Patterico's Pontifications

4/16/2018

Lanny Davis’s Bogus Attack on James Comey

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

I’ll put my cards on the table: I don’t hate James Comey the way the rest of the world — right and left — appears to. I thought he came across in George Snuffleupagus’s* interview as reasonable, self-reflective, and honest.

In the last 24-48 hours, Comey has been attacked by people on both sides of the aisle. I have even seen conservatives holding up Loretta Lynch (!) as an example of integrity, and seemingly taking sides with her over Comey regarding the nature of their personal conversations and their respective handling of the Hillary Clinton matter. Why anyone would side with Lynch over Comey is a mystery to me, other than that Comey is the designated Trump punching bag of the moment.

There’s one attack that I read that intrigued me — and having investigated it, I have found it to be bogus. I figured I’d share those findings with you.

The attack comes from Lanny Davis, in a piece titled Admit it, James Comey: You’ve been lying all along. Davis complains (as most Clintonites do) that Comey messed up by sending Congress a letter just 11 days before the 2016 election, informing Congress that the Hillary Clinton email investigation had been reopened because of emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Davis says that Comey’s stated reason for sending this letter is false:

Comey has repeatedly claimed that he was “obligated” to write his speculative letter because of a promise he had made to Congress to do so if “anything new” came up after his July 5, 2016, press conference announcing a new prosecutable case could be brought against Clinton.

However, I established beyond any doubt in my book published in February 2018, “The Unmaking of the Presidency 2016,” that Comey’s claim was — and remains — false.

In fact, Comey only promised Congress in September 2016 that if anything new came up on the emails issue that might cause the FBI to reconsider its non-prosecution decision, he would “take a look” — not that he would make a public disclosure to Congress before doing so.

Davis actually goes so far as to claim that it is a “lie” for Comey to claim that he had promised to inform Congress:

When I wrote my book, I avoided using the word “lie” about Comey falsely using the word “obligation” to Congress, given my extreme reluctance to ever use the “lie” word unless I am certain there is a knowing, willful, intentional misstatement of the truth.

Well, James Comey has had plenty of time to go back to check his testimony before Congress to see what he actually said as he begins his book tour and, among other things, tries to justify his October 28 letter.

Yet, in the already released excerpts of the TV interview with George Stephanopoulos Sunday night, Comey intends to repeat the same knowing falsehood that he was “obligated” to send his letter to Congress because he promised to do so.

There is some sleight of hand here. Davis makes it sound like the issue is whether Comey really promised to inform Congress, or whether the promise was merely to “look at” any new evidence that might come up. And if you look at the September 2016 testimony that Davis cites, the answer to that question is, as Davis claims, that Comey merely promised to “look at” the information:

Mr. SMITH: My first question is this: Would you reopen the Clinton investigation if you discovered new information that was both relevant and substantial?

Mr. COMEY: It is hard for me to answer in the abstract. We would certainly look at any new and substantial information.

So Comey is lying, right?

No. Here’s where the sleight of hand comes in. Because Davis is not telling the truth about what Comey’s stated justification was. I can find no evidence that Davis’s claim — that Comey justified having sent the letter to Congress because of a “promise” he had made to Congress to inform them — is true.

Instead, the justification Comey offered was that he had a choice: between revealing the reopening of the investigation, and concealing it. And he worried that concealing it would damage the FBI as an institution. This is what he has consistently said, in multiple places.

Let’s start with the interview with Snuffleupagus, parts of which were broadcast last night. I’m going to include a very, very long passage, so that nobody can accuse me of leaving anything out. Here is the passage from the transcript of the full unedited interview with Stephanopoulos in which Comey addresses the same issue. Comey explains the decision as a dilemma between speaking (telling Congress about the reopening of the investigation) and concealing (saying nothing). See if you can find the part where Comey says he sent the letter because he had “promised” to update Congress. Hint: it’s not there:

And then the question for me now is, “So what do we do now?” Remember the– the standard is, the norm is, “If you can avoid it, you take no action that might have an impact on an election.” And I’m sitting there, on the morning of October 27th, and I can’t see a door that’s labeled, “No action here.” I can only see two doors, and they’re both actions. One says, “Speak,” the other says, “Conceal”–

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no. You– you c– you could you f– try to find out first whether or not they were indeed relevant. Whether they– there was evidence there of a crime.

JAMES COMEY: Well, maybe. And maybe another director might have done that. My view is that would be a potentially deeply irresponsible and dangerous thing to do, to gamble– remember, the team is telling you, “We cannot evaluate this material before the election.”

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But we don’t know what’s in it?

JAMES COMEY: Well, we know there are hundreds of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails there, including Blackberry emails. And so there is reason to believe that this is evidence in our case, and may change the result. And so maybe what you do is gamble and say, “I’ll be quiet about it,” but that comes back to my doors.

That’s an affirmative act of concealment, right? Because I’ve told Congress and the American people– the whole point of July 5th was transparency. “Look, American people, what we’ve done. We did it carefully, we did it well. There’s no there there.

You can take that to the bank. You can rely on the FBI. We’re done. Everybody can get on with their lives.” It’s October 27th, that’s not true anymore, in potentially a huge way. So you could speak about it, or you could not speak about it. But the not speaking about it is an action.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Senior Justice officials weren’t convinced that you actually had an obligation to tell Congress that at that time. What was their argument, what was your response?

JAMES COMEY: Their argument was that it was not consistent with our policy, and that we don’t normally comment on investigations, all of which I agree with. And that they would advise against it. Actually never spoke to me about it personally. I had my chief of staff call over to the leadership’s chief of s– staffs of th– the attorney general and the deputy and say, “The director thinks that is between speaking and concealing.

Speaking is really bad; concealing is catastrophic. If you conceal the fact that you have restarted the Hillary Clinton email investigation, not in some silly way but in a very, very important way that may lead to a different conclusion, what will happen to the institutions of justice when that comes out?

Especially, given the world we’re operating in, when Hillary Clinton’s elected president? She’ll be an illegitimate president, but these organizations will never recover from that. You hid from the American people something you knew gave the lie to what you told them in Congress repeatedly. And so the director thinks that we have to speak. And he would be happy to talk to you about it. Let him know.”

There is a lot more, as Comey and Snuffleupagus discuss the issue for a long, long, long time. If you want to keep reading, I have put the rest of this part of the interview on a page here. There is nothing in it about a “promise” to update Congress, as Davis claims. That was not the issue. The issue, in Comey’s mind, was to speak or to conceal.

This is consistent with other times when Comey has discussed the issue. Take his testimony from May 2017:

I faced a choice. And I’ve lived my entire career by the tradition that if you can possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact. Whether it’s a dogcatcher election or president of the United States, but I sat there that morning and I could not see a door labeled no action here.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad. I’ve got to tell Congress that we’re restarting this, not in some frivolous way, in a hugely significant way.

And the team also told me, we cannot finish this work before the election. And then they worked night after night after night, and they found thousands of new emails, they found classified information on Anthony Weiner. Somehow, her emails are being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information, by her assistant, Huma Abedin. And so they found thousands of new emails and then called me the Saturday night before the election and said thanks to the wizardry of our technology, we’ve only had to personally read 6,000. We think we can finish tomorrow morning, Sunday.

And so I met with them and they said we found a lot of new stuff. We did not find anything that changes our view of her intent. So we’re in the same place we were in July. It hasn’t changed our view and I asked them lots of questions and I said okay, if that’s where you are, then I also have to tell Congress that we’re done. Look, this is terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election. But honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.

Everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to October 28 with me and stare at this and tell me what you would do. Would you speak or would you conceal? And I could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices that even in hindsight — and this has been one of the world’s most painful experiences — I would make the same decision.

I would not conceal that, on October 28, from the Congress.

Finally, Comey wrote a letter to his troops, explaining the decision. Here is the relevant paragraph, explaining why he wrote the letter to Congress:

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.

Again, there is nothing there about a promise to Congress. Comey is just saying that, having testified about it to Congress, he believed it would be misleading if the investigation were reopened and he said nothing.

I won’t call Lanny Davis a liar. But from all available evidence, the claim he makes about Comey’s proffered justification is false.

You’ll have to find other reasons to criticize Comey. This dog won’t hunt.

_______________________________________________

*That’s what I’ve always called him.

