Patterico's Pontifications

11/14/2017

Justice Dept Considering A Second Special Counsel

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

All things Clinton:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The revelation came in a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath

The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and that those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

While the Justice Department is part of the executive branch — and the attorney general is appointed by and answers to the president — the White House generally provides input on broad policy goals and does not weigh in on criminal probes.

In that context, the letter is likely to be seen by some, especially on the left, as Sessions inappropriately bending to political pressure, perhaps to save his job. The possible reigniting of a probe of Clinton is likely to draw especially fierce criticism, even as it is welcomed by Trump’s supporters.

As a reminder, this is what President Trump said recently about the Justice Dept.:

I’m really not involved with the Justice Department — it should be able to run itself — but they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things, and a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Dept. — including me.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Yeah, About That Twitter Account That Alleged Bribery in the Roy Moore Scandal…

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:00 am

Last night, I criticized a story in the New Yorker attacking Roy Moore based on nothing but rumor and innuendo. But some Moore defenders also need to be reminded that rumor is not news. There is a sick irony here: some of the same people who whine about Big Media and “hearsay” love to breathlessly repeat literally any damned stupid thing they see on the Internet. And one of the damned stupid charges thrown around by the more partisan and careless Internet Moore Defenders was the charge that Washington Post reporters bribed witnesses.

These rumors had a traceable source: an anonymous Twitter account called @umpire43 aka “Doug Lewis #MAGA,” which tweeted last week: “A family friend in Alabama just told my wife that a WAPO reporter named Beth offered her 1000$ to accuse Roy Moore???” Because it was a stupid and unverified rumor, it was only natural that it would be touted by the fact-challenged Gateway Pundit with the classic statement: “Of course this is HUGE news if true.”

When you read a story that confirms your pre-existing biases but is based on unverified rumor and innuendo, the low-IQ thing to do is to spread that puppy as far and wide as your little typing fingers can work, and that’s what some shameless Moore defenders did. In comments at my own site, the Doug Lewis #MAGA narrative was spread by avowed Trumpers who didn’t bother to link their sources. (You know who you are and you should be ashamed.)

Thing is, the Twitter guy who first leveled the “bribery!” accusation had a . . . questionable personal back story, to put it mildly. When you added up the various assertions in his narrative, he would have had to join the Navy at age 5 for it all to be true:

And he couldn’t remember whether he had two Purple Hearts, or three, or four:

The editor of a news site for vets started asking Doug Lewis #MAGA some pointed questions, and next thing you know . . . Doug Lewis #MAGA’s tweets were gone. Gizmodo:

[A]fter Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel and Task and Purpose editor Adam Weinstein challenged inconsistencies in the account’s military backstory—like whether he had earned 2, 3, or 4 Purple Hearts—@umpire43 registered for a tweet deletion service and cleared out their account on Monday.

We’re talking tweets going back years:

What is Doug Lewis #MAGA trying to hide? Obviously, more clues that he is a fake.

Especially if you’re going to set yourself up as some kind of arbiter over what is good journalism or not, if you’re denouncing first-person corroborated accounts as “hearsay” while repeating crap like this, you are the problem. If you get your “news” from sites like Gateway Pundit or Conservative Treehouse or other fever swamps, you are the problem. If you’re screaming #FAKENEWS while retweeting Doug Lewis #MAGA, you are the problem.

This concludes today’s public service announcement.

UPDATE: Wow. The Daily Beast just rakes Doug Lewis #MAGA and Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit over the coals. Read it all. It’s a thing of beauty.

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


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