Patterico's Pontifications


On That Lawsuit Saying The GOP Is A Racketeering Organization: A Dissenting View

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:30 pm

My RedState colleague streiff posted on Friday about a lawsuit filed by a retired attorney (who else?) accusing the GOP of doing THE RICO!!!1! As a reminder, here is a quote from the article streiff cited:

A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act he’s suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.

Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren’t going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

The GOP “has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats,” the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.

streiff opined:

I think this is inspired and no matter what happens to this lawsuit–and I think a jury should be allowed to hear the case–other Republican lawyers across the nation should do the same. And they should also do it with the ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ bullsh**, too.

The GOP has used ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood to raise tens of millions of dollars with no intention of repealing one and defunding the other, not because the votes can’t be whipped, but because if they actually do those things they will have killed the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg.

I strongly agree with the second paragraph of that quote. I think it is well stated and it is absolutely, positively, 100% correct. (By the way, I would add “repealing Roe v. Wade” among the list of things that the GOP claims as a goal for fundraising purposes, but does not actually want to achieve. More on that some other time.) I do not think it’s going too far to call what the GOP did a “fraud.” That’s strong language (although not so much in today’s rhetorical climate), but in this case it feels apt. The image of Lucy taking the football away from Charlie Brown comes to mind. Republicans promised repeal for seven years. The electorate kept giving them everything they asked for. They never had any intention of delivering. Yes, it was a fraud.

So what’s my problem? Calling it “fraud” does not mean it’s the sort of “fraud” that is actionable in court. And the use of the almost-always-abused RICO statute is the cherry on top. That’s the detail that confirms your suspicion that this lawsuit is insane headline-grabbing B.S. by an attention seeker.

Ken White at Popehat once had a lawsplainer about RICO. The short answer is: it’s never RICO. I’m going to clean up Ken’s language a little bit for our family site, but perceptive readers will easily fill in the blanks:

That’s not what RICO means. RICO is not a [expletive deleted]ing frown emoji. It’s not an exclamation point. It’s not a rhetorical tool to convey you are upset about something. It’s not a petulant foot-stomp.

RICO is a really complicated racketeering law that has elaborate requirements that are difficult to meet. It’s overused by idiot plaintiff lawyers, and it’s ludicrously overused by a hundred million jackasses on the internet with an opinion and a mood disorder.

Ken has a full and detailed explanation of what RICO actually is at the link. Suffice it to say: this is not RICO. This lawsuit is not going anywhere. Might the retired lawyer be able to extract a “go away” settlement? Sure. That happens all the time. Far more often than you may realize, in fact. Will he get the case to a jury, obtain a favorable verdict, and have that verdict upheld on appeal? Absolutely not. There is zero chance of that. None. Zilch. Trust me on this.

And what’s more, like many abuses of process to vindicate interests you agree with, it’s a gun that can be turned around and pointed at you at any time. Imagine a candidate who actually does believe in a bold political idea. Say Senator Mike Lee — who, unlike most GOP politicians, is a man of principle — runs on doing everything he can to reduce the federal debt. But then he fails to turn it around — because, frankly, in today’s climate, it can’t be turned around. Can some clown sue him for fraud?

The bolder your vision, the less likely you are to succeed. If a politician sees that any broken promise (no matter the reason it is broken) can lead to a lawsuit — worse, one that actually makes it past a motion to dismiss — that state of affairs will have an unintended consequence: causing politicians to make fewer bold claims. It is a situation that favors the status quo.

In the end, I think this is similar to that “is it OK to punch a Nazi?” debate that sprang up after that clip of a guy sucker-punching Richard Spencer went viral. In one corner, you had people who hate Nazis and enjoyed seeing one get his comeuppance. In another corner, you had people like me — who also hate Nazis, but believe that sucker-punching people for their speech is a bad idea, and a slippery slope that may result in the other side squelching speech that we want to protect.

I applaud this retired attorney’s argument that the GOP never meant to repeal ObamaCare. I agree with this 100%.

But he should not be suing over it.