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

148 Responses to “Lanny Davis’s Bogus Attack on James Comey”

  1. Comey is a liar. He is a lawyer.

    mg (9e54f8)

  2. Comey: I was sure Clinton would win election when I reopened email inquiry

    this is what people need to understand about pussyhat Jim and his reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation

    he thought he was doing the pig a favor all up in it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. Lanny Davis vs. James Comey — hmmm, who to believe? It’s a question I’ve never asked myself.

    random viking (7de8a8)

  4. Okay. I haven’t liked Comey since the Bush days. I think he is sanctimonious and insufferable. I don’t think he is untrustworthy because he is a liar, I think he is untrustworthy because he believes himself to be a saint.

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  5. I don’t believe Comey. I agree with those who agree with me that he would not have been able to conceal the new email scandal. Not everybody in the FBI is a McCabe, a Strzok or a Page. The information would have come out. Leaked out. From FBI agents who were already angry and demoralized from the pass he had given Hillary in July. He got in front of it to cover himself.

    I can believe that he thought it would be no harm no foul because Hillary had it in the bag. I thought Hillary would win too. But that’s about the extent of his candor in my opinion.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. James Comey is a self-aggrandizing weasel. Unfit for the office he was appointed to.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. DAMN ! – Wish I had gotten to Vegas to place my bet… 100 – 1 odds that the Deputy D.A. was going to love-absolutely LOVE -the federal bureaucrat who tried to stage a coup d’etat against the democratically elected President of the United States. Ah well – will be able to recoup some of that with my bet that Patterico contributes to the McCabe defense fund.

    Bill Saracino (78f41f)

  8. And I don’t hate Comey, either. But I would not want him as the police chief in my village. The village attorney prosecuting jaywalkers and settling slip and fall on city sidewalks, maybe.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. slip and fall *cases*

    nk (dbc370)

  10. I agree with Patrick.

    Comey was confronted by difficult choices and consistently tried to do the right thing for the institutions of justice. That also comes out clearly in the recently released OIG report on McCabe.

    Unfortunately for him, since he refused to simply protect the interests of one side or the other, in the present toxic political atmosphere, he wound up reviled as a traitor with both tribes calling for his blood.

    Dave (445e97)

  11. If only there were an inclusive term, so that a person wouldn’t be forced into an either or situation when navigating the gray scale between conspirators, scoundrels and reprobates.

    Damn English language is so restricting.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  12. I agree that it is more of a badge of honor than it is a disgrace to be hated by both Hillary supporters and Trump supporters. Still ….

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Speaking of making money off politics, Bill, isn’t your background in professional politics? If so, are you working for Trump?

    DRJ (15874d)

  14. Comey McCabe and Lynch = Dewey Cheetum and Howe.

    Oh. I found the healing word.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  15. 6.James Comey is a self-aggrandizing weasel. Unfit for the office he was appointed to.

    =Haiku= Gesundheit!

    Petty. Peevish. Pompous. Prudish… Comey, that is.

    Sad. W/every interview, he reaffirms why it appears right to have fired the self-righteous prig, regardless of how or why our Captain got to it.

    Less Joe Friday; more Frank Drebin.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. Comey mentioning that Clinton being ahead in the polls was a big part of his decision, such that he wanted her to be a legitimate president. By his own statements his law enforcement decisions were based on public opinion polls. There’s the supposed One True And Honest Man with his finger in the wind, checking how this works for him. The mind boggles that it played ANY role.Comey amkes “house of Cards” look to timid. Hate Trump all you want(and after the Syria bombing I’m close). But Comey is a yellow cur, a cowardly lion, a common whore. Trump’s only mistake was not firing him 1/20/17.

    Bugg (b7f13d)

  17. Brian Fallon
    @brianefallon
    Comey to ABC: “If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we’re done.”

    Also Comey to ABC: “All of us were operating in a world where the polls were showing that Donald Trump had no chance”
    — –

    Extra props to ABC designating Bubba’s press secretary to conduct an interview concerning an investigation of Hillary.

    harkin (379712)

  18. @10. Every time Comey opens his mouth he relinquishes more and more of the high ground. He’s pissed and that’s understandable. But he’s never going to trump Trump at his own game. Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted and Low-energy Jeb learned that the hard way.

    He’s a book peddler now. And the nation doesn’t need sermons on his concept of ‘values'; a fella who by his own admission balked at opportunities to reaffirm them and politicized a position he wasn’t supposed to when it mattered most. His self-confessed dread of the ‘next four years’ should have signaled a motivate to head for the exit door on his own power. Instead, regardless of how the decision was reached, he was jettisoned. He’s a disappointment. Sad.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. here’s Mr. David Harsanyi’s take on this

    But, the fact is, by October 28, Comey had no choice but to inform Congress that there was new evidence. It was neither an act of bravery nor partisanship. Comey had already promised congressional investigators, under oath, that he would let them know if new evidence emerged. And that’s what he did.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  20. FBI Director James Comey had already confirmed his repudiation of the rule of law when he brazenly announced on nationwide TV there would be no indictment of Hillary Clinton in emailgate.

    Comey shocked the nation with a schizophrenic bombshell decision not to prosecute, delivered cold turkey and straight-faced, after painstakingly listing the numerous email related felony offenses for which Hillary and her co-conspirators were obviously in flagrant violation.

    Comey’s decision conclusively demonstrated that political prominence, wealth, social status, and the all but certainly of the Oval Office had trumped the FBI’s responsibility to protect and enforce the bedrock equal justice for all principle upon which the republic depends.

    There is much to criticize Comey for doing, but failing to do his job when America’s single most essential principle was weighed in the balance is unforgivable.

    PS: Given Comey was dealing with the Clinton crime family his failure to indict may be somewhat understandable on the human level, he has a wife and 3 daughters.

    ropelight (47c179)

  21. Comey was confronted by difficult choices and consistently tried to do the right thing for the institutions of justice. Dave (445e97) — 4/16/2018 @ 9:51 am

    Really? Comey did whatever he felt would make Comey look better, greater, more saintly. Hillary broke laws, but he decided to soften her investigation because he didn’t like Trump, then decided to send his letter to congress because he was sure she would win anyway and he didn’t want her to have any taint as president.

    Was any of that his actual job? Or was he taking on moral responsibility for things that were not his to decide? As the public, we never agreed to give Comey the power he took.

    Comey is like the doctor wandering the burn ward and deciding some patients should be saved, and other not, because of the benefit to society he decides each one will someday contribute. That is deeply immoral, self aggrandizing, and more than a little terrifying.

    How dare Comey decide, for us, that Hillary was preferable to Trump. It doesn’t matter if he was right or wrong in the decision, or even if I agreed with him or not. Making that decision is morally wrong.

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  22. how can any president trust the pussyhat FBI ever again after this unprofessional comey spectacle

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  23. I thought he came across in George Snuffleupagus’s* interview as reasonable, self-reflective, and honest.

    How so? he was saying yes to every question (unlike Stormy Daniels in hhjer 60 Minutes interview>

    Yes, the prostitutes and the bed story might be true. (even though, in his book, he;d written that he’d wondered how Trump could say theer wasa 1% chance his wife might believe it.)

    Yes, Trump was unfit.

    And on the Clinton investigation, he kind of ignores the fact that going public with a non-prosecution recommendation was a very pro-Clinton action. He lifted a shadow over her. That was very important to the Clinton campaign.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  24. But you’re right. What Lanny Davis claims is a lie, isn’t.

    The Clinton people don’t want people to see that.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  25. Patterico, I agree with you entirely on the limited question of whether Lanny Davis is more wrong than right in his description of what Comey has claimed to be his justification for the October announcement. I even agree with Comey that, given what he’d already done in August, the October announcement was proper in some form.

    In fact, regardless of what he was told by way of predictions, the FBI was indeed able to examine all of the emails on the Weiner laptop before the election, and they duly announced that they’d done that and found only duplicates of what they’d already seen elsewhere. So he’s subject to being faulted for having people whose estimates were wrong (although they were probably conservative and not “best-case” estimates).

    I also agree that Comey was caught in a terrible dilemma in October.

    But this is far too narrow and unrealistic a focus to use in trying to evaluate Jim Comey overall, or even as FBI Director in 2016. He faced that dilemma only because he was complicit, if nothing else than by silence, in the whitewash that Lynch accomplished by putting the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton in the EDNY, where everyone including the new U.S. Attorney had been hired by Lynch and was a good Clintonista, where the U.S. Attorney’s office handed out immunity deals like movie theater candy, declined to use tools like search warrants or even grand jury subpoenas, and did such a spectacularly un-thorough job of examining Huma’s outgoing emails that they never realized she he sent to Weiner’s email address and, therefore, his laptop, all of those classified documents she wanted to print out at home. He faced that dilemma only because he’d made the unprincipled, entirely unjustifiable decision to play along with Lynch’s non-recusal recusal, with calling it a “matter” rather than an investigation, and with holding a national press conference to reveal, from within the FBI, a non-prosecution decision that belonged exclusively to the DoJ, not him.

