    he means

    so much

    to me

    daddy please don’t

    we’re gonna MAGA

    just you wait and see

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. Actually I am a bit unfair to Glick. But she has a specific agenda, and tries to fit everything into that agenda even when it has nothing to do with her agenda.

    kishnevi (10c258)

  49. she sounds kinda like this guy i went to college with

    Bobby Mueller

    ever heard of him

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. Did McMasters “Tap Out” to the religion of submissions or is that Brennan’s I’m thinking of?

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  51. Best cable news term of the day has a peelin':

    Banana Republicanism.

    “How sweet it is!” – Jackie Gleason ‘The Jackie Gleason Show’ CBS TV

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  52. Dave

    Yeah and Jimmah Carter had lust in his heart so Jesus said he did the deed.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  53. Bob Mueller has more spin-offs than Norman Lear.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  54. @52 DCSCA

    “Are you crazy?!” Fred G Sanford

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  55. Dave

    If McGreggor throws an elbow at Mayweather they can disqualify him but he’s not going to be arrested.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  56. Yes plamearama ekwctric boogaloo, but ostensibly that involved a real crime . I say again, what is the defense against lawfare Alan Stevens Mcdonnell delay

    narciso (d1f714)

  57. A meeting arranged by the Obama administration, have you tried kislyKs stroganoff.

    narciso (d1f714)

  58. “There are enough [lawyers] in here to shoot a [John Grisham] picture.”

    Fred Sanford Legal Eagle

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  59. My recollection above (#36) was correct: The leaks about the grand jury subpoenas issued in Alexandria, Virginia, were reported on May 10, and the subpoenas were purportedly for “business records.” Elsewhere, we read that Chairman and CEO of the Flynn Intel Group, located in Alexandria, Va. If you’re subpoenaing the business records of a corporation, you do it in the district where the corporation has its principal offices. Corporations have no Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. If Flynn also lived in VA, it’s the most obvious place where he might be prosecuted, consistent with his Sixth Amendment rights.

    There have sometimes been DoJ corruption prosecutions filed in VA rather than DC precisely because of the composition of the D.C. jury pool as compared to one from Northern Virginia. Recall too that one of Rosenstein’s predecessors as U.S. Attorney for Maryland prosecuted VPOTUS Spiro Agnew, who hailed (and filed his tax returns) from Maryland.

    But the most obvious explanation for today’s announcement is that for further subpoenas of witnesses and evidence for presentation to a grand jury, Mueller’s finding it convenient and entirely legal under the Sixth Amendment, almost regardless of who the target is, to do that in the District:

    But the Sixth Amendment also allows defendants to be prosecuted in the state and district where the crime was committed, which probably also includes the District of Columbia. Thus, for example, Scooter Libby was prosecuted in the District, where he certainly would rather not have been.

    Even if all Mueller were doing were tying the proverbial bow around criminal prosecution declination decisions — gathering documents from more non-target witnesses, for example, to show that traps were run and rocks were turned over appropriately before closing an investigation — he and his team could very well need access to a grand jury subpoena whose jurisdictional reach was the District of Columbia.

    The press — including a lot of lawyer talking-heads who ought to know better — are overreacting to this IMHO.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  60. I would go by what flick says over bozos hacks, who share Rhodesia and powers hatred for Israel.

    narciso (d1f714)

  61. lower case narciso


    best case narcico

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  62. Note: Mueller wasn’t appointed until May 17, by which time there clearly was at least one spin-off criminal investigation pending (re Flynn), since the DoJ had already gotten its subpoenas in Alexandria a week earlier.