Full disclosure: I probably have a different perspective on this from many, because I have actually been on the wrong end of a frivolous lawsuit alleging fraud and RICO violations for simply expressing opinions on the Internet. (I won — thanks for asking! — but it took years.) That sort of experience tends to make a person very, very skeptical about the motives of those who use the courts to make political arguments.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

59 Responses to “On That Lawsuit Saying The GOP Is A Racketeering Organization: A Dissenting View”

  1. RICO or not the filthy lying republicans should have to give the monies back what they fleeced from people what gave it in good faith

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. Totally agree with everything in the post.

    nk (dbc370)

  3. Never happen, happyfeet;

    If only because if it were allowed to go through, the Democrats would be next, amd it’s sufficiently obvious that it would be so that the Democrat establishment knows it.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  4. Abusing and twisting of the law leads to the end of the rule of law. That’s precisely what has happened to us already.

    At this point, it is difficult for me to care so long as the ends are those I support.

    I am vitally interested in a return to the rule of law. Short of a great Article V convention, I am at a complete loss as to how we get there.

    To be clear, I was, and remain, profoundly grateful that you managed to survive the anarchic attacks as you have, Pat.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  5. Revisit the editorials, musings, commentary and positions from the mid-30’s post-passage of Social Security. Same patterns albeit more wordy from an era when verbiage was ‘in vogue’– and literally in Vogue.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  6. meanwhile sleazy harvardtrash p.o.s. rod rosenstein (our actual Attorney General) is giving a get out of jail free card to CNN Jake Tapper fake news propaganda sluts what leak classified information

    i really didn’t think the DOJ could get more skanky after Holder and Lynch

    if you’d asked me i woulda said no we’ve hit maximal DOJ skankiness, and I would have said this with conviction

    but here we are and those trashy DOJ turds keep getting skankier by the day

    thank you Jeffy Sessions

    thank you for all you do

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. Not RICO, definitely fraud. Look at the former #2 for the Republicans who said last month they never had any intention of repealing Obamacare, but just voted to stop it to whip up votes from the base.

    NJRob (ab2d82)

  8. to whip up votes from the base

    and money

    votes and money

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  9. btw why is the lawless p.o.s. harvard-dweeb DEPUTY attorney general a tv star allubasuddin

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. wow check out the history of that corrupt lil DOJ job – what a goddamn trashcan magnet that position is

    it’s hard to think of a single position what’s attracted so many notably sleazy and skanky people to it

    maybe CEO of Disney sorta comes close

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  11. If he wins will the guilty be hung?

    mg (31009b)

  12. No federal prosecutor is going to pass up locking up a famous person and making his own self famous unless there’s absolutely no way he can do it.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Yeah, yeah, I know, but the “absolutely no way he can do it” includes that the target has more political clout.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. those people are sick

    sick i tell you Mr. nk

    i got your preet bahara right here

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  15. Have the republicans ever put a democrat in jail? Or have they knowingly enabled them from prosecution?

    mg (31009b)

  16. Siegelman in Alabama, they are still upset about that. Marion Barry,

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. We have to remember one thing: the Republicans did not promise to “repeal Obysmalcare,” but to “repeal and replace” it. They couldn’t come up with anything utilizing the private insurance market that was different enough from Obaminablecare to (reasonably) claim that they had repealed it without kicking a bunch of their own voters off Medicaid health insurance.

    There are three, and only three options:

    1 – The government will guarantee health care coverage through some form of direct government program, a single payer system;

    2 – The government will use the private insurance system to guarantee coverage for everybody, including some form of premium assistance for those who cannot pay the premiums, which is just what Obumblecare does now; or

    3 – The government will not guarantee health care coverage, in which case those who cannot afford health insurance will not get it.

    About half of Republicans favor the third option, as I would if there was a snowball’s chance of achieving that, but there isn’t because the other half of Republican voters want to guarantee health care somehow, but just hate the way the ACA does things now; a subset of those people could actually support the ACA if we hadn’t hung the name Obamacare on it, because they hate the President after whom it is nicknamed. “Repeal and replace” met the desires of the first group of Republicans, because all that they heard was the “repeal” part, but the other half want it replaced with something that guarantees health care coverage.