    The dilemma he offers as his excuse for October was primarily of his own making, and thus no excuse.

    Comey was already a thorough-going weasel, a traitor to his oath of office, and someone unfit to continue holding a law license long before he gave his July 2016 press conference whitewashing Hillary. And the substance of that press conference was so laughably dishonest — yes, he lied to the American public both about the state of the evidence and the state of the law, while letting a felon go free and, indeed, fully vindicated into a national election — that, frankly, any further consideration of Comey’s truthfulness, integrity, and judgment is superfluous.

    And then in 2017 he deliberately violated fiduciary duties by leaking confidential FBI memoranda and disclosing privileged conversations with his principal without the consent of the principal, and he did it for entirely selfish reasons — to vent his pique at Trump (understandable but still contrary to his duty) and to cover his own ass.

    I despise the man every bit as much as I do Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, or Donald J. Trump. They all believe they’re above the law and — hey Cassandra, I’m agreeing with you here! — he believes himself to be a saint who’s entitled to flout both his duty and the law in pursuit of what his damned book now calls a “higher duty.” Brother, there is no higher duty than to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that’s the opposite of what he did, both in 2016 and in 2017.

    I’d spit in his face if I ever got in range. I’ve seriously thought springing for the airfare to Williamsburg so I could dress up in a weasel suit and picket his upcoming series of lectures on legal ethics (!) at his alma mater, William and Mary.

    I completely understand the narrow focus of your post here, and I’m not faulting you for not writing about all the criticisms I’ve just voiced in this comment. But I really don’t understand why you don’t “hate James Comey the way the rest of the world — right and left — appears to.” He was elevated to one of the highest positions of trust in American government, and then he sh@t all over it, repeatedly.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  26. Sorry, his bs book is called “A Higher Loyalty,” not (as I was misremembering in #26) “A Higher Duty,” but it’s the same thing.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  27. i thought it was “higher truth” the other day

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  28. 23.how can any president trust the pussyhat FBI ever again after this unprofessional comey spectacle

    He could have at least worn a tie for the TeeVee, Mr. Feet; Hoover was a dress for success man.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  29. Stephen Brown
    ‏Verified account @PPVSRB
    5m5 minutes ago

    Wow. Wood: “I rule it must be disclosed now.”

    so the the name of Mr. Cohen’s third client has to be released

    that seems just ungodly wrong, if not actively evil

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  30. it’s Sean Hannity?

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  31. Stephen Brown
    ‏Verified account @PPVSRB
    50s50 seconds ago

    Wood: I understand he doesn’t want his name out there but that’s not enough, under the law.
    Ryan: the client is Sean Hannity.

    he has a show on tv i see it sometimes when i stay in hotels

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  32. oops the

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  33. Ahahah, Sean Hannity. I’m dying.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  34. A Higher DooDee…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. Newest substantive filings in Cohen’s lawsuit before Judge Kimba Wood in which Trump has intervened, from this morning (I haven’t read them yet):

    (1) Nine-page letter-brief (corrected version) filed by Cohen’s lawyer to address Judge Wood’s questions from Friday’s hearing;

    (2) Five-page letter-brief filed by the SDNY in response to the POTUS’ letter-brief from last night; and

    (3) Updated docket sheet, which reveals that Cohen’s out-of-state lawyer and his staff couldn’t manage to read the pro hac vice admission requirements for the SDNY before asking leave of court to appear in the Southern District of New York. This is embarrassing but not substantive — he’ll be allowed to fix it, and Judge Wood won’t refuse to listen to him this afternoon just because he screwed up his paperwork.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  36. “COMEY COMEY COMEY COMEY COMEY CHAMELEON”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. Breaking- Michael Cohen’s third ‘unnamed’ client revealed in NY court: Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

    Boom.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  38. @34. More popcorn, please.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. @31. Yes, it’s Mister six-pack-and-a-potatohead.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. Beldar – we can all come together in our mutual and well deserved disdain for James Comey. And you are exactly right, his ethical dilemmas were entirely of his own making. I agree with every word of your post.

    Imagine a different scenario, where James Comey actually was the person he believes he is. He could have insisted on Lynch’s recusal. Hillary’s aides would have been pressured to admit guilt. It would have been ugly, and might have impacted the election, but there would have at least been an appearance of justice and fairness. It also would have meant the dangerous practice of e-mailing around classified materials would have stopped. In attempting to wiggle out of ANY responsibility for obviously illegal behavior, Obama and Clinton befouled everything.

    Comey richly deserved the boot. Heck, he deserved it back in the Bush administration. For those of you who don’t know, Comey has been leaking fanciful tales of his own moral heroics to eager newspapers since at least 2004.

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  41. From Cohen’s lawyer’s letter:

    From approximately 2007 to January 2017, Mr. Cohen worked at the Trump Organization in the role of Executive Vice President and Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump. In that capacity, Mr. Cohen served as legal counsel to the Trump Organization, Donald J. Trump. Mr. Cohen worked predominantly on real estate, contract, and litigation matters for the Trump Organization.

    In the period of 2017 to 2018, Mr. Cohen maintained a solo law practice. There were at least ten clients during this period. Mr. Cohen’s role varied for these clients. For seven clients the work appears to be providing strategic advice and business consulting, for which privilege would not attach. In any event, none of these seven client files are likely to have any responsive information on the issues sought in Attachment A of the search warrant. If necessary, we would be willing to provide the names of the business clients if a Special Master is appointed so the Special Master can determine responsiveness.

    For at least three other clients that we have identified in the period of 2017 to 2018, the work was more direct legal advice or dispute resolution–more traditional legal tasks. All of these clients are individuals. One of these legal clients is Donald J. Trump. Another legal client is Elliot Broidy. The third legal client directed Mr. Cohen to not to reveal the identity publicly. Upon information and belief, the unnamed legal client’s matters are not responsive to any matter covered by Attachment A of the search warrants.

    I pause to take a short victory dance over my prediction last night that Cohen’s other clients would object to being identified with his name. Press accounts are suggesting that in court this afternoon, Judge Wood has already rejected Cohen’s attempt to shield this client’s name, and been forced to reveal that it’s Sean Hannity.

    What did Sean do that needed a slimeball fixer like Cohen to tidy up? This makes me laugh and laugh and laugh to contemplate.

    Overall, the letter confirms that the SDNY was right when they characterized Cohen’s law practice as extremely limited, with Trump as very nearly his exclusive client. But this might be enough to keep Cohen out of contempt of court, for today anyway.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  42. @30. so the the name of Mr. Cohen’s third client has to be released

    So what did The Fixer fix for Fox’s boyo, Mr. Feet? Baby wants to know.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. I’m hearing helped Mr. Hannity set up an etsy store

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. *he* helped i mean

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  45. That “upon information and belief” phrase in Cohen’s lawyer’s letter is from a lawyer who’s already been scalded by purporting to swear under oath to facts that he couldn’t possibly have personal knowledge of.

    But his client, Cohen, should damn well know whether his client, Hannity, was being represented on legal matters within the scope of the search warrants. I can’t believe Cohen has to get his file back to know the answer to that. So they’re still obviously “playing cute,” too cute by half (as we say, whatever that means) — which is probably why Judge Wood ordered them to reveal the mystery client’s name today from the bench.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  46. Beldar

    Sean Hannity has been confirmed by Fox News as one of Cohens clients

    EPWJ (134698)

  47. what kind of sleazy poop-judge would divulge someone’s name cause of his attorney made a misstep?

    Kimba Wood that’s her name

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. 26. Beldar (fa637a) — 4/16/2018 @ 11:33 am

    In fact, regardless of what he was told by way of predictions, the FBI was indeed able to examine all of the emails on the Weiner laptop before the election,

    They rushed it, and they did all by machine. so if there was something else criminal that might turn up., nobody would see it, which is not the way searches are usually handled..

    and they duly announced that they’d done that and found only duplicates of what they’d already seen elsewhere.