    The regs referenced in the order formally appointing Mueller include the ones specifically including spin-off prosecutions; by referencing the regs, the text of Rosenstein’s order thus carefully acknowledged Mueller’s prospective criminal-matter mandate without having to spill any specific information about any specific on-going investigations (like Flynn’s). That was Rosenstein trying to do the opposite of Lynch and Comey, i.e., to keep his flippin’ mouth shut about pending investigations.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  63. (And I continue to believe Rosenstein had reached the decision to appoint a special counsel before Comey ever started leaking, and that Comey taking credit for having “forced” a special counsel appointment is another example of a rooster claiming he made the sun come up. Rosenstein has never said or even hinted that the information Comey leaked was the reason, or even a reason, for his decision. If it was, then I remain astonished that he could run the internal DoJ conflicts checks and that Mueller could have gotten WilmerHale’s internal conflicts checks run, and blessed, and the carefully drafted order drafted and blessed and released, all within the space of 24 hours.

    Everyone who’s assuming Comey is an important witness is paying too much attention to Comey. If Comey is not a likely witness — if nothing that Mueller’s currently investigating touches on Trump or Trump firing Comey, but only on the Russia investigation and one or more spin-off criminal investigations (like Flynn’s) — then Mueller’s friendship with Comey is no reason for Mueller to recuse himself or for him to be disqualified or fired.

    The notion that Mueller had some legal obligation to hire only Republicans who’d contributed to Republican candidates — maybe who’d also contributed to and voted for Trump, I dunno where morons like Sean Hannity draw this line — is a shameful pile of horsefeathers. There is a DoJ reg which specifically says that contributing to a political candidate is expected and legitimate behavior provided it’s not one’s employer. When there’s a reg that specifically authorizes it and legitimates it, Mueller is prohibited from even considering it either way. The lawyers I’ve heard on Fox News who’ve suggested or argued to the contrary are morons or scoundrels or both; I’d enjoy the chance to debate them.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  64. Trump was in District 12 today.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  65. Ask our host how hard it is in general to find Republican prosecutors in places like LA or NY or DC.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  66. We’re just debating the lunchmeat in the ham sandwich at this point.

    narciso (d1f714)

  67. The beatdrd Marxist is the cospobsir with tillis as stooge, were in the best of all possible hands:

    narciso (d1f714)

  68. Well what would motivate her to recobsuder?

    narciso (d1f714)

  69. Mueller is looking for Russian collusion like OJ looked for Nicole’s killer.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  70. Beldar,

    I enjoy your comments. Thank you for shedding light on these rather complex legal matters.

    norcal (2adf03)

  71. The Senators should call their bill “The Tenure of Office Act” so that the precedents are more obvious. The Special Counsel serves at the pleasure of the President ad the President can fire him for wearing a green tie.

    There are POLITICAL repercussions to this, of course. But the remedy is political, not judicial.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  72. I wonder how many Trump voters are on that panel. I’m guessing none.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  73. is it a check on his power

    He can only indict HAM sandwiches.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  74. I hope people realize that striking Trump down this way just makes him a martyr. He was elected for a REASON, by people who thought both parties had betrayed them, and they voted for Trump as a better bargain, despite his faults.

    The next guy they put up may not be as sanguine as Trump.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  75. I hope people realize that striking Trump down this way just makes him a martyr.

    I’m cool with his being a martyr. President, not so much.

    He was elected for a REASON, by people who thought both parties had betrayed them, and they voted for Trump as a better bargain, despite his faults.

    Yeah, well, sorry, but indulging and reinforcing the paranoid delusions of the under-educated, under-informed and resentful hasn’t worked out so well, has it? Continuing to lie to them and play on their fears won’t help them a whit.

    The next guy they put up may not be as sanguine as Trump.

    Exactly the reason Trump should have been persona non grata from day one.

    That he succeeded in being elected is the greatest tragedy this country has suffered since the Civil War, because it ensured that there will be more like him.

    Dave (445e97)

  76. Dave

    Are you a federal judge from the west coast?

    Because you sound just like a federal judge from the west coast.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  77. Trump should either go all NSA on the leakers or all Bradley Manning and start a flurry of declassification to uncloak the deep state traitors.