    The repeal only option was lost in the 2012 election. Donald Trump campaigned on, among other things, a “great” program to replace Owfulcare with something that would both cover everybody and be less costly, but he never presented any such option to the Congress. Don’t blame this just on Congress; President Trump shares much of the responsibility.

    Of course, the Republicans never had decent replacement plan, because they never thought that Hillary Clinton would lose the election.

    The Dana excoriated for supporting single payer (8cee75)

  18. Fitzgerald. Two Illinois governors. Yes, two. Nobody ever believed that Ryan was a Republican. He was a Democrat who defined RINO.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. you act like President Trump shares much of the responsibility

    i see how you are

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  20. Of course it’s fraudulent political activity that should be remedied at the ballot box not the jury box. The post-Watergate desire to criminalize every political disagreement is way out of hand. This is a good case to start ending it.

    crazy (11d38b)

  21. Marion could not be kept down, comeback hack of the century.

    mg (31009b)

  22. me i refuse to play sun city until the scourge of apartheid is no more

    what say you, “war hero” john mccain

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  23. Blago was guilty, but he was also a patsy to clear a path for Obama. Mueller had a hand in that dog and pony show.

    Truthbetold (1ab5c1)

  24. If that lawyer needs a contribution, I’ll give my still held in escrow RNC contribution

    william elbel (647cbe)

  25. 23. Blago was done in with help of his fellow Dems because, believe it or not, he held form to his campaign promise of not increasing the state’s sales and info.e tax rates. Once they got 2-county Pat (Quinn) in there, That’s w
    How you got the 5% state income tax in (recently restored after a 2.5 year hiatus).

    urbanleftbehind (26861f)

  26. On-topic re Trump, but off-topic re RICO and those particulars, which are interesting subjects but not what I’m thinking through at the moment:

    Rod Rosenstein’s interview with Chris Wallace this morning on Fox News Sunday was monumentally newsworthy in its lack of newsworthiness.

    I’ve read stuff saying, “Rosenstein signals shift to rein in Mueller, hints tighter control” based on that interview. That is utter BS, 99.9999% hype.

    Rosenstein was paraphrasing closely the very clear terms of 28 CFR part 600, something I’ve referenced so many times in the last four months that I’ve got the neural pathways nicely trained and can type it really quickly. It’s the special counsel regs. Every single word of every sentence in Rosenstein’s carefully crafted answers about Mueller was pre-ordained, scripted, by those regulations.

    Remember, we’re talking regulations that were passed by the DoJ when the previous independent counsel statute expired. It had survived constitutional challenge by the skin of its teeth in Morrison v. Olsen (Scalia, dissenting, called the statute a wolf in wolf’s clothing in re-balancing power among the three branches). And Ken Starr, appointed under that statute, had just investigated the heck out of blue dresses and cigars and interns and pizza parties, leading to the second impeachment in American history, leading to the second Senate acquittal in American history (series score: POTUS 2, CONGRESS 0). The particular DoJ that drafted these particular rules was headed by Janet Reno, and they were written in 1999 in the months immediately following Bubba’s Senate acquittal.

    The independent counsel statute was believed by both sides to spawn Godzilla prosecutors devoted to chaotic destruction. No one opposed its lapse, no one has tried to reinstate it.

    But do you think that Janet Reno’s DoJ would write regulations that would permit another Ken Starr-type independent counsel wearing a different label, “special counsel”? Did you fall off the potato truck last night and hurt your head?

    Look, the regs give Rosenstein an absolute whip-hand over Mueller. Rosenstein can inquire about interim decisions and overrule them. He can overrule any other decisions by the special counsel, including prosecution declinations and approvals. The special counsel cannot report publicly ever, up until there’s an indictment filed; otherwise everything he produces goes through Rosenstein before it’s acted upon. If there are no indictments, Rosenstein can approve any declination recommendations and then notify the ranking members that the special counsel’s appointment has ended, without saying another damned word.