    Theyd idn’t say that, but they said nothing that would fall into a different category

    You might remember Comey testified that he thought the emails on that computer had been sent to Huma Abedin to print, and then he had to retract, and then Trump announced Comey was fired and at first they thought he was fired over that. (or that Trump had used that as his excuse)

    https://www.propublica.org/article/comeys-testimony-on-huma-abedin-forwarding-emails-was-inaccurate

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/05/09/report-fbi-director-james-comeys-testimony-clinton-aide-inaccurate/101464290/

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/10/james-comey-fired-timeline/

    May 9, 2017: Comey sends Congress a letter correcting his prior sworn testimony regarding emails handled by longtime Clinton associate Huma Abedin. Comey had told Congress that Abedin had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, including some with classified information. The two-page, follow-up letter said that, in fact, only “a small number” of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices.

    May 9, 2017: Trump abruptly fires Comey. “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Trump states in a letter addressed to Comey.

    So he’s subject to being faulted for having people whose estimates were wrong (although they were probably conservative and not “best-case” estimates).

    I also agree that Comey was caught in a terrible dilemma in October.

    But this is far too narrow and unrealistic a focus to use in trying to evaluate Jim Comey overall, or even as FBI Director in 2016. He faced that dilemma only because he was complicit, if nothing else than by silence, in the whitewash that Lynch accomplished by putting the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton in the EDNY, where everyone including the new U.S. Attorney had been hired by Lynch and was a good Clintonista, where the U.S. Attorney’s office handed out immunity deals like movie theater candy, declined to use tools like search warrants or even grand jury subpoenas, and did such a spectacularly un-thorough job of examining Huma’s outgoing emails that they never realized she he sent to Weiner’s email address and, therefore, his laptop, all of those classified documents she wanted to print out at home. He faced that dilemma only because he’d made the unprincipled, entirely unjustifiable decision to play along with Lynch’s non-recusal recusal, with calling it a “matter” rather than an investigation, and with holding a national press conference to reveal, from within the FBI, a non-prosecution decision that belonged exclusively to the DoJ, not him.

    The dilemma he offers as his excuse for October was primarily of his own making, and thus no excuse.

    Comey was already a thorough-going weasel, a traitor to his oath of office, and someone unfit to continue holding a law license long before he gave his July 2016 press conference whitewashing Hillary. And the substance of that press conference was so laughably dishonest — yes, he lied to the American public both about the state of the evidence and the state of the law, while letting a felon go free and, indeed, fully vindicated into a national election — that, frankly, any further consideration of Comey’s truthfulness, integrity, and judgment is superfluous.

    And then in 2017 he deliberately violated fiduciary duties by leaking confidential FBI memoranda and disclosing privileged conversations with his principal without the consent of the principal, and he did it for entirely selfish reasons — to vent his pique at Trump (understandable but still contrary to his duty) and to cover his own ass.

    I despise the man every bit as much as I do Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, or Donald J. Trump. They all believe they’re above the law and — hey Cassandra, I’m agreeing with you here! — he believes himself to be a saint who’s entitled to flout both his duty and the law in pursuit of what his damned book now calls a “higher duty.” Brother, there is no higher duty than to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that’s the opposite of what he did, both in 2016 and in 2017.

    I’d spit in his face if I ever got in range. I’ve seriously thought springing for the airfare to Williamsburg so I could dress up in a weasel suit and picket his upcoming series of lectures on legal ethics (!) at his alma mater, William and Mary.

    I completely understand the narrow focus of your post here, and I’m not faulting you for not writing about all the criticisms I’ve just voiced in this comment. But I really don’t understand why you don’t “hate James Comey the way the rest of the world — right and left — appears to.” He was elevated to one of the highest positions of trust in American government, and then he sh@t all over it, repeatedly.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  49. Comey Chameleon

    Lies are read in eyes all the way
    If we listen to your lies, would you say
    “I’m a man fit for conviction”
    “I’m a man who doesn’t know”
    How to lie without restriction?
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow

    Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey chameleon
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow
    Lying is so easy and your racket is easily seen
    Suck blow and preen, suck blow and preen

    Teh peeps been hearin’ your wicked words every day
    And you’ll never tell the truth we heard you say
    Clinton’s crimes were all a fiction
    Server wiped with a cloth
    She would win, was your prediction
    Flame burns teh moth, flame burns teh moth

    Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey chameleon
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow
    Lying is so easy and your racket is easily seen
    Suck blow and preen, suck blow and preen

    Every day is like teh last one
    You’re a gimp, not fit for office
    Every day is like teh last one
    You’re a gimp, not fit for office
    “I’m a man fit for conviction”
    “I’m a man who doesn’t know”
    How to lie without restriction?
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow

    Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey chameleon
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow
    Lying is so easy and your racket is easily seen
    Suck blow and preen, suck blow and preen

    Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey chameleon
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow
    Lying is so easy and your racket is easily seen
    Suck blow and preen, suck blow and preen

    Comey Comey Comey Comey Comey chameleon
    You suck and blow, you suck and blow
    Lying is so easy and your racket is easily seen
    Suck blow and preen, suck blow and preen

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  50. Judge Wood, to Cohen’s attorneys: “It’s not that you’re not good people. It’s that you’ve miscited the law, at times.”

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  51. Beldar – Magnificent takedown of Comey. And yes, Pat is correct in his limited defense of Comey.

    I do still insist there may very well be genuine constitutional concerns with the manner in which the SDNY, with magisterial imprimatur, seized and wishes to disseminate presidential communication. I most certainly do not trust the “taint team” nor its processes. Cohen is a bad actor. But, at what cost do we pursue him?

    Cheers.

    Ed from SFV (4f3559)

  52. The “Stewart” case that both sides are quoting here is actually about Lynn Stewart, the criminal defense lawyer who specializes in representing terrorists and who was herself convicted for crimes committed while so doing, not Martha (although she’s also made some privilege law).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  53. lynn stewart is dead like michael jackson and kurt cobain career but not barbara bush

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  54. oops career

    sorry so many sloppy I am too many multitask

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  55. Longer ASPCA: Boom shakalockalocka boom shakalockalocka

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. So he’s subject to being faulted for having people whose estimates were wrong (although they were probably conservative and not “best-case” estimates).

    Tghey weren’t wrong. They changed the normal way of examining things.

    I also agree that Comey was caught in a terrible dilemma in October.

    But this is far too narrow and unrealistic a focus to use in trying to evaluate Jim Comey overall, or even as FBI Director in 2016. He faced that dilemma only because he was complicit, if nothing else than by silence, in the whitewash that Lynch accomplished by putting the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton in the EDNY,

    That would have bene the investigation into the Clinton Foundation, not the question of whether any of the non-deleted emails were classified.

    This was the issue over which McCabe lied. The claim was that investigation was interfered with. McCabe told the Wall Street Journal he had resisted it. Whether that leak actually reflected his true position is anotehr story.

    Then he got caught up in whether or not that was an authorized leak.

    where everyone including the new U.S. Attorney had been hired by Lynch and was a good Clintonista, where the U.S. Attorney’s office handed out immunity deals like movie theater candy, declined to use tools like search warrants or even grand jury subpoenas, and did such a spectacularly un-thorough job of examining Huma’s outgoing emails that they never realized she he sent to Weiner’s email address and, therefore, his laptop, all of those classified documents she wanted to print out at home.

    Two points. I think it was DOJ in Washington who made all the decisions in the Clinton email investigation and Huma Abedin didn’t really forward emails to that laptop to print.

    They were probably there as a backup that would never be examined, except that it was because of Weiner’s contacts with teenage girls which were done using that laptop.

    He faced that dilemma only because he’d made the unprincipled, entirely unjustifiable decision to play along with Lynch’s non-recusal recusal, with calling it a “matter” rather than an investigation, and with holding a national press conference to reveal, from within the FBI, a non-prosecution decision that belonged exclusively to the DoJ, not him.

    And he hasn’t explained any of that.

    This is some of what he tried in that George Stephanoupolous interview:

    But after nine or ten months of investigating, it looked like on the current course and speed, this is going to end without charges. And so what will we do? Smart people, competent people plan ahead. If you’re going to charge, you plan ahead. If you’re not going to charge, you plan ahead. And the hard part about this investigation was going to be not charging because the Obama Justice Department could bring charges against Hillary Clinton without claim of bias, political bias, because they’re Democrats.

    What would be hard for the Obama Justice Department for a bunch of reasons is not to bring charges about Hillary Clinton. That will be hard to do without jeopardizing the reputation of the institutions of justice. So it required thought to think about, “So how will we end this in a way that maximizes confidence that we did it in the right way, that the system was not rigged?” So that’s what I’m doing in the beginning of May, is trying to think through, “So how will this end if it continues on this course that it’s on now?”