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  78. Trump is nowhere near as bad as the day AIDS and Krakatoa ran into Ray Lewis and the Unabomber in an elevator…

    Pinandpuller (cacf2d)

  79. I doubt that they’ll find anything dramatic. Maybe a little chiseling here, a little weaseling there, a lot of bluff and bluster everywhere. No great crime. Trump is not a “Who Dares Wins” guy. He’s more of a “Who Dares Whines” guy. Like his voters.

    nk (dbc370)

  80. Powerful sophistry accompanies these defense mechanisms. Support your team with pennants and ticker-tape for genuine substance.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  81. Beldar hits it out of the Park with his corked bat.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  82. As for Comey, firing a compromised snake like him was not obstruction of justice. Keeping him on as head of the FBI one day past January 20 might have been. But then, Obama should be indicted too.

    nk (dbc370)

  83. Root for the Black Sox…Americas Team for Trump.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  84. And Ben burn graces us with the same clear-eyed, reality-based, well-founded assessment of the situation that won the Democrats the Presidency and both chambers of Congress last November.

    nk (dbc370)

  85. Obama indicted for whut?

    Ben burn (155b51)

  86. I think it’s olive loaf continue humoring the nazvul.

    narciso (d49203)

  87. Arguing against Mueller is another popular vote for Shrump.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  88. Anti Trump conservatives just want him to grow up. Everything else is hunky dory.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  89. Good to see that Israel’s left-wing media is even more derangedly optimistic about the dire fate in store for their foe than ours.

    nk (dbc370)

  90. That’s what I thought.


    Ben burn (155b51)

  91. But reality based sophistry..

    Ben burn (155b51)

  92. I don’t have anything to say. I just want to leave a comment.

    nk (dbc370)

  93. I like seeing my handle on the Recent Comments sidebar.

    nk (dbc370)

  94. Just one more. It’s like Pringles potato chips, you know.

    nk (dbc370)

  95. You don’t have anything to say.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  96. “The investigation is serious, and no one should just blithely assume it’s a “witch hunt.””

    I’m sorry, but my cynical experience has been that any time a ‘special prosecutor’ is let loose on a Presidency, what you have is pretty much by definition a “witch hunt”, even (maybe especially) when the President is fairly clearly guilty of something. I loathed Clinton (still do) and yet the ‘investigation’ of his Presidency was a three ring circus, with clowns and dancing chickens in every corner, and about as much substance as shaving foam.

    Trump isn’t being investigated because he did anything clearly criminal (whether he did or not), but because the establishments of both Parties are scared to death that his election represents serious voter dissatisfaction with the existing power structure, and a desire to show the peasants that their selected Champion can be brought down and that they should know their place.

    Washington DC; nothing wrong there that a volcanic eruption, a la Pompeii, wouldn’t solve.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  97. Narc

    What do you think of Mueller now?

    Truthbetold (1ab5c1)

  98. “In 6 months, Pres. Trump has tweeted 991 times, spent 40 days at Trump golf properties and passed 0 pieces of major legislation,” according to a news alert from last month.”

    I can see why you want to keep him.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  99. Trump is not a “Who Dares Wins” guy. He’s more of a “Who Dares Whines” guy.

    He’s also a guy who has demonstrated repeatedly that he considers himself above the law.

    Dave (445e97)

  100. McMaster did a 40 minute long interview with Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that will air on his television show tomorrow morning. What he says there will be very interesting given the moves made this week after Kelly became COS, and apparently backed McMaster’s efforts to get Trump campaign folks out of policy roles in the NSC.

    shipwreckedcrew (fb418b)

  101. “He’s also a guy who has demonstrated repeatedly that he considers himself above the law.”

    Mere sophistry. No impeccable evidence in braille?

    Ben burn (155b51)

  102. I agree McMasters and Kelly area granite monoliths in a sea of mud.

    The question is how malleable is Gumby?

    Ben burn (155b51)

  103. Re Mueller and the news of a DC grand jury, its easy to over-analyze the import of this. Most signs suggest that Mueller’s team is burrowing in for the long haul — his hiring news is the clearest suggestion of that IMO. But his hires are really indicative of an investigatory plan that is aimed at a long-term slog through financial records.