    If he’d wanted, Rosenstein could have done a Powerpoint presentation with 27 ways he could ride herd on Mueller, who actually has less discretion than any of the 93 U.S. Attorneys with responsibilities for a judicial district somewhere in America. That would have been gauche and showing off. Does Rod Rosenstein look to anyone like a show-off?

    What this appearance — Rosenstein’s very first time on any Sunday show — actually represented was Rosenstein tersely proving himself to be the anti-Comey, in the sense that he didn’t leak or hint at or try to win approval by seeming chummy about a single damned thing.

    I think the only think he might have spilled was that the three-fold increase in leak referrals mentioned by Sessions was indeed something more than an increase from one leak referral to three leak referrals. But I think Rosenstein could do the fractions in his head if it were four, seven, sixty-eight, or one hundred fifty-six.

    He reminds me of Lt. Data, Brett Spiner’s character from ST:TNG, but trained as a lawyer. I would buy as many rounds as he would drink for the chance to pick his brains, but I’d bet he can hold his booze and his tongue.

    Rosenstein’s not just holding his cards close to his vest. He’s holding them subcutaneously. Therefore:

    Nobody actually knows anything about the actual status of the special counsel’s investigation except the people who are conducting it. And that is exactly as it should be. I said earlier the “anti-Comey.” Perhaps, better: The inverse of Comey. Yes, better still that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  27. Ah Beldar after delay Perry and Paxton, after Chisholm after McDonnell you are going to tell me there will be supervision so that that Mueller will stay on an even keel, that’s a charming bedtime story but were not children anymore.

    Those who had shown they were ambivalent about death panels or robertscare in general, like Murkowski were allowed great least those who challenged the establishment over macho grande in Kansas mississippi had their wings clupped.

    narciso (d1f714)

  28. Its just a coincidence that hillaru is untouchable but tepublicans can be charged everything from Jay walking to treason , where as the real treason the dangers to the sepah “none dare call it treason because treason doth prosper’

    narciso (d1f714)

  29. My ears perked up when I heard: “Bob Mueller understands and I understand the specific scope of the investigation and so no, it’s not a fishing expedition.” The rest was exactly as Beldar thoroughly described.

    So if Rosenstein and Mueller have a mutual understanding about what the specific scope of the investigation is why isn’t it defined in the delegation letter and better yet, what is it?

    crazy (11d38b)

  30. I’m not saying there will be supervision.

    I’m saying Rosenstein has all the power. What he chooses to do with it, how much of that power he intends to use, and how much of that he allows the public to know about, is up to him, and so far, he’s giving no clues about anything.

    Will he actually ride herd on Mueller? I dunno. I just know I wouldn’t want to play poker with him for real money.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. The specific scope of the investigation is defined by the written order appointing Mueller. Rosenstein wrote it. He knows what it means. It’s actually written in an incredibly cagey way by promiscuous use of references to particular CFR sections that mean quite a bit if you bother to look them up and figure out why it’s those, rather than other particular CFR sections, that got cited.

    But have Rosenstein & Mueller discussed all those sections individually with each other? Have they discussed exactly where the Russian foreign intelligence investigation stood, and what spin-off criminal prosecutions (unnamed, except generally, collectively, and impliedly by reference to spin-off criminal prosecution regulations) already existed when Mueller stepped in? They must have, in detail, for Mueller to even begin to make the first decisions a special counsel has to make (regarding staffing, office space, budgeting, and the like — all by regulation). Remember, this foreign intelligence investigation had been up and running for months going well back into Obama’s tenure, before Inauguration Day and indeed before the election itself.

    You’re absolutely right that that was a ringing statement, crazy — a statement that “Yes, we’re doing it by the book for everybody all the time no matter what.” Which is what he ought to have said, and which we hope is true, but which he ought not be talking about, lest he morph into James Comey, which he won’t.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  32. TL/DR:

    Rosenstein: We’re doing everything by the book.

