Patterico's Pontifications

5/10/2019

Democrats’ Dopey Contempt Citation Against Bill Barr

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:10 am



I am not a fan of Bill Barr, whom I consider to be a smugly partisan Attorney General who has enlisted himself in the service of the person of Donald J. Trump, rather than in service of the law and his country. That said, Democrats’ current effort to hold Barr in contempt is an absurd and silly unforced error. Here’s the New York Times on Wednesday:

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report, hours after President Trump asserted executive privilege to shield the full report and underlying evidence from Congress.

The committee’s 24-to-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate over the future of American democracy, was the first official House action to punish a government official in the standoff over the Mueller report. The Justice Department denounced the move as unnecessary and intended to stoke a fight.

After the vote, the Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, swatted away questions about possible impeachment, but added, “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”

Oh, please. Commence your eye-rolling now.

Democrats could do better than this. After all, Trump has announced his intent to stonewall House Democrats on basically every front. This announcement has already created quotes that will inevitably be used against the White House in litigation over dubious future assertions of executive privilege. When your lawyers go into court to argue that you are making a narrow and reasonable claim of executive privilege, it doesn’t help to have a client who is telling the press “we’re fighting all the subpoenas” — even ones that haven’t yet been issued.

That said, some subpoenas should be fought, and this is one of them. Democrats are picking fights over relatively sparse redactions, and rejecting legitimate offers to review basically everything to which they are legally entitled to review. From the NYT link above:

Democrats say Mr. Barr’s version is not good enough, and they have accused the attorney general of stonewalling a legitimate request for material they need to pick up an investigation into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by Mr. Trump. The Democrats’ request includes secretive grand jury information and other evidence.

The committee’s 27-page contempt report lays out the panel’s need for the report and offers an accounting of attempts to get Mr. Barr to share the materials first voluntarily and then under subpoena.

The Justice Department had tried to stave off the committee vote, offering to lawmakers some concessions around a less redacted version of the Mueller report, which omitted only grand jury material. Democrats deemed the offer insufficient.

The Justice Department had other objections to the subpoena. Compliance would require the department to violate “the law, court rules and court orders” as well as grand jury secrecy rules, a Justice Department official, Stephen E. Boyd, wrote. Republicans on the committee seized on that point to accuse Democrats of forcing Mr. Barr to choose between complying with their subpoena or the law.

You know how those damned Republicans are with their seizing, but here they happen to be exactly right. (Which, by the way, they almost always are right when described by the media as “seizing” on something, because the “seizing on” trope is the only way to disparage people who are publicly advancing an undeniably correct position.) It’s illegal to share grand jury information. DoJ is willing to show Congress everything else — including the redacted bits about how Don Jr. committed a computer crime by using a password provided by Wikileaks to access a Web site. DoJ just won’t show Congress grand jury information — because DoJ can’t legally do that.

Democrats should be spending precious time and resources fighting to have people like Don McGahn and Corey Lewandowski testify regarding matters already discussed in the Mueller report. Trump can fight “all the subpoenas” all he likes, but the White House has already waived executive privilege as to the matters discussed in the report and released to the public. The White House may have a remaining privilege over related materials, but Trump can’t prevent McGahn and Lewandowski from being forced to testify about what is already in the publicly disclosed report. That is where the real action is.

Instead of focusing on legitimate battles like that, Democrats are opening with a dumb salvo, and claiming a “constitutional crisis” where there is none. There is legitimate reason to be very concerned with the conduct described in the Mueller report, but the Democrat clowns in Congress are unlikely to do anything effective to address it.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

94 Responses to “Democrats’ Dopey Contempt Citation Against Bill Barr”

  1. ‘Trump can fight “all the subpoenas” all he likes, but the White House has already waived executive privilege as to the matters discussed in the report and released to the public.’

    Nothing screams “guilty” like waiving executive privilege.

    Munroe (a19c29)

  2. Democrats are claiming a constitutional crisis because, in the end, they have more in common with Trump than Trump humpers are willing to admit; they are more worried about image than substance. That’s the overwhelming majority of politicians for you, regardless of what party they nominally belong to.

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. The news media has successfully transitioned from actual reporting that Republicans are countering Democratic mistakes/fraud/lunacy to now making the story about the conservative pouncing/seizing.

    This presents facts/truth/common sense as strictly political, marginalized and partisan and therefore of little value.

    harkin (a4b010)

  4. I think the only thing they can’t get is grand jury related information – it would be illegal for Barr to hand it over. So the Democrats say he could petition a judge to let him do it! Is that a legally valid argument? Especially since Nadler says the Huse Judiciary Committee is considerin petitioning the judge itself.