    The act of impaneling a GJ at this stage is IMO largely about the need to use GJ subpoenas to get complete sets of records from the primary sources, as opposed to relying on voluntary compliance from subjects of interest in the investigation.

    So, while Mueller’s team might ask DTJr. to provide all email communications regarding the June 16 meeting with the Russian lawyer, they are also going to send a GJ subpoena to Yahoo/Google or whatever email service provider DTJr used in order to make sure they have everything that went out or was received by a particular email address for a certain period of time.

    The same is true for things like banking records of Manafort and his various business entities. You can ask Manafort to voluntarily comply with a request to produce documents, but the only way you can test whether his production has been complete is to send a GJ subpoena directly to the bank, and compare what they send you with what was voluntarily provided.

    More commonly, the need to use a GJ subpoena arises after you get voluntary compliance from the subject, and in examining the banking transactions there are transfers to/from other banking institutions into/out of accounts of third parties who also come under scrutiny. Manafort can’t voluntarily provide banking records of third parties with whom he did business, so a GJ subpoena gets sent to the other financial institution.

    As an example, there are news reports that wealthy Russians bought several Trump real estate properties in the last couple decades. Trump business banking records would reveal the receipt of funds used to close those transactions, and would identify the bank from which the funds originated. So a GJ subpoena would next be sent to that originating bank, so that the account from which the funds came could be analyzed to determine if the funds were legitimate, or if there was evidence that the funds were the product of some earlier “specified unlawful activity.”. The latter finding is a foundation upon which to base a money laundering charge.

    So GJ subpoenas in cases that involve a lot of financial transactions from numerous banking institutions are simply the mechanism used to gather records quickly from the banks themselves, which is the best source for the original documents of interest to the investigators.

    The records themselves may ultimately turn out to be exonerating of the people involved. But there is no way to know that without looking at them, and the only way to get them under the law is with a GJ subpoena.

    shipwreckedcrew (fb418b)

  104. What stands out most during then-FBI Director Mueller’s term in office is the two-tiered system of justice, when obvious crimes and scandals involving government officials and private-sector elites were ignored or even covered up by the FBI. What Mueller failed to do to protect our country says more than anything he did.

    Recent leaks suggest that Special Counsel Mueller is examining one of the President’s 2008 Palm Beach real estate deals, as well as the 2013 Miss Universe competition held in Moscow. During the very same time period as those events, FBI Director Mueller repeatedly failed to act in cases involving government corruption and dangerous crimes. His level of aggressiveness in investigating our President is the exact inverse of how he acted when he was tasked with protecting America.”

    harkin (a49e60)

  105. SWC–

    So, what you are saying is that it is open fishing season on Trump and his business dealings for the last 40 years? Who could pass that test? Most Senators would fail and don’t even talk about Congresscritters.

    Meanwhile, Hillary’s Foundation escapes even cursory scrutiny, even though she took in bribes while SecState.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  106. Here I thought that Trump’s AG would have 4 or 5 special counsel going through the previous administration’s laundry. I can understand Trump being upset with Sessions.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  107. harkin–

    Similar to Comey, who prosecuted Martha Stewart to the edge of the law for denying an accusation, but was unable to find a crime worth mentioning in Hillary’s mishandling of TS material.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  108. @108

    That nutcase site goes on to list tin-foil hat material like “Falsification of Iraq War Intel” and “Clinton’s Uranium Deal with Russia” among the “crimes” Mueller supposedly turned a blind eye to.

    It claims the HSBC scandal “reveals the complete and total corruption of federal law enforcement toward the end of Mueller’s term as FBI Director. No case demonstrates how the swamp works better than this one.”

    But in 2012, thanks in part to Mueller’s FBI, HSBC pleaded guilty to money laundering violations, agreed to forfeit over a billion dollars, and agreed to pay over $600M more in civil penalties.

    I guess the author of that piece, who alleges no specific wrong-doing by Mueller or the FBI in connection with HSBC, just figured people wouldn’t remember what happened five years ago.