    And he talks like it is normally the decision of the FBI not to charge anyone. He also says it was all his own decision, which I doubt. Doesn’t even mention that Loretta Lynch said publicly that she would follow what the FBI said.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  57. re. 36. Is this the same Kimba Wood who might have been the Attorney General in the Slick Willy administration except that she used illegal aliens in her household staff? Either just before the Kimba Wood I am thinking of, or just after, another potential AG fell for the same reason and “Sterno” Reno got the call from the bullpen.

    If this is the same one, how can anyone believe that her decisions will be unbiased when she is dealing with things related to Mrs. Slick Willy? Or was this resolved elsewhere and I missed it?

    How the hell would anyone be able to write fiction these days with actual events being what they are?

    Gramps (85597f)

  58. “… I think it’s pretty funny.” – Sean Hannity.

    I think it’s cool: a vintage B-17 bomber just flew over.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  59. Having now read it, too, I can confirm that the USAO-SDNY’s letter-brief from this morning makes basically the same points I made yesterday in comments here, among them that the procedures already in place would prevent the scenario Trump’s lawyer claims to be trying to avoid (losing her opportunity to make and get a ruling on a privilege objection). The one thing it points out that I hadn’t, I think, is that the POTUS’ lawyer’s letter-brief didn’t ask for a special master to be appointed, whereas Cohen’s lawyers are still asking for that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  60. Gramps (#58), Judge Wood is not dealing with things related to Mrs. Slick Willy. She’s dealing with things relating to Mr. Slick Donald. And although she was a Clinton nominee for AG, which nomination was withdrawn because of bad optics after an already withdrawn nomination of Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan.

    She’s one of the most respected judges in the country now, and I’ve worked with her when she was in private practice. I understand that people are jaded and suspicious these days, but you have no good reason for that with her.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  61. https://twitter.com/yashar/status/985960477304946690?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fslate.com%2Fnews-and-politics%2F2018%2F04%2Fmichael-cohens-secret-third-client-is-sean-hannity-omg.html&tfw_site=slate

    3. A source familiar with the representation tells CNN that what Hannity hired Cohen for did not involve a 3rd party – meaning an NDA involving a woman etc.

    12:17 PM – 16 Apr 2018

    ==============================

    Yashar Ali ‏Verified account @yashar · 7m7 minutes ago

    Sean Hannity says he’s going to address the Cohen situation shortly on his radio program.

    =================================================

    9. Hannity: “Michael never represented me in any matter, I never retained him, I never paid legal fees to Michael..but I have occasionally had brief legal discussions with him where I wanted his input and perspective.”

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  62. Beldar,

    Seriously, lawyer hat, how do you think Judge Woods is going to rule?

    EPWJ (134698)

  63. 58. Gramps (85597f) — 4/16/2018 @ 12:41 pm

    Is this the same Kimba Wood who might have been the Attorney General in the Slick Willy administration except that she used illegal aliens in her household staff? Either just before the Kimba Wood I am thinking of, or just after, another potential AG fell for the same reason and “Sterno” Reno got the call from the bullpen.

    Zoe Baird, Just before, but I think Bill Clinton never intended to nominate her. he always wanted Janet Reno and he concocted all of this in order to ease Janet Reno’s confirmation and make her look random.

    There is a book Blue Thunder: How the Mafia Owned and Finally Murdered Cigarette Boat King Don Aronow_ by Thomas Burdick and Charlene Mitchell (Simon and Shuster, 1990) Note it was Copyrighted in 1990 – before most people ever even heard of Bill Clinton.

    One thing it does tell you about is Janet Reno’s background.

    On pages 93-94, you can read about Richard Gerstein, who first hired Janet Reno to work for the government in the early 1970’s (as his personal aide – that he hired her is on page 366)

    He was photographed taking money from his top aide David Goodhart (who had evidently gotten it from Hymie Lazar, a man close to Meyer Lansky. Goodhart had been seen by a TV reporter meeting with Lazar.)

    You can find more on Gerstein on page 312.

    On page 366, you can read about Janet Reno’s background.

    Janet Reno is a protege of Richard Gerstein. She got her start in government in the early 1970s when she accepted a position as personal aide to Gerstein, then state attorney. She took the post despite the fact that her late father, Herald police reporter Henry O. Reno, had made allegations that Gerstein was on the take. Years later when Gerstein stepped down as state attorney, Janet Reno became his successor.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  64. I’m once again struck by how the SDNY’s briefing impliedly indicts the EDNY’s treatment of Clinton on the email investigation:

    The President cites the “appearance of fairness and justice” in support of his request for a privilege review procedure that is unheard of in this District. If anything, given the “attention trained on this investigation” ([Trump’s lawyer’s] Letter at 5), the appearance of fairness and justice requires not that the President be entitled to different treatment, but that the common procedure of a Filter Team be followed in the normal course.

    Yes, exactly! When you’re dealing with an investigation that is important to the entire country because it implicates people at or near the top of our government, that’s exactly the time to go absolutely, positively, strictly by the book, rather than making up ad hoc procedures and engaging in public kabuki shows the way that Loretta Lynch, her minions in EDNY, and their subordinate James Comey did with the Clinton investigation.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  65. @59. Postscript- it’s getting cooler; a B-24 just buzzed by.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. DCSCA

    Post a pic if a B36 flies over

    EPWJ (134698)

  67. I have never believed Cohen’s suggestions that he funded the bimbo payoffs from his own funds with no agreement or expectation to be repaid, directly or indirectly, by Trump.

    After seeing how short his client list is, I now triply disbelieve that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  68. More on Hannity, from NRO’s Jack Crowe, here:

    “I’ve known Michael a long, long time. Let me be very clear to the media: Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in the traditional sense. I never received an invoice from Michael, but I have occasionally had legal discussions with him,” he said.

    The conservative firebrand also stipulated that he never consulted Cohen regarding a legal issue involving “any third party,” apparently pushing back on speculation that he employed Cohen to silence allegations of sexual impropriety.

    If Hannity’s considered position is that he had no attorney-client relationship with Cohen, then there can be no attorney-client privilege to protect on any communications between Cohen and Hannity that may be contained in the seized materials.

    Hannity could probably still change his mind about whether that’s the story he wants to stick with — he may not even know what Cohen may have written down in some seized file, based on something embarrassing that Hannity consulted him about — but this is very close to a knowing, public waiver of any conceivable attorney-client privilege, meaning that the only objection Cohen could assert as to those materials would be relevance. If Hannity’s right, though, and whatever he talked about with Cohen is clearly outside the scope of anything sought by the search warrant, then presumably the Filter Team (aka Taint Team) will not forward materials about Hannity to the Investigative Team, much less revealing them to the public at large.

    I’m content to let his adoring, slobbering public wonder just what Hannity needed Trump’s fixer’s consultations about, whether Hannity thought they had an attorney-client relationship or not.

    BTW: Lawyers routinely, and very properly, err on the side of caution regarding the existence of an attorney-client relationship. They teach us (or are supposed to teach us) in law school that what’s important is the client’s expectations, not whether the client has paid a fee or signed a contract with the lawyer, and problem most frequently presents itself when someone who says he thinks he was a client then faults the lawyer for malpractice or otherwise failing to keep the client out of a jam. When the lawyer says, “But I never thought I was in an attorney-client relationship, I didn’t get paid and the client didn’t sign a contract,” courts look at the situation instead from the client’s perspective to see whether a reasonable person might have thought there was an attorney-client relationship and resulting commitment upon which they could rely.

    So I don’t blame Cohen for identifying Hannity as a “client” even though Hannity’s now disclaiming that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  69. Oh Sean, what happens to a worm caught in the bright light under a magnifying glass, boyo?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  70. ^^^ Which is why from its first day through today, my blog has a prominent disclaimer saying, “I’m a lawyer, but not your lawyer, don’t rely on the opinions on this blog as legal advice.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  71. Hannity’s public statement reveals a profound stupidity about what constitutes a lawyer-client relationship, by the way. Lawyers are both counselors and advocates. That the lawyer has never “represented” Hannity as a public advocate — in deal negotiations or courtroom matters, for example — is spectacularly nondispositive on the question of whether an attorney-client relationship, giving rise to privilege, exists. Like virtually all other lawyers, I frequently am asked for, and give, legal advice to clients for the purpose of helping them avoid ever needing to have a public advocate.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  72. If Hannity’s considered position is that he had no attorney-client relationship with Cohen, then there can be no attorney-client privilege to protect on any communications between Cohen and Hannity that may be contained in the seized materials.

    Hannity could probably still change his mind about whether that’s the story he wants to stick with..