    Now it would useful to find out what’s in the GJ information, but it’s not likely to b anything that involved Trump. Does that include Donald Trump Jr’s (trivial?) computer crime?

    Now there are problems with Trump’s claim of execitve rivilege. It can’t be claiemd after t has already been waived. What happened was that DOJ told him that they could decline to hnor the subpoena if he invoked executive privilege – Barr literally asked him to do so.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  5. The thing is, not complying with a Congressional subpoena can itself be an impeachable offense. It was one charge against Nixon.

    That’s what Nancy Pelosi means by saying he might be self-impeaching.

    Also, maybe the Democrats would be on more solid legal ground if they wanted things for an impeachment inquiry: Therefore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that Trump is trying to goad them into starting one.

    Donald Trump has already told the Democratic leadership (a few months ago) they can make the government shutdown grounds for impeachment.

    It could sound like he wants it, because such trivial grounds would make the Democratslook bad. Trump doesn’t want it. He just prefers they use trivial grounds. Trump is cynical about this. Quite rightly. The Democrats just don’t want to appear to be acting that cynically..

    But Trump has pointed out they don’t need to investigate – they can just do it.

    I don’t think Trump is trying to goad he Democrats into gong down the impeachment route. He’s not that strategic. He just doesn’t feel like co-operating, and hopes that he make the Democrats give up on this idea of investigating and accusing him of at least moral faults by not supplying them with material.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is actually trying to prevent her members from starting qn impeachment inquiry, or, more accurately, make as many members as possible tolerate it not happening. Any member maybe could force a vote. She keeps on telling them they are proceeding methodically, and that they should.

    Donald Trump has already told the Democratic leadership (a few months ago) they can make the government shutdown grounds for impeachment.

    It could sound like he wants it, because such trivial grounds would make the Democratslook bad. Trump doesn’t < wat it he just prefers they use trivial grounds. Trump is cynical about this. Quite rightly. The Democrats just don’t want to appear to be acting that cynically..

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  6. Democrats are claiming a constitutional crisis because, in the end, they have more in common with Trump than Trump humpers are willing to admit; they are more worried about image than substance.

    Pity the mess the Dems find themselves in. A majority of the caucus wants to impeach the President, and probably at least 80% of the party’s most reliable voters agree. But the old hands like Pelosi and Schumer know that impeachment coming 18 months before the election is fraught with peril and might massively turn off independent-minded voters, so I think they are hoping these contempt citations send the message that they are holding the Trump Administration’s feet to the fire, without making them look nakedly partisan. It’s a very hard eye of the needle to thread.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  7. Asymmetric warfare. Having lost the Battle of Mueller, reserve units of the Democratic forces are conducting harassing skirmishes on Trump’s flanks while the main body tries to regroup.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Dems need to sh*t or get off the pot, yesterday. A good case can already be made for the impeachment of Trump. But they won’t do the right thing. They will dither and subpoena ineffectually for another year and a half. The number of people in DC doing the right thing is pretty much 0. Excepting maybe that kid from the meme mowing the lawn.

    JRH (52aed3)

  9. Appoint an SC or US attorney to oversee the investigation of Brennan, Comey, Clapper, McCabe, Page, Strzok, Yates, select members of the Obama Administration and Mueller’s crew… maybe their family members, as well… put them under oath, give them the treatment. Let’s see what they have to say and prosecute them when they lie.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  10. CH, you don’t need a special prosecutor for that. The Justice Department can do that today if they like. There isn’t a single thing stopping them other then they don’t want to do it today.

    Time123 (10f4f4)

  11. The next few months may be interesting, as the other shoe may drop.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  12. “other then than they don’t want to do it today.”

    FIFY

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  13. It could be that the Democrats don’t want to do anything substantive because they think a portion of their voters like Trump. After all, Trump focuses on workers, fairness, our broken voting/campaign (mediaz) system, veterans, values, and foreign threats, and so do the Democrats.

    DRJ (15874d)

  14. “other then than they don’t want to do it today.”

    FIFY

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/10/2019 @ 8:58 am

    Thank you, I was really worried that the comment I typed on my phone had a spelling error that might confuse people. Glad you were able to power through the challenge. Where do you find the strength?

    Time123 (6e0727)

  15. It’s probably just a regional dialect thing, I see it a lot.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  16. The next few months may be interesting, as the other shoe may drop.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/10/2019 @ 8:56 am

    Maybe if they change the chant from “Lock Her Up” to “Lock them up”? That might help? right?