    Talking Heads: Rosenstein announces major crackdown on rogue prosecutor Mueller! Film at 11!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  33. Totally agree Beldar, apologies if my comment implied otherwise. I found it interesting that Rosenstein emphasized that he and Mueller had an agreed-upon scope that doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the go-fishing delegation letter. It seemed to me Rosenstein was sensitive to the criticism that you and others like Andy McCarthy have been making that his delegation to Mueller was too loosely defined.

    You read my mind while I was trying to compose that thought!

    crazy (11d38b)

  34. Suing politicians for fraud? The courts would have no time for anything else.

    And IF they delivered on everything they promised in exchange for a donation, wouldn’t that be bribery?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  35. “The Republicans” didn’t promise you squat. *Some* Republicans did.

    Those Republicans voted for something THEY felt was honoring their pledge. You thought when they said “we will get rid of Obamacare” it meant they were going to just repeal it, and ignore the consequences of that repeal. Nver mind that the people who were fukked by Obamacare (NOT YOU!!! NEVER YOU!!!) would get fukked all over again if they did that.

    But that’s not what they meant. They meant they’d replace it with X. Others wanted to replace it with Y or Z or parts of each. And they argued and argued and could not get it done. But they all can say they tried, in their own way.

    So, blame them.

    But it is YOUR silly misunderstandings and simplistic assumptions that led to your displeasure. And you wonder why we elected a simpleton as president. Frankly Trump shows more nuance on the subject that a lot of people here.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  36. You don’t have to go fishing if you poison the watershed.

    Pinandpuller (943389)

  37. Here I go again with a bit of a different take than Beldar. Prayers appreciated. :)

    Seriously, I fully agree that Rosenstein is 100% committed to following the letter of the law, and has. However, a crucial consideration not mentioned is that the various conflicts of interest Mueller brings with him are exceedingly problematic. He was thick as thieves with Comey, who was and remains a significant piece to this giant puzzle (getting giant-er with each passing day).

    Justice is almost certainly being corrupted. The statute itself? Much harder to make that case, but I’d bet a lot that the Mueller conflicts meet that criterion.

    Basically, Mueller is to Trump as the L.A. (not Santa Monica) jury was to the prosecution of OJ.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  38. Mr M wrote:

    You thought when they said “we will get rid of Obamacare” it meant they were going to just repeal it, and ignore the consequences of that repeal. Nver mind that the people who were fukked by Obamacare (NOT YOU!!! NEVER YOU!!!) would get fukked all over again if they did that.

    Mostly right, because a lot of people weren’t f(ornicated) by Obysmalcare, a lot of people benefited from it. Most of the benefit actually came in the form of the Medicaid expansion, receiving yet another form of welfare. The people who were f(ornicated) the most were those who bought policies through the exchanges, and then saw their rates skyrocket, but most people continued to get their health insurance through their employers, and didn’t see that happen nearly as badly.

    A lot of Republicans — including me — did not like the underlying principle, that the government would guarantee health care coverage in the first place, but most people didn’t get f(ornicated).

    But that’s not what they meant. They meant they’d replace it with X. Others wanted to replace it with Y or Z or parts of each. And they argued and argued and could not get it done. But they all can say they tried, in their own way.

    So, blame them.

    Well, that was certainly the theme on which they ran, “repeal and replace,” because they understood that repeal only was not a winning strategy.

    But it is YOUR silly misunderstandings and simplistic assumptions that led to your displeasure. And you wonder why we elected a simpleton as president. Frankly Trump shows more nuance on the subject that a lot of people here.

    Alas! no, that isn’t the case; Mr Trump was actually the worst offender. He campaigned on an undefined replacement plan that was going to be “great,” cover everybody, and cost less than Obaminablecare. When it came time to put up or shut up, and present his replacement plan, he didn’t, because he didn’t ever have one. Trump lied, repeal died.

    The Dana old enough to remember the 2016 campaign (8cee75)

  39. repeal died cause cowardly p.o.s. war hero John McCain had one of his episodes

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. Mr Feet wrote:

    repeal died cause cowardly p.o.s. war hero John McCain had one of his episodes

    If Senator McCain hadn’t been willing to vote no, then some other Republican senator would have been recruited to take the heat, because there were about seven — maybe more — of them who didn’t want “skinny repeal” to pass.