    Did NRO include the transcript of what Hannity said? I didn’t see one. Maybe I missed it.

    Hannity, on the radio, made it clear that when he was asking Cohen whatever questions he was asking him he was under the impression that it was in an attorney/client capacity.

    It seems more like NRO needs to change their story to reflect what Hannity actually said.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  73. Mr. Beldar I don’t get how you draw from that statement an inference that the good Mr. Hannity doesn’t think attorney-client privilege pertains to his relationship with Mr. Cohen

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  74. The exclusive of exclusives Hannity had. Did he share it with the most important people he knows (us)? Hardly.

    I look forward to his segment with Napolitano and Dershowitz as to the legal ethics and niceties of his relationship with Cohen. Will I first meet Godot?

    Ed from SFV (4f3559)

  75. zero hedge breaks it down for us

    plus with an update

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  76. Here’s a Hannity tweet, 40 minutes old as of this post:

    https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/985970632201564161

    “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  77. @76. Blarney from Fox’s boyo, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  78. Noel, Attorney at Law here, clocking in. ($800 per hour)

    Did I go to law school and pass the Bar Exam? No. But I have just as many real clients as Michael Cohen and I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So, the facts and issues are on my side.

    noel (b4d580)

  79. BuDuh, I don’t listen to Hannity’s show, and haven’t since, IIRC, 2008. If you’re suggesting that he’s been more equivocal about the existence of an attorney-client relationship on his radio show than in the lines quoted by NRO, I genuinely invite you to provide more detail, perhaps your own transcript or a link to a recording.

    Hannity can’t have it both ways. If he’s a client, then his client confidences, as reflected in Cohen’s records, are at risk, and he has the same right to intervene as Trump. If not, there may be other reasons for Cohen files relating to their conversations to stay private, but they’re not privileged, and Hannity would have no standing to intervene or otherwise object on privilege grounds.

    Hannity needs to consult a different lawyer, and ought to have done so last Monday when he learned of the search warrants, and he should be STFU’ing in public about all this. But he’s exactly like his lord and master, Trump, and can’t control himself when he should be keeping his mouth shut.

    I will enjoy the Lickspittle-in-Chief’s humiliation from this, regardless.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  80. I’m actually kinda curious now, what exactly is required to establish an attorney-client relationship.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  81. To be very clear: If Sean Hannity contends that he had an attorney-client relationship with Cohen, he ought not be arguing that Cohen never “represented him” and stressing that he never paid Cohen. That’s irrelevant. You don’t get to distance yourself while simultaneously cowering under the protection of the attorney-client relationship. Cohen’s lawyers assert that they contacted him and that he refused to give permission for his name to be revealed, so he has no excuse for this ambiguity and waffling. He looks like what he is — a fool.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  82. @ Davethulhu, who asked (#81):

    I’m actually kinda curious now, what exactly is required to establish an attorney-client relationship.

    It’s extremely situation- and fact-specific, but not a very high threshold to cross, which is why most lawyers quite properly worry about being accused of malpractice on the basis of the advice they gave Old Cousin Jake at last year’s family reunion.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  83. Beldat, the audio is included here:
    https://youtu.be/YrkIYSlk8UM

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  84. For want of a street level NYPD chokehold, an indicted Presidential Candidate was lost.

    I didn’t get your Starbucks reference till just now, mr happyfeet. All that free advertising. If you make it through the thin black line it’s all white up in here. Priceless in kind contributions.

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  85. Whatever happened to Heidi Fleiss’ client list? Did that ever get out?

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  86. i used to go to starbuck’s on wabash sometimes but not often

    went to the dunkin across from trump more

    but they just opened a starbucks at my mariano’s

    it’s desperately almost in-your-face racist, but so far I haven’t seen a whole lot of people there

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  87. News reports suggest that Judge Wood has denied Cohen’s and Trump’s request for a TRO on grounds that there’s no immediate threat of the Investigatory Team getting access to any of the seized materials before an attorney-client privilege claim can be asserted and ruled upon. That’s a clear loss, but not necessarily a very consequential one.

    As I wrote last night, the big consequence was foreordained by the fact that neither Trump nor Cohen continued to press for the immediate disgorgement and return of all the seized materials back to Cohen. So: No surprise at all.

    Wood will come up with an order specifying how this is going to play out; the open question is whether it will involve a special master in the initial screen in lieu of using the DoJ’s Filter Team for that.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  88. Bu-Duh: I’m not going to listen to the link, but I’ve now read and heard elsewhere that Hannity admits that he consulted Cohen on legal issues in communications that he expected Cohen would keep private.

    And that’s probably enough to establish an attorney-client relationship, regardless of whether Cohen was ever publicly identified as Hannity’s lawyer through a public representation, and regardless of whether Cohen ever invoiced him for it or they ever signed a contract.

    I repeat: Hannity is doing himself no favors by talking about this without knowing what he’s talking about. But if that were a constraint that he intended to recognize, I suppose he wouldn’t have been Trump’s Lickspittle-in-Chief for the last couple of years.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  89. More boyo blarney: he was never hired as my lawyer and never invoiced me but my ‘brief conversations’ with him fall under attorney-client priv.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  90. The denial of the TRO is without prejudice, supposedly, to it being followed up by a further hearing on a preliminary injunction. But I suspect that’s going to be mooted too: The relief that the preliminary injunction might have granted is going to be contained within whatever procedural order Wood comes up with regarding whether the first pass is to be made by the Filter Team (as I suspect) or instead by a special master (which I think is highly improbable).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  91. Glad I could help you get the story straight, Beldar.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  92. it would be exciting to have Michael Cohen as your lawyer cause he’s so handsome and famous and best of all he knows President Trump personally :) but then the pussyhat fbi gets to rape you up the butt :(

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  93. @93. And is sport coats often match the seat covers on many Boeing 737’s, too, Mr. Feet.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  94. I’ve also read from hearing observers that the volume of documents seized is estimated as only about 10 boxes, but that doesn’t include the vast majority of the data, which was in digital form on various digital media devices (computers, tablets, phones). However, the digital media devices were apparently imaged — meaning not just “file-copied,” but copied in a way that includes all meta-data from file allocation tables and un-indexed portions of the device storage — on-site, so that the devices could be left in Cohen’s possession for his use in deciding what to claim privilege on and for constructing a privilege log to substantiate those claims.

    Bringing the techs to do that imaging on-site was very, very smart and professional on the part of the SDNY people. Again, the contrast between the way they’re doing this, and the way the EDNY handled the Clinton email investigations, could not possibly be more stark.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  95. But after nine or ten months of investigating, it looked like on the current course and speed, this is going to end without charges. And so what will we do? Smart people, competent people plan ahead. If you’re going to charge, you plan ahead. If you’re not going to charge, you plan ahead. And the hard part about this investigation was going to be not charging because the Obama Justice Department could bring charges against Hillary Clinton without claim of bias, political bias, because they’re Democrats.
    What would be hard for the Obama Justice Department for a bunch of reasons is not to bring charges about Hillary Clinton. That will be hard to do without jeopardizing the reputation of the institutions of justice. So it required thought to think about, “So how will we end this in a way that maximizes confidence that we did it in the right way, that the system was not rigged?” So that’s what I’m doing in the beginning of May, is trying to think through, “So how will this end if it continues on this course that it’s on now?”

    And he talks like it is normally the decision of the FBI not to charge anyone. He also says it was all his own decision, which I doubt. Doesn’t even mention that Loretta Lynch said publicly that she would follow what the FBI said.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146) — 4/16/2018 @ 12:34 pm

    Paging Robert Mueller.

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  96. Everything Cohen’s and Trump’s lawyers accomplished today, they could have gotten through private negotiations with SDNY, which the SDNY lawyers invited them to engage in during correspondence before this TRO application was filed.

    In other words, only Cohen’s and Trump’s unreasonable stupidity and overreach created this opportunity for Stormy Daniels (in a hot-pink outfit, but no stripper heels) to turn this into a national feeding frenzy, and Sean Hannity’s name would still be, umm, what it was before today.

    Trump is always his own worst enemy.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  97. Bringing the techs to do that imaging on-site was very, very smart and professional on the part of the SDNY people. Again, the contrast between the way they’re doing this, and the way the EDNY handled the Clinton email investigations, could not possibly be more stark.

    Beldar (fa637a) — 4/16/2018 @ 2:15 pm

    One Carlos Danger computer. 650,000 emails. Gee, my car got broken into. Don’t know what to tell you guys.