    Time123 (6e0727)

  17. That’s funny, thx.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  18. Or a simple typo. I do it a lot.

    DRJ (15874d)

  19. Plus the perils of auto-correct.

    DRJ (15874d)

  20. It’s probably just a regional dialect thing, I see it a lot.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/10/2019 @ 9:17 am

    Nope, just dumb mistake on my part. :)

    Time123 (6e0727)

  21. “you don’t need a special prosecutor for that.”
    Time123 (10f4f4) — 5/10/2019 @ 8:50 am

    Funny things can happen when you set a ridiculous precedent.

    SC for thee but not for me.

    Munroe (a87e97)

  22. Monroe, The DOJ (Trump, Barr etc) can order any investigation they like. They can use an existing prosecutor, or appoint a special prosecutor. A Special prosecutor doesn’t have powers above what all the existing have.

    Time123 (10f4f4)

  23. Rush Limbaugh says that Mueller had – still has – the opportunity to write a letter to the New York Times justifying the redactions, which he participated in (I think he identified for Barr what was based on grand jury information etc.) and that there’s nothing in it (about Trump I suppose you should say) that you don’t know, and that the whole argument for obtaining the entire report is bogus, but he’s not doing it. Rush doesn’t want to believe now that when anyone is described as “Mr. Integrity” that he truly is.

    He also said that Mueller should have shut down the investigation shortly after he got t when he realized that the accusations against Trump were based on the Steele dossier, saying he had two chances to (help the country)

    Meanwhile, James Comey had a town meeting on CNN and he was not willing to say that hhe contents of the Steele dossier are untrue.

    I think Rush is also echoing something somebody else must have said – Mueller sent his team over to London to interview Steele early on, and he’s making that into Steele maybe writing the report or parts of it. (I think it became apparent long ago that Mueller set out to confirm or rebut many things in the Steele dossier. That’s why he subpoeaned so many business records from Trump.)

    Another bit of news from Rush (if this is true) He says that Steele was first recruited as an FBI informant in February, 2016. But, he said, we don’t know why.

    That’s even before Fusion GPS hired him. We have been told a person in the Democratix Party forst arranged for this in March.

    By the way, they tried to make this a continuation of what the Washington Free BEacon did, but the Washington Free Beacon has stated they never paid for or asked fora private investigator. The two clients actually overlapped. This was lied about and obfusticated for a year, and maybe even nows is till being done.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  24. The DOJ (Trump, Barr etc) can order any investigation they like. They can use an existing prosecutor, or appoint a special prosecutor. A Special prosecutor doesn’t have powers above what all the existing have.

    But doing a normal investigation wouldn’t be “getting even”, you see.

    In TrumpWorld, getting even is all that matters.

    Dave (1bb933)

  25. As to the original post, the inability of either party to pick its fights intelligently is remarkable.

    I guess it is, yet again, the stranglehold of the extremists/loons, and the need to constant throw them red meat, on both sides.

    Dave (1bb933)

  26. *constantly

    Sorry Colonel.

    Dave (1bb933)

  27. “A Special prosecutor doesn’t have powers above what all the existing have.”

    Well isn’t that special!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  28. The thing that is tiring here is the national press. Unable to bestir itself to take hard looks at the Obama administration (who wants to be the reporter who “GOT” Obama?), they swarm over Trump like so many soldier ants the moment the Democrats cry foul.

    The WH has been hampered for 2 years by an investigation that had no basis other than a convenient excuse for an embarrassing loss. Now that it’s concluded, Congress wants to reinvestigate, and wants to widen the probe in any direction possible. They are asking for documents that are a) illegal to provide; b) unrelated to government or governing; or c) outright fishing expeditions. While it is not advisable to say one is going to fight every subpoena (some may actually be valid requests), most of these requests SHOULD be fought.

    I wish Trump well here.

    The Obama administration fought numerous subpoenas, some of which were demonstrably valid, such as inquiries into “Fast & Furious” and the IRS mess. Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress and not only did nothing come of it but the same people condemning Barr now were defending Holder than.

    Not that I’m surprised to see such tribal politics in DC, but when the press is equally tribal we’ve lost something important.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  29. Nothing screams “guilty” like waiving executive privilege.

    That’s not so. Waiving attorney-client privilege looks even guiltier.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  30. The DOJ (Trump, Barr etc) can order any investigation they like. They can use an existing prosecutor, or appoint a special prosecutor. A Special prosecutor doesn’t have powers above what all the existing have.

    But doing a normal investigation wouldn’t be “getting even”, you see.