    Dave (445e97)

  109. Clinton and Trump. One of these is not like the other under the law.

    crazy (11d38b)

  110. “Ahm smarter than these Generals.”

    Here’s a reaction form Kevin Drum at Mother Jones: Afghanistan Plan Killed Because ‘21’ Closed For Remodeling 30 Years Ago. This Is Not a Joke.

    Trump chatted with a few soldiers who were unhappy about this and that—after all, it’s the God-given right of every buck private in the Army to know exactly how the brass are botching things up—and therefore decided to reject his generals’ plan. And before you all start yammering about how Trump said last year that he already had a plan ready to go, that was for Iraq. He never said he had a plan for Afghanistan. OK?

    And now, for some more comic relief, here’s an inside look at how Trump comes up with these bright ideas:

    To underscore his view that the veterans who fought in the war may be better positioned to advise him on an Afghanistan strategy, Trump compared the policy review process to the renovation of a famed New York restaurant in the 1980s, officials said. Trump told his advisers that the restaurant, Manhattan’s elite ‘21’ Club, had shut its doors for a year and hired an expensive consultant to craft a plan for a renovation. After a year, Trump said, the consultant’s only suggestion was that the restaurant needed a BIGGER KITCHEN” No joke..

    Ben burn (155b51)

  111. I’ve been pretty clear here that I would be of the opinion that Trump could fire Mueller now on the basis that his actions exceed his mandate. I don’t care what Rosenstein authorized him to do, Rosenstein works for Trump, and Trump can trim back anything Rosenstein authorized. There is no “independent DOJ” and there is no “Independent” Special Prosecutor. Mueller is exercising the constitutional authority of the Executive — which is Trump — and the Executive possesses the institutional power to cut back or cancel the delegation which gives Mueller his power.

    The point of my post is that a GJ is needed in order to issue GJ subpoenas. Every Grand Jury is given a number in the District where they are empaneled, and the GJ subpoenas that are issued bear that number on their face. The records sought by the GJ subpoena are “returned” to the GJ by the federal agents who receive them, with the agent testifying before the GJ about what was requested and what was received.

    IMO experience over 23 years, sending out GJ subpoenas in an investigation involving extensive financial dealings is a rather routine investigative step, and doesn’t suggest in and of itself that any actual criminal activity has been uncovered.

    So, for example, DTJr. has been asked to turn over all email communications involving the meeting with the Russian lawyer, and lets assume he did so. A GJ subpoena is then sent to Yahoo or whoever was the company which he used for his email. The agents then look through all the emails produced by Yahoo to determine if there is any new information disclosed in those different from what was given to them by DTJr. If not, and if there are no emails supporting any criminal inferences with regard to that meeting, then that probably would be the end of that inquiry.

    So, as Beldar noted, its impossible to know if a GJ subpoena is being sent because the investigator has a strong belief that evidence of criminal activity is going to be found in the records being sought, or if they are being sought merely to “rule out” criminal conduct, and that can be done with records that provide exonerating information.

    shipwreckedcrew (fb418b)

  112. Mad dash for exculpatory evidence?

    No wonder Trump wants to shut him down.

    Ben burn (155b51)

  113. There is no “independent DOJ” and there is no “Independent” Special Prosecutor.

    not if jagtrash lindsey graham has anything to do with it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  114. Dave defending the left and their corruption again. Quelle surprise.

    NJRob (7f4bec)

  115. @108

    According to that hit-piece, another of Robert Mueller’s sins is that, after his term as FBI director ended, he took a job with a law firm (of over 1000 attorneys) that had … wait for it … represented guilty people at some time in the past.

    Yes, that’s right, if you’re an attorney, and you work for a firm that has ever represented people guilty of some crime, that makes you a “Dirty Cop”!

    Dave (445e97)

  116. Dave defending the left and their corruption again.

    Mueller is a life-long Republican.