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  98. once again President Trump does us the service of showing how corrupt things are

    that the justice system is so sleazy you can’t have any expectation of privacy at all unless you retain a lawyer to where he has no other clients but you

    most of us, we didn’t know this before

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  99. To everyone who rails that the Filter Team can’t be trusted because they work for the government:

    You’re entitled to that belief, but it amounts to a total repudiation of everyone in federal law enforcement, including the FBI, DoJ, and courts system. If you feel that way, you really should leave the country, because there’s no one left in whom you can have any trust.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  100. It’s like Starbucks believes black people can make their own overpriced coffee.

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  101. If Hannity has a candid conversation with a Rabbi he probably thinks the Rabbi isn’t going to talk to everybody about it.

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  102. because there’s no one left in whom you can have any trust

    i trust President Trump and Mr. Pruitt but not the gestapo DOJ or the pussyhat fbi

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  103. Trump Was Presented With 3 Options On Syria, Picked The Least Expensive One

    god i love this man

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  104. Just heard Perino & Gilfoyle opine on Fox that Kimberly could represent Dana based on a verbal agreement. Gilfoyle says, “And pay me $1,” with which Dana disagreed.

    Meh. No, the $1 isn’t the key. The reason lawyers sometimes do that — and yes, I’ve done it more times than I can count — is not because a payment or promise of payment is required. Lawyers can and do represent clients pro bono or simply for free, and that doesn’t destroy their attorney client privilege.

    The reason to pull the $1 out of your purse or wallet and hand it to the lawyer is that it’s a symbolic act that is intended to confirm, memorably, the client’s and lawyer’s agreement that the client is seeking, and the lawyer is agreeing to provide, advice and counsel. The dollar pulled from the wallet is in lieu of the written agreement that all smart lawyers almost always insist upon. What counts, ultimately, is the lawyer’s and client’s respective understandings, and in case of a misunderstanding, if the surrounding circumstances have given the putative client grounds to believe that he’s entitled to rely on the lawyer’s advice and the lawyer’s commitment to keep their consultations private, the absence of either the $1 or the written contract doesn’t matter.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  105. *Eeep, sorry, #105 ought to have said, “… with which Dana agreed [incorrectly].”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  106. That family friend said the men arrived early for their meeting.

    Hahaha! No, seriously.

    Komo News

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  107. I like my coffee like I like my protesters

    Black and in front of my house in the morning

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  108. Manvinder Singh
    ‏@Beardactivist

    At first I was reluctant to call Starbucks racist based on the actions of some of their employees. But after seeing the video I can’t believe Starbucks didn’t take a bigger stand for their employees poor actions.

    There are plenty of local coffee shops ☕️ #BoycottStarbucks

    they done pissed off Manvinder the Beardactivist

    this never ends well

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  109. What we have now is that Michael Cohen did some minor work or gave some general advice for Sean Hannity pro bono. It’s getting curioser and curioser.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  110. In most states, the only type of contract with a lawyer that has to be in writing is a contract in which the lawyer is expecting to be paid through a contingent-fee percentage out of proceeds recovered.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  111. 85.For want of a street level NYPD chokehold, an indicted Presidential Candidate was lost.

    The same thing now hapepned in aconvenience store.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/shoplifter-dies-scuffle-brooklyn-grocery-store-staff-article-1.3934755

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  112. Lawyers can and do represent clients pro bono or simply for free, and that doesn’t destroy their attorney client privilege.

    ‘Cept Fox’s boyo says he wasn’t Cohen’s ‘client’ and Cohen wasn’t his ‘lawyer’… they just talked briefly ’bout some legal matters.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  113. For those who are wondering, “If Cohen has dirt on Trump, will he flip?”

    Consider today’s proceedings, in which Brave Sir Robin Trumpkin Lawyers insisted that they could not divulge the name of the mystery client in this morning’s letter-brief, and gave it up in open court — within the space of about six hours.

    Michael Cohen is no Susan McDougal, nope.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  114. Hannity’s disclaimer of a relationship probably won’t be used as a binding waiver, because it wasn’t a knowing and intelligent one (duh), and because God and the judges enforcing privilege tend to protect Irishmen, fools, and drunkards.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  115. 110.What we have now is that Michael Cohen did some minor work or gave some general advice for Sean Hannity pro bono. It’s getting curioser and curioser.

    So one wasn’t his ‘client’ and the other not his ‘lawyer.’ Free legal, Sammy– in Noo Yawk, no less!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  116. For a guy who twists himself in pretzels to point out even the slightest error in verb choice and labeling them misleading of those he dislikes because they are not “principled” enuff to then call Comey reflective and honest is impressive.

    Pretty incredible given the volume of lies and half truths.

    Shep's Social Circle (c587a1)

  117. Hannity post up

    Dana (023079)

  118. So when is a client not a client and sheltered by a/c priv., by a lawyer who’s not his lawyer– sounds like a great idea for a new Fox TV series: Shamrocks!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  119. Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, won a minor victory in court on Monday following last week’s FBI raids on his home and office.

    Judge Kimba Wood, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled that the government must allow Cohen’s legal team to review materials that the FBI seized from his office, home and hotel room last week. Wood ruled that Cohen’s legal team will see the materials before the federal prosecutors investigating Cohen are allowed access to them, according to multiple reports.

    this is good for america yes

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  120. 118.Hannity post up

    Likely his ratings will be as well as the clock ticks down on him. The younger Murdochs have got to be running those and other fiscal numbers on him now.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  121. A student is demanding a lifetime supply of KitKats under the threat of legal action after she bought eight of the chocolate bars and none of them had the the trademark wafer inside.

    Saima Ahmad, 20, bought the multi-pack from a supermarket for £2 last month, and has now written to manufacturer Nestle claiming that they ignored their duty of care to consumers.

    Miss Ahmad, a second-year student at Kings College, London, even included details of a legal precedent set in the 1930s to back up her case.

    Daily Mail

    Pinandpuller (ac3c29)

  122. James Comey, good man too?

    Shep's Social Circle (c587a1)

  123. Attorney’s on Twitter are saying Attn/Client Priv extends to even non clients. Client expectation of privacy = priv comms.

    Not my view. Others…

    Shep's Social Circle (c587a1)

  124. Shep, attorney-client privilege definitely requires an attorney-client relationship. But that relationship can be based on reasonable expectations of someone who thought he was a client even if the lawyer didn’t think that. I would never write the first sentence you just did, and any lawyer who does is being misleading or wrong — but the second one is essentially correct.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  125. Beldar,

    Lynn not Martha? That was my fault. Thanks for telling us.

    DRJ (15874d)

  126. No, I made the same assumption, DRJ. They were roughly contemporaneous, these are all unpublished opinions, and they’re hard to keep straight.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  127. BuDuh 84,

    That was a very Trump-like statement by Hannity, and not clear at all:

    He never paid Cohen, he never retained Cohen “in the traditional sense,” but he assumes they had an attorney-client relationship because they talked about legal matters. And no third parties were involved. (Hopefully the last part was for his wife’s benefit.)

    Sounds to me like he is saying he never hired Cohen but he assumes everything they talked about is privileged. It’s true you don’t have to pay an attorney to have an attorney-client relationship, but whether they have a relationship depends on what kind of legal matters they discussed. Hannity asking about his legal issues can create a relationship. Hannity asking an attorney about legal issues in the news that he wants to understand to discuss on a show would not. The latter would be consulting an attorney as an expert, not to establish a relationship.

    DRJ (15874d)

  128. But my guess is that Hannity consulted Cohen about a legal matter that involved him, and Cohen did it for free. I wonder if Fox News has rules about things like that?

    DRJ (15874d)

  129. 129.But my guess is that Hannity consulted Cohen about a legal matter that involved him, and Cohen did it for free. I wonder if Fox News has rules about things like that?

    He’s spinning it as casual ‘real estate’ advice but he’s been shifting his story some over the hours as it is. Doesn’t look smart. Keep in mind the younger Murdochs have been attempting to spruce up Fox News, post-Ailes. Full disclosure would have been wiser but FNC corporate is going to look at this for sure– along side his numbers, which will likely spike at least for tonight.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  130. Sounds like hannity is pro boned…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  131. 131. =Haiku= Gesundheit!

    Well played, Colonel.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  132. “Cohen is a bad actor. But, at what cost do we pursue him?”

    Apparently at all cost, and with all alacrity. Everything will be known and readily leaked to a compliant press. We will trash it all to get Trump. He will be destroyed, utterly and completely.