    In TrumpWorld, getting even is all that matters.

    Dave (1bb933) — 5/10/2019 @ 9:52 am

    I see that in some places. What bugs me is that they could appoint a special prosecutor this afternoon if they wanted and PPL act like there’s something holding them back. I don’t get it.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  31. I can tell you what they’re waiting for, because I know what they’re waiting for. Do you want me to tell you?

    nk (dbc370)

  32. I’ll give you a hint. The first word is “Department”, the last word is “report”, and the words in-between are “of Justice Inspector General’s”.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. The WH has been hampered for 2 years by an investigation that had no basis other than a convenient excuse for an embarrassing loss.

    Basis:
    1. Hacking of the DNC servers and release of the information in way that appeared to be intended to influence the election.
    1.5 Initial evidence implicating Russia.
    2. The president fires the head of the FBI and says on national TV that part of the reason was to stop investigation into Russian interference.

    So there was a Crime, and there was probable cause that Trump was taking actions to cover up the crime.

    The Obama administration fought numerous subpoenas, some of which were demonstrably valid, such as inquiries into “Fast & Furious” and the IRS mess. Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress and not only did nothing come of it but the same people condemning Barr now were defending Holder than.

    Yes. I agree that was terrible. Congress should fix the law to make actions like that harder. I don’t think the right answer to leave the system broken and use every bad action by the Dems/GOP to justify further bad action by the GOP/Dems.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  34. I’ll give you a hint. The first word is “Department”, the last word is “report”, and the words in-between are “of Justice Inspector General’s”.

    nk (dbc370) — 5/10/2019 @ 10:40 am

    I’m really eager to see that also and 100% support prosecuting illegal actions found by the IG. Where the IG doesn’t find wrongdoing we probably shouldn’t prosecute / investigate. But I don’t expect Trump or his supporters to agree.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  35. The next few months may be interesting, as the other shoe may drop.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 5/10/2019 @ 8:56 am

    Maybe if they change the chant from “Lock Her Up” to “Lock them up”? That might help? right?

    Given that James Comey thinks obstruction of a witch-hunt should be prosecuted against a sitting President, but that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Hillary or her staff regarding multiple serious national security felonies, there is really no bright line available here.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  36. The president fires the head of the FBI and says on national TV that part of the reason was to stop investigation into Russian interference.

    I believe it was an investigation into whether Trump conspired in that interference, based largely on lies used previously to spy on Trump. But yes, Trump didn’t help himself there.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  37. So there was a Crime

    Mueller didn’t find one, except for some unrelated stuff done long earlier by bit players. That a crime was alleged does not mean a crime occurred. And this will be painted as “obstructing a witch-hunt” just as surely as Clinton was “only lying about sex.”

    Dems: “Sure he lied under oath regarding a lawsuit against him, and his minions intimidated witnesses and obstructed justice countless times, but it was about sex, so it doesn’t count!”

    Dems: “He fruitlessly attempted to obstruct an investigation that found no crime! Hang him!”

    They would have nothing if it weren’t for their hypocrisy.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  38. Prediction: The Democrats will overreach.
    Further prediction: Trump will feed the troll.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  39. Mueller didn’t find one, except for some unrelated stuff done long earlier by bit players. That a crime was alleged does not mean a crime occurred. And this will be painted as “obstructing a witch-hunt” just as surely as Clinton was “only lying about sex.”

    Section 1 of the report shows a lot crimes committed by people not associated with the Trunp campaign. Those count, The fact that we may not be able to try many of the people involved is unfortunate but this wouldn’t have been found if everyone had dropped the matter as Trump wanted.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  40. Barr is partisan and only looking out for Trump, as opposed to Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder, defenders of fairness and the constitution.

    Mike (846161)

  41. The bucket of KFC was dopey. If you’re gonna take a bite out of a Republican, you chew on Chick-fil-A.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. Defiantly say no to everything and deny, deny, deny; Roy Cohn 101.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. Kevin, Do you think the hacking of the DNC servers was a crime that was worth investigating? Do you think having a clear public record of who was responsible for that is valuable? What are your thoughts on another country, a hostile one at that, trying to interfere in our presidential election through criminal acts?

    I’m genuinely interested in what you think about this if you have time to answer.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  44. @6. Wouldn’t be so dismissive of it. Recall that Nixon won in a landslide and voters were highly resistant to impeachment chatter, even while the dominos began to fall as hearings were held, tapes were heard and a massacre ruined a Saturday night. The last pillars of support collapsed swiftly– yet even then, he left office w/26% still in support, believing he was a victim of circumstances and should have stayed and fought on. But then, belief in what government told the citizenry was eroding on many fronts.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  45. Kevin, Do you think the hacking of the DNC servers was a crime that was worth investigating?