    But the people’s One True God¹, Donald John Trump, who had campaigned on having a plan to replace the Pathetic Care Act with something “great,” lied through his scummy teeth; he had nothing, and presented exactly that, when it came time to actually do something.
    ¹ – When I say “One True God,” I am referring to Pontius Pilate crowning Judah Ben-Hur with the laurel leaves after he won the chariot race. I do see some rather striking similarities between that and the Trumpelstiltskins.

    The Dana who understands how these things work (8cee75)

  41. …and it’s ludicrously overused by a hundred million jackasses on the internet with an opinion and a mood disorder.

    The only thing that I’d disagree with Ken about is that he’s off by a factor of 10 — or maybe 100…

    J.P. (9e0433)

  42. If Senator McCain hadn’t been willing to vote no, then some other Republican senator would have been recruited to take the heat, because there were about seven — maybe more — of them who didn’t want “skinny repeal” to pass.

    and all but one of these slimy cowardly war heroes ran on a promise to repeal obamacare

    as did President Trump

    the difference being that President Trump maintained the courage of his convictions whereas the war hero trash in the senate revealed themselves to be execrably dishonorable liars

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  43. I’m right there with Ken on this. Having brought exactly one RICO criminal case in 23 years — and swearing to never do so again after that case concluded — the complexity of the statute far exceeds the mindless simplicity with which the acronym is tossed around by ignorant commentators.

    I was strongly advised at the time by a more experienced prosecutor to not use the RICO statute because it really puts the onus for ridiculous decision-making on the jury, when there are other equally effective statutes that can be employed under identical facts, most notably the VICAR statute, which stands for Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering. Obviously VICAR would not reach a political organization such as the GOP, but RICO – as pointed out by the Host and Popehat — doesn’t fit the facts either.

    shipwreckedcrew (9e5f20)

  44. Two articles in the past week about medical costs that gave examples.

    One in Bloomberg Business Week concerned a family in Louisville. They make $130,000 a year. They pay $14,000 for an Anthem policy taht also covers their two teenage children. Less than before the PPAAC but they are respeopncilble for out of pocket costs till $11,000. They are looking for full time jobs to get employer coverage. Both are now self-employed – Amy as a consultant for antipoverty programs and Ron as a computer programmer. Amy, 53, has Crohn’s disease and Ron, 46 has diabetes. Their last name is Shir.

    Grwoth in medical spending has been climbing. From 2006 to 2016 average premiums increased 31% over inflation and reached $18,000 a year in 2016. Workers typically pay 30%.

    A second article in the New York Daily News Sunday someone (Christopher Ketcham) writes he was going to enroll but is going to take the penalty. It’s $400 a month, $800 with his daughter. A $4,000 deductable. He has abouit $1,000 in savings. A few checks coming in but money is tight. He gets too much to get subsidies and can’t qualify for Medicaid. In France he says it worked.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  45. Dana, at 40, I read it the same way: McCain was the agreed upon fall guy who was able to vote ‘no’ in a way that protected the political interests of the other Senators who were unwilling to see skinny repeal pass but preferred not to be on the record voting against it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  46. Aphrael wrote:

    Dana, at 40, I read it the same way: McCain was the agreed upon fall guy who was able to vote ‘no’ in a way that protected the political interests of the other Senators who were unwilling to see skinny repeal pass but preferred not to be on the record voting against it.

    ‘Twas only a couple of weeks ago that our esteemed host was excoriating the likes of Rob Portman, but, with the skinny repeal vote failure, only three senators had to vote against it, and sha-zamm! everybody has forgotten about the others who wanted to vote no.

    Susan Collins’ negative vote was expected, and as our host noted, she voted against the repeal only legislation in 2015; she didn’t lie to her constituents. Lisa Murkowski has already proved that she doesn’t give a damn what Republican voters think about her, given her 2010 write-in campaign after she lost the primary, and she’s not up for re-election until 2022. It’s only John McCain being attacked, and, let’s face it: he’s dying. All of the others have the cover they wanted, and they’re slowly being forgotten.