    “100.To everyone who rails that the Filter Team can’t be trusted because they work for the government: You’re entitled to that belief, but it amounts to a total repudiation of everyone in federal law enforcement, including the FBI, DoJ, and courts system. If you feel that way, you really should leave the country, because there’s no one left in whom you can have any trust. Beldar (fa637a) — 4/16/2018 @ 2:22 pm”

    I completely trust them under normal circumstances. I believe that, in most cases, the filter team does their work admirably. But in some cases the incentives to share inappropriately with the public becomes too great, or the personal animus toward the person being investigated overwhelms common sense and decency.

    You know what might help? Perhaps some care being given to prevent leaks to the public of things that should have remained private, and some concern over such leaks. Show me someone, anyone, being prosecuted, or even investigated in regards to leaking against Trump. If you can, I will show you a dozen with lucrative compensation, and laudatory articles in the paper on their honesty and worthiness.

    It is the leftist game – new rules apply whenever they decide to target someone. And as long as we all stay in line, and temper our complaints, they promise not to destroy us. It is a soft, comfortable, giant beanbag chair of tyranny.

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  133. “I don’t hate James Comey the way the rest of the world — right and left — appears to.”

    It’s not a question of “hate”, I think people question his judgement, his character, his candor, and his ethics.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  134. I thought it was clear, DRJ.

    But, I’m not a lawyer.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  135. And, most of all, his veracity.

    And he is crooked.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  136. Beldar – I would much prefer a Special Master be appointed. The proven taint within the DOJ was too pervasive and recent for me to simply accept the integrity of the clean team. Sessions appears to have lost his mind and is acting quite strangely against his long public record as a Conservative and a rock-ribbed defender of the Rule of Law.

    It may be an over-abundance of caution, but the potential for mischief is too great in my eyes. Again, there is no particular urgency in this matter.

    For what it is worth, I deeply resent that my insistence on protecting the Executive in regards to the seizures necessarily means protecting DJT.

    Ed from SFV (4f3559)

  137. Michael Cohen is no Susan McDougal, nope.

    Hannity can’t pardon him.

    Dave (445e97)


  138. For what it is worth, I deeply resent that my insistence on protecting the Executive in regards to the seizures necessarily means protecting DJT.


    You shouldn’t, Ed from SFV because that’s what separates us from leftists: we really, actually believe that all Americans, including DJT should be treated equally under the law and their personality should have no bearing on it.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  139. If a Cohen ‘tape’ or two shows up w/Hannity, Cohen and the President of the United States ‘plotting strategy’ he’s screwed. You decide which ‘he.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  140. If a Cohen ‘tape’ or two shows up w/Hannity, Cohen and the President of the United States ‘plotting strategy’ he’s screwed. You decide which ‘he.’

    Unless the “strategy” involves some clear illegality, it will surprise no one and change no one’s mind about anything.

    Anyone paying attention can see where Hannity’s lips are securely planted.

    Dave (445e97)

  141. @ Ed from SFV (#137): I take your point, and got a good chuckle out of your disclaimer at the end.

    But I’m against, on principle, outsourcing something like this to a private appointee, and for many of the same reasons I’m usually against the appointment of a special/independent counsel/prosecutor: It becomes an excuse that ends up depriving the most important public servants from the political accountability they ought to have. We pay federal district judges to handle this kind of dispute; we even given them paid magistrates to assist them. They should be accountable, both to the public and to the appellate courts, for their results.

    There are clearly rotten apples. I’m pretty sure, for example, that the entire part of the apple barrel that corresponds to the EDNY is rotten.

    But DoJ and FBI are both huge, with thousands and thousands of professionals who have had absolutely zero to do with anything involving the Clintons or Trump. There are 93 United States Attorneys, scattered across every one of the 94 federal judicial districts. They each operate in roughly the same fashion as a huge law firm. So the apple barrel is vast, and multiply compartmentalized. I’m far from giving up on all of those people, or even most of them.

    From statements during today’s hearing that I’ve seen quoted in news media (I’d desperately like to read a full transcript), Judge Wood expressed a great deal of confidence in the SDNY’s lawyers, and she’s been watching them daily for literally decades now. I frankly expect her to reject the special master request and approve the SDNY’s Filter Team proposal, perhaps with some tweaking (of the sort SDNY would have agreed to anyway). I won’t be surprised if she does it in a written opinion, not just a bare-bones order, with some basic civics commentary. I desperately hope that she repeats some of what was in the SDNY letter-brief this morning, including the observation that when it’s as important to the country as this is, that’s precisely the time to go exactly by the book rather than going ad hoc and making up special rules.

    I further expect that she’s going to put everyone on a brutal set of deadlines.

    I expect that 90%+ of the seized stuff will be determined by the Filter Team to be nonresponsive, meaning that except for a “record copy” kept buried in a vault, far from the Investigative Team, Cohen will get all that stuff back and the DoJ will stipulate that it can’t ever be used in any fashion by the government in any future prosecution.

    From what’s left, some of that might clearly be subject to a privilege claim, in which case the Filter Team won’t even ask for permission to turn that over to the Investigation Team and Trump’s lawyers won’t even have to make a privilege objection, much less sustain that characterization in a fight.

    What’s left will be the universe of stuff the Filter Team thinks the Investigation Team will actually want and that they think is non-privileged, from which Trump’s lawyers will decide what they actually want to try to claim privilege upon. Only at that point does a magistrate or Judge Wood even need to get involved again.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  142. Beldar, I rarely disagree with you, but it happens. As you noted in another post, you’re more hawkish than I am. You admire Paul Ryan more than I do. And you dislike James Comey far more than I do (I don’t actually dislike him although I disagree profoundly with the way he handled the Hillary case). And you’re more wedded to the Republican party than I am (which is not at all).

    That’s OK. These limited areas of disagreement are things that friends can discuss in a friendly way. The important thing is the deep and longstanding respect I have for you, which survives all of these differences of opinion.

    Comey was a prosecutor, and I think he sincerely believed that no reasonable prosecutor would have filed on Hillary. But I think he had a huge blind spot. Her claims about the letter C being a letter in a series, for example, is laughable — and most people familiar with classified information would agree. Making up his mind before the interview and treating the interview as pro forma was terrible judgment. I fault him for a lot there.

    But I still think he means well.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  143. Ah well – will be able to recoup some of that with my bet that Patterico contributes to the McCabe defense fund.

    LOL let’s bet on that right now. Name the amount.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  144. @141. Unless the “strategy” involves some clear illegality, it will surprise no one and change no one’s mind about anything.

    Who says the screw job has to be a matter of illegality. It could be merely a violation of corporate policy– and that’s subject to enforce by management- which narrows down the list. Stay-tuned.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  145. @61 (waaay back at 61) Beldar: thank you for the clarification on Judge Wood.

    In what is admittedly a weak defense, I see a potential apparent link in that, even though the judge is dealing with Trump’s lawyer, it was Trump who “stole” the top job from Hillary!, and kept Slick from being “first man”… My memory is not what it once was, and I made the connection. In this day and age these things cannot be ignored.

    Again, thanks.

    Gramps (85597f)

  146. RE: #29

    Clever. Thanks for the laugh.

    As for Comey, I too thought him a decent man put into an untenable position. Until I learned more about both the man and why he was in said position. I cannot add to what others have so eloquently written on the matter, except perhaps this: would an honorable man care more for his honor or his employment given his misgivings and doubts about his new boss? I will go out on a limb here and say that he’d be the same lapdog for Sessions as he was for Lynch had Trump not given him the boot. No contemporaneous memo, not a single one, after his meetings with Ms. Lynch, though that he threw her under the bus shows him to be an equal opportunity lout.

    Both Trump and Lynch may deserve a public flogging, but this is not man to hold the flogger.

    Estarcatus (d19e9c)

  147. DRJ – Comment #13 in this stream…or more correctly torrent…If you mean this Bill, no, I don’t work nor ever have for Trump, though you are correct that I’ve been in politics most of my life. In ’15 – ’16 Ben Carson was my first choice – – and I DID work for a super PAC supporting him…after he dropped out I segued to Rubio for the nano-second he stayed in after Carson dropped out…After Rubio pulled the plug I went to Cruz. Ergo Trump was my 4th choice…but an easy one when it became clear that the alternative was the Hildabeast continuing to weaponize the courts and bureaucracy against conservative thought, words, institutions and individuals. I happily voted for Trump and give him a 90% + grade…marked down cuz he was too slow to realize who he could trust in the DC govt hive. NeverTrumpets are the Left’s useful idiots – giving aid and comfort to the enemies of our beliefs and our country.

    Bill Saracino (78f41f)


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