    Sure. Do you think that we will ever see any evidence that showed that some Russians hacked their server? Indicting Russians is like indicting space aliens — you can be sure they will never show up to be tried. All we really know is who released the documents, and that may be unrelated to the attack. Hacked credentials are sold all the time behind closed Internet doors.

    But what does this have to do with investigating the Trump administration? What was the probable cause?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  46. I was upset at Eric Wing Man Holder and Loretta Tarmac Barr and I am upset at Bill What’s With The Letter Bob Barr.

    I’m not sure what point you think you’re making, but it’s apparently either a) “but you excused partisanship by Democrats Patterico!” which would be a lie, or b) “they did it so we get to” which is the eternal excuse for bad behavior advanced by people who simply enjoy engaging in bad behavior.

    Are you lying or just rationalizing immorality?

    Patterico (7f9b4d)

  47. Is it just me or is the subpoena for DJT jr just a way for the GOP bench of telling Trumpdom cool it on any dynasty/ dictatorship/ extra years talk?

    If that comes to pass, DCSCA, I would not be dumb enough to board Marine 1 if i were he.

    urbanleftbehind (bccba5)

  48. “I don’t think today is actually about getting information… I don’t think it’s about getting the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t think last week’s hearing was actually about having staff question the attorney general. I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything. He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”

    —- Rep. Jim Jordan (Hack-OH)

    Colonel Haiku (eb0b95)

  49. “Is it just me or is the subpoena for DJT jr just a way for the GOP bench of telling Trumpdom cool it on any dynasty/ dictatorship/ extra years talk?”

    It amazes me that anyone takes this talk seriously.

    Small-brains said the same thing about Bush and Obama. Sure the Deep State did everything they could to put it on a tee for Hillary and sure they did same to crippling the White Hiuse since the inauguration but once the election plays out he’ll either non-gracefully make way for his successor or claim his re-election means they need another head on Mt Rushmore.

    harkin (a4b010)

  50. OT… watching season 3 of Sneaky Pete… seeing M. Emmet Walsh and the late Ricky Jay is a little painful… time waits for no one.

    Colonel Haiku (eb0b95)

  51. “Where the IG doesn’t find wrongdoing we probably shouldn’t prosecute / investigate. But I don’t expect Trump or his supporters to agree.”
    Time123 (66d88c) — 5/10/2019 @ 10:45 am

    Again, dopey precedents inform us.

    The prosecutors who so thoroughly corrupted the Stevens case, and ended up throwing an election, got off. No matter what bombshells might come out of Horowitz/Huber, nothing much will happen to anyone. It’s not like we can expect them to be prosecuted like common folk.

    Munroe (8c1fb6)

  52. The IG will find wrongdoing (as every IG in history has) but the wet dreams of findings of a coup are as fanciful as the wet dreams of Democrats who thought Mueller would find Trump was a paid Russian stooge.

    Patterico (c75c89)

  53. Rep. Jim Jordan (Hack-OH)

    Glad we agree about Jim Jordan.

    Patterico (c75c89)

  54. It seems the “wet dreams” regarding common folk like Kristian Saucier were fulfilled. Too bad the pardon put a halt to that.

    Munroe (c0e308)

  55. … Trump was a paid Russian stooge

    Why pay him when he’ll work pro bono?

    Dave (1bb933)

  56. If someone attempts to make you commit a crime, isn’t that a crime?
    Nadless is an idiot.

    mg (8cbc69)

  57. Is it just me or is the subpoena for DJT jr just a way for the GOP bench of telling Trumpdom cool it on any dynasty/ dictatorship/ extra years talk?

    If that comes to pass, DCSCA, I would not be dumb enough to board Marine 1 if i were he.

    urbanleftbehind (bccba5) — 5/10/2019 @ 12:18 pm
    I don’t think so… I think there’s some serious discrepancy between Cohen’s testimony vs. Jr’s, and that Burr is trying to square it. (I know Cohen is an admitted liar, but I’m sure they’ve factored that in and determine more answers from Jr is needed).

    What gets me is this: why subpoena him? Couldn’t he answer additional questions through his lawyer via written statement?

    whembly (b9d411)

  58. The proposed resolution seeking to have Barr held in contempt of Congress hasn’t been passed by the full House yet. If and when Pelosi decides it should be, it will be.