    Dave (445e97)

  117. shipwreckedcrew is absolutely correct in why Mueller or any prosecutor for that matter uses the Grand Jury in getting documents. Keep in mind that deliberate hiding of evidence will become a process crime. Why didn’t the DOJ use this approach on Hillary’s destruction of the hard drives and emails? Oh yeah, the DOJ under Obama was very corrupt.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  118. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that so much of what leaks to the WaPo is stored in the classified cloud managed by Amazon Web Services.

    crazy (11d38b)

  119. I would feel a lot better about what is going to happen to Trump or his people only if the same standards were used on the Obama Administration.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  120. Deep state.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  121. @118
    Mueller is also a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran who was wounded in combat.

    He deserves better than to be smeared by the lying sycophants of a draft-dodging Russian stooge.

    Dave (445e97)

  122. 112- “I guess the author of that piece, who alleges no specific wrong-doing by Mueller or the FBI in connection with HSBC, just figured people wouldn’t remember what happened five years ago.”

    From your link:

    “As a result, HSBC Bank USA failed to monitor over $670 billion in wire transfers and over $9.4 billion in purchases of physical U.S. dollars”.

    Are you really crowing about a case where billions were laundered in untraced wire transfers enabled by the willful emasculating of monitoring/enforcement units plus the hiding of information that the money was not only coming from Mexican drug cartels but also Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Libya resulted in no arrests at HSBC USA?

    harkin (a49e60)

  123. Mueller is also a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran who was wounded in combat.

    lol Mueller is a cowardly dishonest corrupt fbi turdboy with a sketchy past and an even sketchier future

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  124. @126

    The FBI director doesn’t decide who gets prosecuted.

    According to one of the links to a Republican congressional investigation on the page you linked, Holder disregarded the investigators recommendations to prosecute.

    Dave (445e97)

  125. Mueller is a life-long Republican.

    Dave (445e97) — 8/4/2017 @ 8:36 am

    Whitewashed Obama and his administration’s crimes. Just like you do. What a coincidence. Maybe you’re both the same type of “Republicans.”

    NJRob (7f4bec)

  126. Here’s the page that explains the decision not to prosecute, and links to the House Financial Services Report:

    The [House Financial Services Committee] report — the result of a three-year investigation — shows that aggressive attorneys did want to prosecute HSBC, but Holder overruled them.

    In September 2012, the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) formally recommended that HSBC be prosecuted for its numerous financial crimes.

    Mueller and the FBI did their job.

    Dave (445e97)

  127. Maybe you’re both the same type of “Republicans.”

    We are: the honest kind.

    Dave (445e97)

  128. As if the news weren’t bad enough…

    Sean Spicer turns down ‘Dancing with the Stars’

    Dave (445e97)

  129. Mueller and the FBI (and Obama/Holder) did what needed to be done.


    Obama, Holder (and Mueller) saw to it that no one went to jail and the US Govt. received part of the skim.

    Where was Mueller’s (and the FBI’s) outrage? Your link certainly doesn’t show any. Any FBI director worth his salt would object to having the Bureau’s legs cut off at the knees.

    Where were CNN, NYTimes, WaPo, CBS News? Oh yeah out to lunch.

    If that’s the money shot on his law enforcement resume then color me unimpressed.

    harkin (a49e60)

  130. It still seems like this is less about prosecuting the still unidentified crimes and more about building a referral to Congress that in this case would have to go through Acting AG Rosenstein.

    crazy (11d38b)

  131. 121. AZ Bob (f7a491) — 8/4/2017 @ 8:41 am

    Why didn’t the DOJ use this approach on Hillary’s destruction of the hard drives and emails? Oh yeah, the DOJ under Obama was very corrupt.

    I think “corrupt” is the wrong word here. That would imply that Bill and Hillary Clinton bribed people in DOJ.

    Maybe they did, but not in a way that anybody else could do. You know, with networking. Not with money.

    I think the word you want is “dishonest” or maybe “political”

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  132. 110. Kevin M (752a26) — 8/4/2017 @ 7:30 am

    110.Here I thought that Trump’s AG would have 4 or 5 special counsel going through the previous administration’s laundry. I can understand Trump being upset with Sessions.