    The Dana who thinks a lot of people understand this (6b46e3)

  47. sleazy war hero John McCain isn’t being “attacked” he’s just making a completely risible ass out of his cowardly lying war hero self and people are noticing is all

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. “only three senators had to vote against it, ”


    Ben burn (12ab2c)

  49. it takes 53 goddamn war heroes to make a village

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. Divide 53 by 36..

    Ben burn (12ab2c)

  51. Or would it be 47 ÷ 36?

    Ben burn (12ab2c)

  52. Does it matter for those who don’t do math or physics or science?

    Ben burn (12ab2c)

  53. science lol

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  54. takes 53 goddamn war heroes to make a village

    And just one w/a Zippo to torch it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  55. Mr burn corrected me:

    “only three senators had to vote against it, ”


    I should have been more precise, and said 3 Republican senators. The skinny repeal needed 50 yes votes, plus Vice President Pence’s tie-breaker; with only 49 yes votes, and 51 noes, it failed. And that is exactly what they got.

    Remember: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), whom a lot of people thought might switch to the GOP, voted against skinny repeal.

    The Dana who accepts correction when deserved. (1044d2)

  56. @ Ed from SFV (#37), who wrote (as part of an extremely thoughtful and civil comment, thank you sir):

    [Mueller] was thick as thieves with Comey, who was and remains a significant piece to this giant puzzle (getting giant-er with each passing day).

    If you think the investigation is about what CNN and the WaPo say it’s about, then that would be right.

    If the investigation really isn’t about Comey — if, for instance, they’ve already cleared Trump of any hint of collusion or crimes in connection with the election — then Mueller has no conflict. Someone else at DoJ may (should) be taking a look at Comey’s deliberate violation of DoJ policies (at a minimum), and I genuinely think the DC Bar (or wherever else he’s licensed) ought to be inquiring into his fitness to continue practicing law after deliberately destroying one or more privileges that could have otherwise been asserted by the POTUS through Comey’s leaks. Or maybe he’ll skate.

    Regardless , if Comey’s not a witness, and not a target, in anything Mueller’s doing, there’s no conflict based on his and Mueller’s friendship, and no violation of the conflicts regulations. Whereas if Comey is a witness or a target in something Mueller’s doing, there would be a conflict, and not only Mueller, but also Rosenstein, and also the DoJ ethics specialists whom Rosenstein said he consults on these appointments, per DoJ policy, “colluded” to put Mueller into the job and are now “colluding” to conceal and/or ignore the conflict in violation of the regs.

    So which inference is more likely, d’ya think? Are they all really that corrupt? Or instead is Comey not a witness? I’m betting the latter, but I freely admit I’m relying on a negative inference.

    Rosenstein and Mueller haven’t confirmed much of anything, but Rosenstein went out of his way to volunteer yesterday that they are reading lots of stuff in the press about Mueller’s investigation that Rosenstein knows to be false.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  57. Ask ed messes how these investigations work also Samuel pierce, heck throw in Henry Cisneros for the bonus round.

    narciso (d1f714)

  58. Gonzalez was the odd man it in 2004, and he still hasn’t figured it out, Cindy and goldsmith collobirated, Mueller took the nores

    narciso (d1f714)

  59. @ crazy (#33): No apologies necessary, and I likewise thought we were in general agreement rather than disagreement on the topic. Rosenstein knows the exact scope of the mandate; other than Mueller and his direct subordinates, Rosenstein’s the only one who needs to know the exact scope of the mandate; and Rosenstein is systematically doing everything he can to keep the mandate sufficiently clear in their internal communications (which are effectively cross-referenced to include everything already underway when Mueller was appointed, without being revealed) so that they can defend any challenge to Mueller’s authority under the Appointments clause (without which the prosecution would be void) while keeping it as tightly secret as possible. “I know, you don’t need to,” is basically what he was saying.

    Beldar (fa637a)

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