    For Congress to impose any penalty upon someone for contempt of Congress, it must go through the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Like other U.S. Attorneys, this one also reports to the Deputy AG (or Acting Deputy AG, since Rosenstein’s resignation and pending Senate confirmation of a new one) — whose next-level boss is Bob Barr, the alleged contemnor. That’s how the draft resolution ends, in fact, with language directing the Speaker, on behalf of the House, to make that application to that U.S. Attorney, and to take all other necessary action for its enforcement. “Go ask the court to punish your boss for contempt of Congress,” Pelosi is supposed to tell the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, a position whose current occupant is Trump appointee Jessie K. Liu

    How well does that remedy work when the chamber of Congress seeking enforcement is controlled by their political opponents? Obviously, that’s a matter of speculation. But recall that in 2012, when the Republican-controlled House investigating Operation Fast and Furious held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt and made application to the then-U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to go to court to prosecute Holder, the DoJ declined, on grounds that Holder had been correct to refuse compliance with the House’s subpoenas on grounds of executive privilege. There the matter ended; you will find only photoshopped images on the internet of Eric Holder in handcuffs.

    Accordingly, in my legal and political judgment: Everything you’re watching or reading or hearing from Congressional Democrats about this contempt citation is kabuki theater for the 2020 elections. Nadler and Pelosi have no real expectation that holding Barr in contempt will actually result in Barr being punished. It’s such a weak threat that it’s unlikely to even be of much negotiating value in making compromises — which, as I’ve noted in comments on a previous post, any judge is going to require all litigants to negotiate upon to the point of good-faith impasse before even beginning to consider any kind of judicial branch enforcement of a Congressional contempt citation. On some House conference room wall is a calendar, marked off with the anticipated stages of how this fake drama can be milked for maximum donations outrage and ultimately votes.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  59. Bah. Trying again a sentence from #58 that got mangled in editing:

    How well does that [contempt of Congress] remedy [through the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia] work when the chamber of Congress seeking enforcement is controlled by the POTUS’ political opponents?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  60. The above-referenced wall calendar in the Dem staff conference room also has a segment for the lawsuit that Pelosi and other Democratic Congresscritters might file on their own as an end-around to seek judicial enforcement of their subpoenas and a judicial resolution of the Administration’s (utterly bogus) executive privilege arguments. It would be easy to keep litigating this thing continuously through November 2020 — and that probably suits both sides, actually, because the Trump Administration is just as interested in kabuki theater as the Dems, just with a different script.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  61. I know Cohen is an admitted liar

    Junior is a proven liar as well, whether he’s admitted it or not.

    His original statements about their meeting with Russian intelligence agents are directly contradicted by the emails later released.

    Dave (1bb933)

  62. Kevin, thank you for answering. The info you’re looking for was already put into the indictments. It’s a shame we won’t be able to prosecute, but an indictment is a better way to put the information out than a report.

    Time123 (0b9a55)

  63. Meantime, while the Democrats plan to campaign on Medicare for All, the real Medicare goes broke in 2026; Social Security not long after; and God knows what after those defaults. But hey, let’s spend $2T on infrastructure — we can get bipartisan agreement on graft opportunities, provided the trough is big enough — and obsess every day about Donald J. Trump, the continuous train wreck from which one is not permitted to ever look away.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  64. contemnor

    I learned a new word today!

    Just one more reason to <3 Patterico’s Pontifications!

    Dave (1bb933)

  65. @47/57- There’s likely some ‘discrepancy’ at issue and if DJT Jr., has nothing to hide, he or his legal team should just put it to bed. Plug in any other name and it seems a legitimate query. But given the Roy Cohn mentality of Daddy, the ‘no, no, no,’ pushback will rule the day. The ‘kid’ is stuck w/’guilt-by-association.’

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  66. @65. Postscript. ‘Dynasty’ chatter be best reserved for TV trivia games given our Captain’s cream pie and cheeseburger diet given his age and bulk. Won’t be surprised at all if he suddenly seizes up like Tim Russert and goes face down in the dessert plate one day.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  67. The resumption of the “zero year theory is the opposition’s only hope … i think seeing a getting-more-fit or “P90X” Trump would send liberals and left into apoplexy.

    urbanleftbehind (bccba5)

  68. Contemnor is a lovely word with a precise condemnatory meaning — but it nevertheless doesn’t often come up in ordinary conversation among nonlawyers, and that’s a good thing.