    First of all, Sessipns did not recuse hismelf from anything involving the trump campaign, but from any campaignn in 2016. Now some possible investigations do not involved the campaign, but the problem is there are procedures in place to prevent political criminal investigations. this sia sloo true about IRS audits.

    It seems like there are also provisions to create political investigations, provided that it is the incumbent president being investigated, and maybe Comey knew how to trigger that, so he may not be wrong aabout that.

    It can be triggered with lies. Even if the lie is disproven, the investigation remains.

    During the Obama Administration (and also the Clinton Administration) there were people who were ir had been insiders who knew what was needed to trigger an IRS audit.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  133. 109. Kevin M (752a26) — 8/4/2017 @ 7:28 am

    Meanwhile, Hillary’s Foundation escapes even cursory scrutiny, even though she took in bribes while SecState

    It is what could have been bribes. but nothing is ever simple with the Clintons. All Clinton relationships that didn’t cheat people were long term.

    The basic problem is how does an investigation get initiated. A president is not supposed to be able to just start a DOJ criminal investigation. If one is really skilled at covering their tracks, and part of a political machine, of course he or she can.

    With the Clintons money making, we see clear quids – they got things that don’t seem like fair market value. Quos they gave in return are not so clear. It could have been secret information. Or counseling. Even counseling on what not to do.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  134. Sammy #136
    Drain the swamp.

    AZ Bob (f7a491)

  135. We are: the honest kind.

    As judged by Democrats.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  136. So, now there are multiple grand juries. Does this mean you can take the ham sandwich to grand jury after grand jury until it gets indicted?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  137. Sammy, the thing that seems to trigger special counsel is that “R” thing. Obama could have murdered a houseful of girl scouts and there would have been no special prosecutor.

    Or do you contend there were no scandals of any magnitude, certain less than someone talking to a Russian!

    Kevin M (752a26)

  138. An indictment is a piece of cake. Not a ham sandwich. In Cook County, we get a copy of the relevant part of the grand jury transcript along with the indictment at arraignment. It is the prosecutor reading a portion of the police arrest report to the grand jury. Hint: The standard for returning an indictment is the same as the standard for arrest. Probable cause that the accused committed the crime and can be held for trial.

    And this “ham sandwich” stuff is nothing but Holywood. In the first place, ham sandwiches do not have Constitutional rights, and in the second place they do not have the motive, means or opportunity to commit a crime. You’d need a really dumb grand jury to get it to believe that a ham sandwich can shoot a gun or jimmy open a door or would want to.

    And to further burst the bubble, prosecutors seldom seek an indictment when they only have probable cause. There’s a stage between arrest and indictment called “felony review” up here, where the prosecutors critically examine the strength of their case. They want a prima facie case, one that will not be summarily dismissed by the court after all their work putting it on before a judge and jury. They only present probable cause to the grand jury because that’s all they need and there’s no reason to waste their time and the grand jury’s time putting on their whole case.

    nk (dbc370)

  139. 137..”can be triggered with lies. Even if the lie is disproven, the investigation remains.”

    Like most investigations it’s a probe. What is discovered in the process is always germane.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)


    If Trump knew any GJ would drag on for years because of his attacks on key people, he is a genius.

    But I think it’s because God looks out for fools and dry-drunks.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  141. 143. nk (dbc370) — 8/4/2017 @ 3:13 pm

    And this “ham sandwich” stuff is nothing but Holywood.

    It was New York Court of Appeals Judge Sol Wachtler who said that (before he was on the court I think)

    He later on committed a crazy harassment crime and pled guilty.

    Sammy Finkelman (2fe355)

  142. Really? I thought it originated with Libby..

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  143. Kevin M (752a26) — 8/4/2017 @ 2:51 pm

    Obama could have murdered a houseful of girl scouts and there would have been no special prosecutor.

    I don’t think Obama could have, but Bill Clinton could have. In fact he did murder a whole group of people on April 19, 1993. But the crime was carefully prepared, including with predictions that the Davidians were going to commit suicide.

