Patterico's Pontifications

12/7/2018

Glenn Reynolds: Members of FBI Should Go to Jail for Considering an Obstruction Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:14 am



OK then! Glenn Reynolds today:

WELL, WELL: Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI opened investigation to “rein in” Trump. Note that they were planning an obstruction probe even before Comey was fired. Leaked to CNN because it’s friendly media, meaning they thought it was about to come out somewhere less friendly. This is huge, and people should go to jail.

Put this together with the collusion between the press and federal prosecutors and the “Deep State” narrative looks pretty solid.

People should go to jail!!! That’s strong language — especially since no charges have been filed against the FBI personnel involved … and any charges would be laughable and would not survive a moment of scrutiny by a judge, much less 12 jurors examining the evidence under a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What prompted this outburst? Let’s look at the article Glenn is talking about, to see about this discussion of an obstruction probe before Comey’s firing:

The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn’t start until after Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, according to the sources, and also included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

So: Donald Trump says to the FBI director that he hopes Comey will “let this go,” which Comey reasonably interprets as Trump requesting that Comey drop an investigation into his former national security adviser — who was a top Trump campaign aide, and who has now given “substantial” cooperation to Bob Mueller about the Russia investigation and other matters, including an undisclosed criminal probe.

In response, the FBI considers opening an obstruction probe, but does not actually open it until Comey is fired.

And we are told that, as a result of this, people should go to jail.

Who should go to jail? The guy who tried to get the head of the FBI to drop an investigation into his crony? Why, no. Not that guy!

No, we are told, the people who should actually go to jail are [check notes] the people who talked about opening an obstruction probe after evidence of possible obstruction arose.

Look: reasonable people can disagree about whether Trump’s actions amount to obstruction, or whether it was appropriate for the FBI even to consider opening an obstruction investigation after Trump’s comment to Comey.

But saying that people should “go to jail” for discussing a possible obstruction probe is not even remotely a reasonable position. Go to jail for what? Based on what evidence?

You know, I am old enough to remember when, during the election, I was told that the civil service reining in Donald Trump was a good thing:

So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service’s behavior, that’s got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he’ll get a lot of pushback — and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump’s appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don’t get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he’ll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get — or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump — he’s the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.

That was Glenn Reynolds on September 8, 2016. What happened to the praise for the notion of the much-vaunted Deep State being a tool to rein in an out-of-control Trump? Many people cited this column as a talking point for Trump. Notably, many of those same people are now suggesting that members of the horrific Deep State should be locked in a cage for talking about doing exactly what Reynolds suggested in September 2016 that they should do: rein in Trump when he showed signs of going out of control.

I like Glenn Reynolds, and my point here is not to say he’s a bad guy or to accuse him of hypocrisy. My point is twofold: 1) to chide him for absurdly saying that members of the FBI should “go to jail” for discussing an obstruction investigation when evidence of possible obstruction was obvious, and 2) to remind him of his position in September 2016 — and to say that, if he meant that, he should stop calling for members of the FBI to be locked up, and start applauding them for doing the job that he once said he wanted them to do.

That goes for everyone currently complaining about the Deep State who told us in 2016 that it was a feature and not a bug.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump Nominates Bill Barr for Attorney General

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:55 am



Great pick. The guy will have the greatest sense of humor of any Attorney General in generations. He might have trouble getting confirmed, though … a very problematic clip has emerged showing Barr with anger issues, a chauvinistic attitude towards women, and a troubling tendency to curse in public:

“Where are all those old-school women who could just take your day out on?” Tsk, tsk.

Wait, I’ve just been handed a note … it appears the Bill Barr actually being nominated is … Bill Barr, Attorney General under the late George H.W. Bush.

President Trump announced he will nominate William Barr to serve as the next attorney general. Mr. Trump broke the news Friday to reporters on the White House South Lawn on his way to Kansas City.

CBS News reported on Thursday that Barr, who served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, was a top contender for the role.

“I want to confirm that Bill Barr, one of the most respected jurists in the country, highly respected lawyer, former Attorney General under the Bush administration, a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday. “I did not know him for – until recently when I went through the process of looking at people. He was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans. Respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly. And I think it will go very quickly.

The first question Big Media is asking, of course: will Barr be pro-Mueller or anti-Mueller? The New York Times tried to read the tea leaves yesterday:

Mr. Barr has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, including suggesting that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns. Mr. Barr has also defended Mr. Trump’s calls for a new criminal investigation into his defeated 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, including over a uranium mining deal the Obama administration approved when she was secretary of state.

“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” Mr. Barr told The New York Times last year. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”

Mr. Barr added then that he saw more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

Reading Mr. Barr’s comments, I can draw only one conclusion: he’s nowhere near as funny as the guy from the video clip above.

UPDATE: I’ve been handed another note: Bill Burr the comedian is Bill Burr, not Bill Barr. Thank goodness. I was having trouble finding him on YouTube!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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