    Barr knows the word, though, as does Holder.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  69. I was one, in fact, during the Christmas season of 1983. The cause was righteous and I was willing, and I was thoroughly vindicated, and more, in due course, but those are long stories.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  70. I remember you told us the story, although I struggle to remember the details apart from some later reconciliation with the judge at a youth sporting event (?)…

    Dave (1bb933)

  71. 61. Dave (1bb933) — 5/10/2019 @ 2:13 pm

    Junior is a proven liar as well, whether he’s admitted it or not.

    His original statements about their meeting with Russian intelligence agents are directly contradicted by the emails later released.

    About two days later. Possibly because Jared Kushner, who’d been copied on some of them was going to turn them over.

    It’s come out that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to be more complete or accurate in his original statement, and had to negotiate with his father to be as honest as he was.

    Now what Cohen tried to claim was that one day he was in Donald Trump’s office, and Donald Trump Jr. came in, and whispered (but he, Cohen, could hear) that the meeting had been set up. That, he claims, must have been the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians at nthe beginning of June, 2016. This scene was probably a product of the imagination of Lanny Davis (Michael Cohen’s Clintonista lawyer)

    Another thing Cohen claims to have been present for was Donald Trump getting a telephone call, putting it on Speakerphone, and it’s Roger Stone saying he just got off the Phone wth Julian Assange, and that there were some more Democratic Party or something emails he was going to release.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  72. @48/@53- A buckeye is a useless nut.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  73. “They suspect the dossier creators may have been involved in Mueller’s operation — and even had a hand in his final report — because the special counsel sent his team to London to meet with Steele within a few months of taking over the Russia collusion investigation in 2017. Also, Mueller’s lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, had shared information he received from Fusion with the media.

    Raising additional suspicions, Mueller’s report recycles the general allegations leveled in the dossier. And taking a page from earlier surveillance-warrant applications in the Russia investigation, it cites as supporting evidence several articles — including one by Yahoo! News — that used Steele and Fusion as sources.

    Mueller even kept alive one of the dossier’s most obscene accusations — that Moscow had “compromising tapes” of Trump with Russian hookers — by slipping into a footnote an October 2016 text Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received from a “Russian businessman,” who cryptically intimated, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.” Lawyers for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (who is actually a Georgian-American), are demanding a retraction of the footnote, arguing Mueller omitted the part of his text where he said he did not believe the rumor about the tapes, for which no evidence has ever surfaced.”

    https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/05/08/who_were_the_mueller_reports_hired_guns.html

    Colonel Haiku (eb0b95)

  74. The DOJ should bring a case of extortion or solicitation of a crime against Nadler and his pod. Word crimes!

    mg (8cbc69)

  75. Here’s hoping the NYT and the person who leaked Trump’s decades-old tax returns will be held accountable for their lawless actions.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  76. the real Medicare goes broke in 2026; Social Security not long after

    I can’t argue with you about Medicare’s current finances, except that it won’t be allowed to go broke, no matter what. Throwing more than 20% of eligible voters (and probably 40% of actual voters) under the bus is suicidal for a politician. It may change, and taxes may go up, but it will not fail.

    I suspect that “Medicare for All!” is a Democrat plan scheme to hide the rescue and diminish the benefits at the same time. The end result will be “Medicaid for All!”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  77. @ Dave: Karate practice! You have an excellent memory, sir.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  78. the real Medicare goes broke in 2026; Social Security not long after

    Just got through reading the 2018 Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees summary reports, and I come away thinking this really isn’t as bad as I thought. Both programs are doing better than last year, and MUCH better than some previous years. Disability Income applications are way down since 2010. OASDI still has a current year surplus.

    The changes that would be needed to kick the can down the foreseeable road (to the end of the century) look politically possible. Still. It gets worse the longer we wait. Another year delay for people under, say, 30 and another percent of tax, or increase in tax base would fix SS. Medicare would take proportionately more, and/or some program limits, or a new source of income, but it is not doomed no matter what.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  79. Of course, I have no faith in anyone fixing these programs any time soon, so when TSHTF the rescue will be painful to all.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  80. Beldar (#63) —

    It’s been said here that the $2T is Trump-accounting. Supposedly the feds match $1 for every $4 locals put up, and most of this money is already allocated under current law. It’s mostly repackaging with some more pork added.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  81. I take it that the House is not going to go for Inherent Contempt, where they jail the AG themselves? I had so looked forward to that drama.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  82. Well they are contemptible, only one party weaponized foreign sourced info, but that’s just silly.

    Narciso (992c3f)

  83. Most likely the follow up warrants were bogus, but really was does it matter if you have to go after the devil, like William roper said

    Narciso (992c3f)

  84. Beldar (fa637a) — 5/10/2019 @ 6:43 pm

    I guess that leaves only one question:

    Is it better to be a contemnor or a defalcator?