    Sammy Finkelman (2fe355)

  144. Also don’t forget Susan McDougal stayed in jail rather than testify. That was about a rather minor financial crime.

    Sammy Finkelman (2fe355)

  145. Clinton did make some blunders along the way, but he managed to recover. Biggest blunder: sending Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky to the same office.

    Sammy Finkelman (2fe355)

  146. Without proper vetting of Dersh, that is.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  147. Cattolica makes many references

    Black/White literalists with no greyscale, no middle ground..sound familiar?

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  148. I dunno. Looks to me like the GOP is sitting pretty — it just got a Democrat governor to switch over! — and it’s the Democrats who don’t know whether to sh!t or go blind. I’d say that the Republicans are in a win-win. Getting all they can out of their association with Trump, and with the Democrats making him the lightning rod, likely to avoid any significant damage if he goes down.

    nk (dbc370)

  149. That should have been on the jobs thread in response to mg.

    nk (dbc370)

  150. Meanwhile, Hillary’s Foundation escapes even cursory scrutiny, even though she took in bribes while SecState

    Despite what all of you insist on falsely accusing me of, I would be delighted to see either or both of the Clintons jailed for any crimes they’ve committed.

    But I think there are a few problems with your assertion.

    First, I don’t think it’s true that the Clinton Foundation has escaped even cursory scrutiny. As a non-profit organization, it was subject to regular review certain basic standards that they would have been fools to knowingly violate.

    Second, it received a lot more scrutiny during the presidential campaign. As far as I’m aware, nothing stuck. As Sammy points out, they received donations; but those donations were not personal gifts to the Clintons, and there is no evidence that the donors received anything in return other than intangible (and lawful) goodwill. That’s what Donald Trump was buying when he donated (other peoples’ money) to bribe them into attending his wedding, for instance.

    Third, it is the president of the *current* administration who publicly promised to protect Hillary from the law because she is a friend of his. My position is always that Trump should keep every single promise he made during the election campaign. Locking up Hillary, embassy to Jerusalem, eliminating the national debt in eight years, complete ban on Muslim immigration, routine use of torture, murdering of the wives and children of suspected terrorists, eliminating freedom of the press, ending crime and violence, deporting all 11M illegal immigrants and then re-admitting them, nationwide death penalty for cop-killers by executive order, nuclear weapons for Saudi Arabia, 30% tariffs, trade war with China, giving me “everything”, ALL OF IT.

    Fourth, remember why the Special Counsel was appointed: because the president by his own admission corruptly fired the FBI Director in an attempt to thwart an investigation of wrong-doing by his relatives and close associates. Nobody denies that the president had the authority to fire Comey. But authority exercised under color of law with intent to obstruct justice is still obstruction of justice. If our laws mean anything, that is.

    Dave (445e97)

  151. He even looks like beeks, Paul gleeson:

    narciso (d1f714)

  152. Although that really looks like Dennis Ross.

    narciso (d1f714)

  153. 157
    Re the governor switching parties
    In this case the GOP should be embarrassed.
    Justice (neat name) was an independent before he was a Republican before he was a Democrat. Or maybe a Republican before he was an independent before he was a Democrat. He seems to be the sort who changes political labels like Trump changed wives.

    kishnevi (948a4d)

  154. Again, I dunno. mg wrote:

    Trump has exposed the republican party as a sham. His greatest legacy will be ending this group of fraudulent egos.

    Let’s assume the worst about Gov. Justice. If you can’t judge whether a ship is sinking by the rats, what can you judge it by? 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  155. Governor is a polulusrman. busunesss

    narciso (d1f714)


    More old soldiers run the Galtright gauntlet.

    Ben burn (ab90f6)

  157. Like most investigations it’s a probe. What is discovered in the process is always germane.

    IOW, a fishing expedition. And even if you find nothing, the process is punishment.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  158. That’s SOP for law enforcement. Have you objected previously?

    Ben burn (ab90f6)

  159. There’s only so much stroganoff one can consume.

    narciso (d1f714)

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