    :)

    Dave (1bb933)

  85. IG Horowitz has ‘concluded that the Final Three FISA Extensions were illegally obtained,’ diGenova says

    https://pjmedia.com/video/digenova-ig-horowitz-has-concluded-that-the-final-three-fisa-extensions-were-illegally-obtained/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  86. Any flooding near you, Beldar?

    DRJ (15874d)

  87. No floods near me at the moment, DRJ (#86), but thanks for thinking of me.

    @ Dave (#84): Any judge would tell you that defalcators still get fair trials in their courts every day, but the contemnors go immediately to a jail cell in cuffs. Mere defalcators are a dime a dozen.

    I also was reminded today of a moderately famous reference to contemnors (spelled with an “-er” at the end), purporting to quote a particularly stern and potent but just judge, that I’ll share with you:

    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
    “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
    Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on.”

    — Julia Ward Howe, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (1862), verse three.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  88. They don’t write like that, anymore. How any red-blooded American could hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic and remain a Confederate is beyond me.

    nk (dbc370)

  89. Yes, Barr is so terrible. Awful!

    Unlike his predecessor, who napped through his 2 years in office, and devoted his few waking hours to chasing pot farmers, he does not fold when confronted. He does not agree that the “honorable” thing to do is back away, surrender or fold.

    He does not scurry from confrontations based on the naive idea that it is the Better Way. he does not seem to believe that House Democrats (who oppose a wall, deficit cutting, the military, and would filet the First and 2d amendments if they could), honestly care about the laws or the Country.

    He does not default to the NIR (“Nice Ineffective Republican”) locked into “YIELD” mode, simply because opponents stridently insist that THEY are right and the AG must honorably yield, as opposed to holding his ground.

    Makes you pine for what might have been! The Most Qualified Person selecting the really good, “dedicated to the law AG” that she doubtless would have appointed. Maybe Holder! Maybe Schneiderman.

    if only the plebes had listened!

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (6b1442)

  90. “I don’t think today is actually about getting information… I don’t think it’s about getting the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t think last week’s hearing was actually about having staff question the attorney general. I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything. He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”

    Agree completely. The D’s KNOWN Barr cannot un-redact things related to on-going trials AND had made available to Nadler the unredacted copy that is 99% redaction free. So what is the problem? Will this change Mueller’s conclusions? No.

    And why isn’t Mueller testifying? And why is the Senate intelligence committee wasting everyone’s time duplicating what Mueller did? Its been 2 years, why are they STILL investigating? If I was Don Jr. I’d just assert the 5th and tell Burr to go fly a kite.

    And here’s a question for the Legal Beagles. Can Trump pardon someone found in contempt of Congress?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  91. BTW, did ANY Democrat Senator “reach across the aisle” to help the Republicans investigate Obama?
    Just askin’. It seems like “Bi-partisanship” only goes one way.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  92. Is it me or do a lot of top level federal law enforcement officials like maybe Barr, and for sure Comey, think their poop smells like lavender?

    steveg (e7a56b)

  93. It ain’t just at the federal level, but it certainly appears to be more visible there.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  94. 90. rcocean (1a839e) — 5/11/2019 @ 1:50 pm

    If I was Don Jr. I’d just assert the 5th and tell Burr to go fly a kite.

    He’s not planning to, because that would make him look guilty of something. They offered to give answers away from television cameras, but that seems to be a non-starter. He;s going t go the contempt route.

    And here’s a question for the Legal Beagles. Can Trump pardon someone found in contempt of Congress?

    I think he can, but it won’t get to that point. The full Senate won’t vote for contempt, and Barr can ignore it.

    Contempt s such a weak reed, that Congressional Committees avoid this and try to negotiate inforation – they only do it for the reoord.

    The latest about Mueller is that Trump says he will leave it up to Barr.

    Barr maybe can prevent Mueller but only until he leaves government service, and maybe even then he can stop him from disclosing grand jury testimony or classified material (Nadler can see the classified material, and Barr made sme concessions: Yes, he’ll let it be taken to Congress, and yes, more people can look at it, and yes, people who have seen it won’t be barred from discussing it with each other.)

    Meanwhile Giuliani called off his trip to Ukraine. He thinks it might even be a Democratc trap.

    In other developments, the New York Times reports Hunter Biden (and a stepson of John Kerry and athird partner) might have gitten some sweetheart contract from China, maybe even at the time he visited China with his father when his father was Vice President. The Chinese government began trying to buy influence with family members of important Democrats in 2009.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)


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